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Award-winning filmmaker Kenneth Lui‘s highly-anticipated crime comedy ARTISTS IN AGONY, will hit VOD platforms worldwide July 21 from Global Digital Releasing.

ARTISTS IN AGONY features recently discovered footage revealing how four famous hitmen died at the infamous Coda Teahouse Massacre. —Frosty (the new father), Lucien Mercy (the stay-at-home mom), Red Rick (the romantic), and his apprentice Lady Faith (the rising star).

Ex-CIA Agent Jonathan Sully guides us through the footage, suspecting they were killed by the renowned assassin artist known as Rockstar, considered the greatest hitman who ever lived.

Ensemble players include Melanee Nelson, Courtney Sara Bell, Paul Byrne, and Ken Breding.

Says writer-director Kenneth Lui, “I was cheering up a friend who was getting over a breakup and out of the blue he asked if I could create a project where he could, “Look cool shooting bad guys.” When I pictured my friend shooting bad guys, the shot was handheld like in a documentary. All of this reminded me how I always wanted to do a film where instead of a script, I’d give the actors goals and specific phrases for each scene and have them improvise with only myself knowing how the story ended. To do this would require very talented actors that were quick, funny, and could go with the flow--like a jazz session. They also had to trust me. Fortunately, I know actors that can do all that. As a test I asked them to let me shoot interviews where they discussed their approach to the craft of acting, but I edited it to appear like they were talking about the craft of being ASSASSINS.

The results were hilarious. The idea of regular people talking casually about killing like it was an art was fascinating. I asked them if they’d commit to finishing arcs in a project where they’d play hitmen. They foolishly agreed. The interviews proved to me that shooting this subject matter in a documentary/cinéma-vérité style would work great in a satire. I have always been a huge fan of THIS IS SPINAL TAP and how the producers were able to create the type of humor in the film shooting it documentary style. Being the cinematographer of a “documentary” would also let ME improvise the pseudo-realistic style--plus I’d get to play a hidden character as the point of view for the audience. It sounded like fun.

The result is our first feature film, ARTISTS IN AGONY: Hitmen at the Coda Teahouse, an absurdly violent mockumentary that follows 4 foolish hitmen to their deaths and the hijinks of how it happened. It’s a satirical crime exposé with its tongue firmly in its cheek.”

Lui works as a professional editor for social media and commercials and as a visual effects artist on major motion pictures for Marvel and DC such as Captain America: Civil War, Batman V Superman, and Guardians of the Galaxy.

ARTISTS IN AGONY available on digital July 21.


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