With a passion for cinema from the time he was just a child, Toronto’s Joseph Procopio knew being a filmmaker was his destiny. The more he experimented with making movies, the more his passion deepened. The art form of film is what he knows best, and as an in demand writer, filmmaker, and producer, he spends every day doing what he loves.
“I also enjoy the speed and business aspects of the film industry. The film process between conception, development, financing, production, post-production, and delivery has many intersecting businesses and skill sets that make the job challenging, ever-changing, and artistically rewarding,” said Procopio.
Throughout his revered career, Procopio has shown audiences time and time again just why he is such a force in the industry. His films Sundae, Memories, Onion Skin, Western Spaghetti, Drive, Tools of Refinement, and so many more have impressed both audiences and critics alike, with great success at many prominent international film festivals, including the Melbourne International Film Festival, one of the oldest film festivals in the world, The Chicago International Film Festival, the longest-running competitive film festival in North America, and the Oscar-qualifying Rhode Island International Film Festival.
The highlight of Procopio’s career, however, came in 2018 when he wrote, directed, and produced his feature eHero. The film stars Sean Astin, the famed actor known for his work in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Goonies, Rudy, and many more.
“Sean is such an excellent collaborator and to be able to direct him was an honor. I grew up watching his films and having the opportunity to discuss his past work and explore the character of Richard Brixton together was a life-changing and colossal turning point in my career,” said Procopio.
eHero is the story of an up-and-coming video gamer who faces his greatest challenge yet as he and his team must overcome a fiery gaming superstar, as well as their battling egos, to win the ultimate video game championship. Procopio has always been passionate about the competitive gaming scene, previously competing himself in various games, so he was inspired to write a story about a world that so many are a part of but so few films showcase.
“I genuinely believe that e-sport athletes deserve respect and a spotlight, which is why eHero showcases the gaming community as athletes. With the growing competitive gaming industry, esports is now worldwide and I was adamant that eHero’s characters challenged the stereotype that ‘all gamers are just people locked in their basements’, but are instead dedicated, hard-working athletes who deserve respect and acclaim” said Procopio.
Working on eHero was challenging and rewarding for Procopio. As writer, director, and producer, the large team he was surrounded by worked diligently to execute his vision, with him leading everyone along the way. His experience with the competitive gaming community and his keen attention to detail resulted in a film that honors its subject while being authentic and compelling.
“I enjoyed working on eHero the most because of the number of new industry professionals I collaborated with throughout the process, from script development, production, post-production, and release. It defined who I am as a filmmaker, and collaborating with others to strengthen the material was always thrilling and exciting,” Procopio described.
eHero made its premiere at the Worldfest Houston International Film Festival 2018, the third longest running and oldest independent film and video festival in the world, where Procopio won the award for Best First Feature. Procopio also took home Best Feature Film at the Director’s Cut International Film Festival 2018 and the Next Generation Award at the Rhode Island International Film Festival 2018, a qualifying event for the Canadian Screen Awards.
“I am genuinely thankful that audiences enjoyed the film. The success of the project is a shared victory for me and everyone involved, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to have been able to direct, write and produce eHero,” Procopio concluded.
If you haven’t had the chance to watch Procopio’s eHero, it is available to rent on AppleTV and to stream on the gaming platform Steam.
Photo of Joseph Procopio (left) and Sean Astin