Coalition Films

based in Hoboken, New Jersey, USA.



How to win friends: smuggle $300k of uncut cocaine into your snooty prep school. Based on the wild story of a teen drug trafficker who rocked headlines in 1984, this true crime caper stars Thomas Mann (ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL) as Toby, a blue-collar scholarship student at an elite boarding school who finds an in with the cool crowd by supplying them with cocaine. But things spiral out of control when Toby goes from small-time dealer to international drug trafficker, culminating in a trip to Colombia and a daring deal with a cartel. Capturing the music, style, and burgeoning “greed is good” ethos of the 1980s, THE PREPPIE CONNECTION is a stranger than fiction look at the price of popularity.





Director's Statement: JOSEPH CASTELO

The actual events of the 1984 Connecticut cocaine scandal unfolded during my first year of prep school. It was a story that was either whispered as a cautionary tale by professors, or told with ballsy bravado by upperclassmen.  As an adult, the more I learned about the story, the more intrigued I became: a Northeastern boarding school in the 80s, the fashion, the music, the adventure, and, at its center, a working class Odysseus determined to brave the cartels of Colombia in order to fit in with the children of the elite class. I knew there was something about this story that I wanted to bring to the screen. THE PREPPIE CONNECTION transported me back to my time in boarding school and I rediscovered a luxurious palette of the 80s that I wanted to explore further. The early eighties were the dawn of the age of hyper-materialism. Wall Street was just beginning to discover the idea of perpetual debt and credit, and the children of these aristocratic families knew that it was all up for grabs. Anyone could dream of having it all and actually attain it, and coke was the rocket fuel of the collective psyche. What compelled me on a personal and emotional level, and made me want to explore Toby's character is that he, like me, struggled to fit in to his old money environs. And while I worked my way through the more conventional phases of teenage isolation and inclusion, Toby studied his circumstances and decided to take a massive shortcut. Always three steps ahead, he used Adam Smith's rules to figure out what these children of privilege really wanted, and then he gave it to them. And though he profited financially, his true motivation was more romantic than that. He risked his life and reputation to win the heart of a girl - "the girl" on "Sage Hall's" campus. And he lived out his fantasies, if only for a brief moment in time. THE PREPPIE CONNECTION is a smoldering eighties fairy tale about the unique experience of rising up in America, finding your place, coming of age, and the turmoil caused by the search for personal power and identity. 

Sam Bisbee

THE Composer's Insight: SAM BISBEE

When Joe Castelo gave me the opportunity to score THE PREPPIE CONNECTION, I jumped at the chance because the world and universe of the film is the same universe i grew up in, at almost the same time as the film's setting. In the mid 1980's i was a boarding student at a New England prep school, and this was the time when I fell in love with music (I also clearly remember when the real life scandal happened at CHOATE). I began experimenting with score ideas while Joe was still shooting the film, and gradually built out what would become the sonic palette. It was very important to us that the music feel authentic to the time, so I patiently waited on EBAY until a JUNO-60 synthesizer became available, and also researched and purchased a Prophet 12, as well as bringing my unused MOOG out of retirement. In addition, I asked my friend, composer Nathan Larson, for his best ambient guitar pedal suggestions and he introduced me to the Mr. Black ETERNA pedal which became the shimmer and melody of much of the film. My inspiration came from the score for RISKY BUSINESS by TANGERINE DREAM and GIORGIO MORODER's scores for MIDNIGHT EXPRESS and SCARFACE as well as the synth pop of the 80’s (new order, depeche mode, early OMD). I wanted to capture what i remembered from my own experience of the time and then connect it directly to Toby, Alex, Ellis and the world of the film. When it was time to write a couple of songs for the movie, they came quickly, lyrically digging into what I felt watching Toby and Alex on the screen. Joe was excellent to work with, he knew exactly what he wanted and in the moments when he came to the studio to work, always found ways to very quickly push me to refine, simplify and strengthen my ideas.


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