Canzo Empyrean (partially found underground film; 2007)
Canzo Empyrean is a 2007 film from underground filmmaker Justin Fornal, who's more well known for his works as his alter ego, Baron Ambrosia. It was allegedly shot over a decade.
The film, which borrows characters from the G.I. Joe universe, is set in a futuristic dystopia, where AIDS runs rampant and, as a result, sex has been outlawed. With a runtime of 2 hours and 20 minutes, the film is particularly notorious for it's concluding scene, in which a choreographed fight was shot illegally atop the Brooklyn Bridge's Manhattan tower, which put Fornal in jail on top of being issued a $160 fine.
Premiere and Reception
Canzo Empyrean premiered in June of 2007 in Monrovia, Liberia to mass praise, allegedly even going as far as inspiring a "Canzo" street gang, and was screened in the US for the time time the following year, in a once-abandoned underground ballroom/cinema that was previously restored by Fornal and subsequently dubbed the "Mastabah to Megiddo". Getting there required roughly 40 minutes of traveling through underground passageways, some of which were filled with waist-deep water.
At least one person has claimed to have contacted Fornal to try and secure a copy of the film. Upon making the request, they were informed that if they were to complete a series of tasks (namely involving spray-painting the Canzo Empyrean logo onto a total of 20 items in their city, including a police car), they would be provided with a uniquely watermarked copy of the film. However, they were also given a stern warning that there would be "serious consequences" were their copy to ever find it's way online. Despite this, copies have allegedly been up for sale via private online collectors' groups, fetching upwards of $500, though this has never actually been proven to be true and is, at this point, merely a rumor.
Despite this, a total of roughly 45 minutes of footage has found its way online via both the film's bizarre official website (which is now defunct, though still accessible via The Wayback Machine) and Fornal's Baron Ambrosia YouTube channel. The remaining 95 minutes have yet to be released.
- Archive of the official Canzo Empyrean website, via The Wayback Machine; 11 Sep 2011. Last retrieved 09 Mar '15.
- An anonymous invitation to the film's 2008 US premiere; 03 Jun 2008. Last retrieved 05 Mar '15.
- Sony Vegas article on Justin Fornal. Last retrieved 05 Mar '15.
- Blog post from Matt (of BIGGER SPLASHES at Blogger) outlining his unfulfilled effort to obtain a copy of Canzo Empyrean; 10 Jun 2011. Last retrieved 09 Mar '15.