Rose Colored Shades

Directed by Randy Sparks, “Rose Colored Shades” combines elements of gritty film noire and dark comedy to tell the story of a self-destructive hit man who must choose between love and the lure of a mysterious stranger who would add to his body count. “Shades” is a hard-boiled tale of murder, mayhem and the merits of prescription eyeglasses, shot on location in Seattle and Tacoma in Washington’s scenic Puget Sound region.

Lucky Joe Ware (newcomer Rod Long) is on a downward spiral fueled by booze and a stubborn penchant for betting on his hometown Seattle Mariners. Bookie Gabriel Samuelson (Don MacEllis) is already fuming at the debt Joe has run up when the nearsighted assassin botches a job, shooting the wrong target and drawing unwanted attention to his criminal enterprise. With Gabriel’s goons coming to collect, Joe turns to Michael (Doug Mackey) a cryptic figure who offers to pay what he owes. Joe takes the money despite being suspicious of his new benefactor’s motives and his spooky awareness of his situation. He suspects he’ll have to work for this odd stranger, but little does he realize his upcoming jobs will jeopardize his one shot at redemption.

Joe’s on-again-off-again girlfriend is Lydia Anderson (Eleanor Ross) a local TV news reporter who is strongly guided by her faith. Lydia is oblivious to how Joe pays the bills, even as she reports from the bloody crime scenes he leaves behind. She loves him despite his drinking and tendency to show up when he needs to borrow money. She gives him an ultimatum: get his act together or lose her forever. A war between the unhinged Gabriel and the creepy Michael escalates, revealing there is more to them than meets the eye; and Joe finds himself having to choose between saving his soul and following the murderous path he’s been on to its dismal end.

Randy Sparks presents “Rose Colored Shades,” co-written with Rod Long; starring Rod Long, Doug Mackey, Don MacEllis, Eleanor Ross, Lindsey Hintz, Jason McKibbin, William Kane, Bob Bohan, Dave Graham, Nabil Debamna, Crystal Canales, Darry Small, Kris “Sonics Guy” Brannon, Jeremy Leveque, Joe Rosati, Melanie Raebyne, Bryan O’Neil, Brienne Decker, Johanna Gardner, Tonya M. Yorke and Ernest Harden Jr. “Shades” also features a cameo by Northwest garage-rock pioneer Buck Ormsby - of Fabulous Wailers and Etiquette Records fame - one of four of Sparks’s friends that did not live to see the film completed.

  • Randy Sparks
    Tacoma Chalk Off; A Glitch in the System; Tacoma's Rock-n-Roll Legends
  • Rod Long
    Spooks; Belly Laughs
  • Randy Sparks
    Tacoma Chalk Off; It Don't Rain on Sunny Days; A Glitch in the System; Tacoma's Rock-n-Roll Legends
  • Randy Sparks
    Tacoma Chalk Off; It Don't Rain on Sunny Days; A Glitch in the System; Tacoma's Rock-n-Roll Legends
  • Rod Long
    Key Cast
    ""Lucky" Joe Ware"
    It Don't Rain on Sunny Days
  • Don MacEllis
    Key Cast
    "Gabriel Sammuelson"
    Grimm (TV series)
  • Doug Mackey
    Key Cast
    "The Stranger / Michael "
    A Glitch in the System
  • Eleanor Ross
    Key Cast
    "Lydia Anderson"
  • Lindsey Hintz
    Key Cast
    "Darlene Best "
    It Don't Rain on Sunny Days; A Glitch in the System
  • Dawn Sparks
    Executive Producer
  • Tom Wolf
    Assistant Producer
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 27 minutes 48 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    March 31, 2018
  • Production Budget:
    25,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • 2018 Port Orchard Film Festival
    Port Orchard, WA
    United States
    Pacific Northwest Premier
    Winner: Honorable Mention Narrative Feature
  • 2018 WorldFest-Houston
    Houston, TX
    United States
    World Premier
    Winner: Gold REMI Director's First Feature
  • 2019 Festival Angaelica
    Duluth, MN
    United States
    Catalyst Content: Independent Series
    Winner: Best Narrative Feature
  • 2021 Ink & Cinema - The Crime List
    Los Angeles, CA
    United States
    June 15, 2021
    Winner: The Crime List film competition
Director Biography - Randy Sparks

Randy Sparks holds two college degrees: B.S. in Business and a MBA from City University of Seattle. Currently he resides in Tacoma, WA. His art background began at an early age.

In 1968, at 10 he loved filming homemade movies, which he wrote, produced, directed and starred in. His proudest film of the time "The House of Blood" a 10 min super 8 flick.

In 1971, he concentrated on writing plays, songs, poems and art. Years later his college Art Professor told him that he would do well in making a career in Art. He said Randy drew like Michelangelo.

In 1975, Randy began four years of study in live theater involving plays, operas and variety shows. He would work closely with the companies' producers and directors particularly in areas involving lights and sound, acting, and set construction.

From 1979-1996 he was busy going to college, raising two children and performing live music. It wasn't till 1997 that he got involved with digital photography and video. He spent the next 2 years as an assistant photographer for the Seattle Seahawks, working with team photographer Corky Truin and a year with comedian/fine art photographer Rod Long.

In 2003, he begin filming promotional videos, music videos and concert videos. In 2007, he moved his energy towards creating his own pictures as a producer, director and co-writer. Film successes include: Tacoma Chalk Off; It Don't Rain on Sunny Days; A Glitch In the System; Tacoma's Rock-n-Roll Legends (84K views on Facebook) and his current film Rose Colored Shades.

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Director Statement

Production Notes: “Rose Colored Shades” is the debut, feature-length film by Tacoma, Wash.-based filmmaker Randy Sparks. It stars Rod Long as Lucky Joe Ware, a down-on-his luck hit man who must choose between being tempted by a diabolical stranger and the love of a good woman and his ultimate salvation. Here is a breakdown of some of the work and drama that went on behind the scenes.

Near-death experience: It’s not hyperbole when Sparks suggests the film was nearly the end of him. “Shades” took more than seven years to complete as he fought through a wide range of obstacles, not the least of which was a stroke he suffered a few months into production. Soon after, the 60-year-old director was also diagnosed with bladder cancer. “It just means a lot to me to get these things done,” Sparks says. “After having the stroke I’m thinking, ‘How much time do I have left?’ I want to get as much done as I can. I have some great ideas.”

Long-distance relationship: Sparks wrote the film’s script with Long, a Seattle-based standup comedian who was thousands of miles away, performing on Caribbean cruise ships, during much of the process. “He would write a couple of pages and then send them to me by email,” Sparks recalls. “I would make changes, adjustments, and send ‘em back. Then we’d talk whenever he had phone reception.” The duo was able to complete the 94-page script in just three months, despite those inconvenient circumstances.

Slick look on a tight budget. Sparks was able to complete “Rose Colored Shades” for less than $25,000 despite its million-dollar appearance. It was shot in more than 60 locations located around Washington’s scenic Puget Sound region.

Personal Note From Randy Sparks: Four cast and crew members: John Markert, Dave Graham, Buck Ormsby and Teddy Haggarty passed away before the completion of Rose Colored Shades. Just recently Kris Brannon and Edward Shoemaker passed away. My thoughts and prayers go out to them and this film is dedicated in loving memory to them. I dearly miss them, they were close friends.