In the heart of Deep Ellum, a historic district pulsating with life, "Tonic" unfolds as a cinematic masterpiece.  Tonic is an homage to the cinema of the late 70s and early '80s drawing inspiration from John Cassavetes's The Killing of a Chinese Bookie and Martin Scorsece's Afterhours.  This indie gem, filmed during 15 sultry summer nights in 2022, has achieved a flawless 100% critics' score on Rotten Tomatoes. But the magic of "Tonic" goes far beyond its score.

A Dynamic Filmmaking Trio
"Tonic" marks the fourth collaboration in just three years for the dynamic duo of writer/director Derek Presley and producing partner Jason Starne. Their synergy crackles on screen, continually pushing boundaries and reshaping the indie film landscape. Joining forces with them was Lola Lott, co-founder of the post-production powerhouse charlieuniformtango. Together, they've woven cinematic alchemy.

Filmed in Deep Ellum, an area just outside of downtown Dallas, TX renowned for its bars, clubs, tattoo parlors, and thriving nightlife, becomes a character in its own right within "Tonic." Its gritty allure and vibrant energy set the stage for a stellar, seasoned ensemble cast led by Billy Blair (Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For, Alita: Battle Angel), Jason Coviello (Yellowstone, Stranger Things Season Four), Ammie Masterson (Better Call Saul, Thunder Road), Vernon Davis (NFL Superbowl Champion, Dancing with the Stars), Richard Riehle (Casino, Office Space), Lori Petty (Tank Girl, Point Break), and Ed Westwick (Gossip Girl, Children of Men).

"Tonic" follows the journey of Sebastian Poe, a down-and-out piano player trapped in a cycle of performing in seedy jazz clubs and dive bars. His life takes a dangerous turn when he finds himself in debt to the corrupt detective Terry, who demands an $8,000 payment. Unable to pay, Sebastian is thrust into a nightmarish predicament when Terry gives him an unthinkable task—commit murder by sunrise.

Over the course of one fateful night, Sebastian's path spirals into the dark, labyrinthine streets of Deep Ellum. Along the way, he encounters a cast of enigmatic characters, all while grappling with his conscience and his unwavering desire to simply play the piano.

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