EXCLUSIVE: Bandito Brothers co-founder Scott Waugh has teamed with vet studio executive Simon Swart and L.A-based real estate developer Brad Pilz to launch Rock Pile Studios. The venture, in which Bandito Brothers will be involved, will develop, produce and distribute inspirational and aspirational family-friendly films. The partners have found a compelling first project. I Believe In Love will chronicle the struggles of Amy Purdy, who nearly died after catching Neisseria meningitis at age 19. Though she lost both legs, Purdy became a world class snowboarder, a 2014 Paralympic medalist, and a fan favorite contestant on Dancing With The Stars, where she finished as runner-up last year.
The Rock Pile partners feel there is an appetite for inspiring family fare. Waugh, the former stuntman who with his Bandito Brothers partners has made such films as Act Of Valor and Need For Speed (both of which he directed), feels that Purdy’s story is an ideal first project to establish Rock Pile’s mandate.
“Amy’s story is an inspirational, coming-of-age tale that celebrates the remarkable strength of the human spirit,” Waugh said. “I Believe In Love is the ideal debut project for us.” Said Swart, who championed Fox’s entry into the faith business and as longtime exec veep of Fox Home Entertainment oversaw the release of Alvin And The Chipmunks, Ice Age, Star Wars and Avatar: “We know from experience and marketplace performance that there is an incredible demand for this genre of film that delivers authentic, quality entertainment that demonstrates the power of believing in dreams and daring to dream big. There is nothing like a true story to really connect with audiences in a profound way. We’re confident this film will do exactly that.”
Within 24 hours of the first symptoms of Neisseria meningitis, Purdy was given a mere 2% chance of surviving. The illness ravaged her system and claimed her kidneys, spleen, part of her hearing and both of her legs. Her love of snowboarding fueled her recovery, and despite two prosthetic legs, she became a world class snowboarder and eventually a 2014 Paralympic Medalist before wowing audiences when paired with dance partner Derek Hough. Purdy is an executive producer on the film.