Advisor, Lola Pictures

Chris Ramirez

Chris Ramirez grew up in Las Vegas, graduating from Bishop Gorman High School and attended the University of Nevada, Reno. After school, he started a valet service for Rat-Packer, Nicki Blair (Ocean’s Eleven) when the actor relocated his restaurant from the Sunset Strip to the Las Vegas (off) Strip location in the late 1990s. Beyond chauffeuring Evel Knievel home to his suite at the Maxim Hotel or watching over Mike Tyson’s fleet of luxury vehicles while he dined, Ramirez hustled accounts that expanded to Arizona and Southern California. Chris Ramirez also worked in the gaming industry, as a casino dealer during college and later as a consultant to California’s Native American tribes as transitioned to multi-million dollar properties.

These early career paths held several valuable lessons, but couldn’t keep Ramirez’ interest. Searching for a creative outlet, he wound up shooting a music video for a local band, and after months of learning some basic editing on the video, he enrolled in film school at UINLV and was soon hired as a production assistant on the feature Vegas Baby (Kal Penn, Jonathan Bennett). When the movie wrapped, Chris Ramirez lobbied the producer to stay on as his assistant and eventually became a creative executive at Insomnia Entertainment, which was backed by the owners a casino empire, as well as the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Working closely with agents, distributors and executives during this time Ramirez was able to make strong relationships and learn invaluable machinations in the business.

On the producer’s third movie Chris Ramirez stepped into the role of Location Manager, an important move to gaining his “physical” production background. Ramirez utilized his knowledge of the city to continue working on projects shooting in Las Vegas such as MTV’s “VMAs”, Disney’s Race to Witch Mountain, The Hangover and Steven Soderbergh’s The Girlfriend Experience, along with multiple commercial shoots for worldwide agencies and brands.

Ramirez worked as Production Supervisor on the independent films About Sunny which which was primarily shot in Downtown Las Vegas and premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, then on The Motel Life, starring Dakota Fanning and Kris Kristofferson, which took place in Northern Nevada. Ramirez was responsible for assembling local crew, resources and locations for both of these jobs, being pivotal in Ramirez’ push to make his home state a legitimate production hub and lead to his effort to lobby for Nevada’s motion picture tax credit. Ramirez then served as Unit Production Manager on Focus Features’ critically acclaimed film, The Mustang, by Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre and starring Bruce Dern and Matthias Schoenarts. Production took place in Nevada’s oldest prison in Carson City where Ramirez brought almost the entire crew from Las Vegas, filling out with local crew from Reno to take advantage of the state’s tax incentive. Ramirez was re-hired by his bosses at Warner Brothers from the first installment to manage a crew of over one-hundred on The Hangover III when they returned to Las Vegas.

In an effort to develop and produce his own material, Ramirez’ launched Lola Pictures earlier in his career with few unscripted pilots during the reality TV boom, but it wasn’t until meeting the founders of Zappos near his small Fremont Street office in downtown Las Vegas that helped him build on the work he’d been doing for the local film industry, city and state. They agreed to invest and Ramirez decided to double down on the steady production work coming in to the local market by launching Silver State Production Services. This company became the go-to source in Nevada for rentals, transportation, crew and support for projects including music videos for Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj and movies with Nicolas Cage (The Trust) and Jason Statham (Wild Card).

Ramirez’ partners continued to invest into the Downtown area where he and his company played a big part in launching the Life is Beautiful Festival. Ramirez directed the inaugural line-up video that started it all and his crew covered the first year at the festival before returning his focus to Lola Pictures. Ramirez and his development executive (now producing partner) Charles Cantrell, worked with the top talent agencies to source material that would establish the Lola Pictures as a legitimate boutique production company. This effort led to Ramirez putting two films into production for Lola Pictures, the first being Frank & Lola, by Matthew Ross (“Wu-Tang: An American Saga”), starring Michael Shannon and Imogen Poots which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival where Universal Pictures acquired worldwide rights and the film had a limited theatrical release the same year.
The second feature, Viena & the Fantomes, attracted an exciting cast that includes Dakota Fanning (Man on Fire), Jeremy Allen White (“The Bear”), Evan Rachel Wood (“Westworld”), Zoe Kravitz (The Batman) and Jon Bernthal (“The Punisher”), distributed by Universal Pictures. Ramirez produced both films with his company, Silver State, providing services and fully taking advantage of the tax credits.

Ramirez “detoured” a bit creating “The Las Vegas Movie Tour”, an immersive tour through Las Vegas’ cinematic history and selling the produced concept to a local operator. All of these endeavors have demonstrated Chris Ramirez’ passion for telling stories about his hometown, many currently in development with top talent and partners in the entertainment industry.

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