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"Alita: Battle Angel" (2019) - Issue #68 / Working w/Producer David Valdes

Updated: Nov 10, 2020

*PLUS EXCLUSIVE STORY - Working w/Producer; David Valdes ("Alita: Battle Angel", "The Green Mile", "Unforgiven", "The Book of Eli")

“Alita: Battle Angel“ (2019)

Director: Robert Rodriguez

Writer: Yukito Kishiro (graphic novel "Gunnm"), James Cameron (screenplay), Laeta Kalogridis (screenplay)

Starring: Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, Keean Johnson, Ed Skrein, Jackie Earle Haley, Eiza González

Rated: PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for some language

Runtime: 2h 2min

Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Country: USA | Japan | Canada

Language: English | Spanish

A deactivated cyborg's revived, but can't remember anything of her past and goes on a quest to find out who she is.

You might like this if you like: "Gunnm" / "Battle Angel Alita" manga by Yukito Kishiro, Robert Rodriguez, James Cameron, Anime, Manga, Action Movies, Science Fiction, Female Action Films, Steampunk, Robots, A.I., Cyborgs, Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, Keean Johnson, Ed Skrein, Jackie Earle Haley, Eiza González

Rosa Salazar in "Alita: Battle Angel" (2019)



When I first heard about “Alita: Battle Angel” (2019), I had just finished production on a film with writer/director Ryan A. Nichols called “Loved Ones” (soon to be released hopefully). So around late 2016 my father, Theodore Gall, who’s a sculptor, had been commissioned by a new client of his to make a sculpture for him because he had seen some of his work in a gallery and wanted his own. My dad mentioned to me that he was coming by the studio to visit and that I should meet him because he was also a film producer so we might get along. His name was David Valdes and he wanted my dad to make him sculpture paying homage to his multiple Oscar winning produced film; “Unforgiven” (1992).

Wax design by Theodore Gall for David Valdes' "Unforgiven" (1992) Sculpture

I brought my good friend, Ryan A. Nichols, over to my dad’s studio to meet David Valdes and his lady, Linda. My dad’s sculpture was going to be a part of his new series that featured a technology new to his work; a miniature screen inside the sculpture that plays a video whenever you open it. In this case; David wanted a short video that would essentially sum up “Unforgiven” (1992) in just a couple minutes in length. After the sculpture was finished, Ryan A. Nichols cut a terrific trailer-like video which ended up inside the piece.

Finished Bronze Piece by Theodore Gall for David Valdes' "Unforgiven" (1992) Sculpture

Finished Bronze Piece (opens to reveal screen inside) by Theodore Gall for David Valdes' "Unforgiven" (1992) Sculpture

Here is the final video you can checkout here that Ryan A. Nichols cut for my dad/sculptor, Theodore Gall & producer David Valdes:

But while we were at my dad’s studio with David Valdes and his wife, Ryan and I couldn’t help but talk movies for a bit. He was excited to get to tell old stories about “Unforgiven” (1992), one he mentioned was about how difficult it was to power the western town set which they built from scratch, dealing with rain, mud and all these behind the scene trials.

David Valdes (left photo), David Valdes left & Ray Liotta right (right photo) on the set of "Turbulence" (1997)

He went on to tell us about an upcoming film of his that was based on a Japanese manga that was going to be co-produced by him and James Cameron with Robert Rodriguez directing. Literally sounded like a dream project to me. Ryan pointed out to him how much I loved anime/manga but I had actually never heard of “Battle Angel Alita”, which was the manga's name. David looked overjoyed. He also mentioned how busy James Cameron was on the new 'Avatar' films at the time. Keep in mind this was late 2016. He told us about some of the new technology they were using and that some of it was being used for “Alita: Battle Angel” (2019). David is now currently producing James Cameron’s 'Avatar' sequel.

"Battle Angel Alita" aka "Gunnm" Volume 1 by Yukito Kishiro

We were stoked and after that we got to tell him about our film “Loved Ones” which we had just finished production on and had a teaser Ryan A. Nichols cut, which David was kind enough to let us send to him for notes. After that, Ryan went off to cut the “Unforgiven” (1992) video for David Valdes’ sculpture.

Here is the official teaser for an upcoming film called “Loved Ones” that I produced/executive produced with writer/director/editor Ryan A. Nichols. Starring Brit Landa, Ruben Guevara, Christopher Mychael Watson and Malcolm Matthews. Cinematography by Simon Balderas. We've already won some awards at festivals, but are still looking for distribution platform in hopes to bring the film to audiences soon:

Here are some of the very kind words and advice that David Valdes (producer of “Green Mile”, “Unforgiven”, “In the Line of Fire”, pending title “Avatar 2” and of course “Alita: Battle Angel”) gave to Ryan and I in response to sending him the teaser for “Loved Ones”:

Hi Sam:

Sorry for the tardy response; here are my thoughts.

First and foremost – congratulations!  The film looks VERY professional and the production values are nothing short of GREAT.  I especially like the cinematography.  VERY, VERY NICE!

Let me just preface my other thoughts by quoting Oscar winner and one of the most talented screenwriters in the business, Bill Goldman, when he said (either at the Oscars during his acceptance speech or in his book) – “Nobody knows nothing” in the movie business.  Mega-budget “tent-pole” movies can fail and inexpensive, long-shot indies can win Oscars and box office awards.  It’s a wonderful collision of story, character, direction, acting and timeliness to a universal consciousness that creates a “wanna-see” movie.  It’s a complete mystery that keeps us filmmakers addicted to playing the game because when we get it right, it’s the best high in the world.

So I suggest that you and your partner rely on your own instincts, your own internal compasses when it comes to YOUR film.  Everybody else’s comments can be evaluated and appreciated BUT if it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.  And, as with everything – practice, practice, practice!  The more you do it, the better your films will be.

Also, see what others are doing.  Not just in North America but abroad.  In Europe, Asia, South America, etc.  Just because Americans have enjoyed a “lock” on the film industry for ages, doesn’t mean this trend will continue.  There are incredibly exciting filmmakers coming from everywhere these days that are telling stories in new and innovative ways.

Good luck on the journey!

Best wishes always,


- David Valdes

Not giving out the full conversation, but David went on to be very helpful to Ryan and I’s film/trailer.

We invited him to a private premiere for friends and family in October of 2018 but sadly he couldn’t make it. Once again he had some very kind words but he was working on “Alita: Battle Angel” (2019) at the time and couldn’t make it:

Congratulations Sam!

Unfortunately, I’m buried on a new project and will NOT be able to attend.  As we start principal performance capture next Monday, my calendar is full until next summer.

Wishing you all the best for a great screening on the 20th!

Best always,


- David Valdes

A week after “Alita: Battle Angel” premiered on Feb 14, 2019, I sent him an email congratulating him on the film.

Hi David,