|Posted by Sirena West on November 1, 2013 at 2:30 AM|
A Producer is Born
David Winters likes to remind everyone he knows, includingthis webmistress , that he is typical Ram (Zodiac wise) which means he is notonly full of flair, originality, and courage but is also a great leader. And it possibly these traits along with histenaciousness that allows him to leave his comfort zone and embrace new challenges,resulting in him having credits and rewards in so many categories within theentertainment industry, including that as movie producer and distributor.
There is no doubt that David would have eventually become afilm producer, but the stimulus came during his stint as director of thephenomenal cult hit, Thrashin’, wherehe experienced being over-ruled in casting and other creative decisions. Gravely disappointed Winters made theprofessional decision to control all aspects of future projects and in 1986 hecreated his own production and distribution company with David A. Prior and PeterYuval, named Action International Pictures (AIP). As president, he had to wear a business hatas well as a creative hat and the company focused on producing low budgetactions films and video distribution for many international films, which provedto be quite lucrative.
On average, AIP was responsible for 10-15 films a yearmainly for video market and controlled their own distribution. According to the Internet Movie Database, AIPproduced 17 films and distributed 41 films and videotapes between 1988 and1994, and were involved in a total of 46 films in this period. Fifteen of thesefilms were written and directed by Prior. Winters directed three of the films,including Space Mutiny (which he alsowrote under pseudonym Maria Dante) and produced 28 of them. Yuval wrote,directed, and produced two of the AIP films including Dead End City and Fireheadand directed two more.
Like many low-budget film productions, AIP's original filmsused many of the same cast and crew in many of the films, including DavidPrior's brother Ted as an actor and writer; the apparently versatile WilliamZipp as actor, writer, director, producer, and stunt man; and an occasionalwell-known actor like Cameron Mitchell (featured in Space Mutiny and threeother AIP ventures). Popular Television show, Mystery Science Theater 3000 webdocumenter, would ultimately joke that one AIP film, Space Mutiny was "infested" with "the Mitchellfamily" referring to Cameron's two children also appearing in that film.
Another favorite was actor James Ryan the acrobatic sinewy and lean martial arts hero in Rage to Kill and Codename Vengeance. Ryanturned up again, playing against type, as fan favorite disabled villainMacPhearson in cult classic, SpaceMutiny.
AIP movies not onlybrought David cult status but a few awards to add to his collection aswell. Night Trap, starring Lesley-Ann Down, won the first prize “Gold Award” at the Houston WorldFest International Film Festival in 1993. Good Cop Bad Cop (also knownas Raw Justice), starring
Pamela Anderson, David Keith,and Stacy Keach, won the Bronze award at The Charleston Film Festival in 1994
In 1992 Winters bought out partnersand re-branded AIP as West Side Studios, although Prior would continueto direct. Branching out from justaction flicks, David tried his hand in comedy and in 2002, Welcome 2 Ibiza won the Bangkok Film Festival Audience Award.
In 1999 Winters and his British business partnerPatrick Meehan took their Equator Films public, in 2004 that company purchasedHandMade Films. His current Americanproduction entity is known as Alpha Beta Films International.