Joey Medina | Filmmaker Interview

An Interview With Joey Medina:
A Profound Storyteller


Hello Joey! Welcome! Could you tell us a bit about yourself? Give us a brief introduction!

Joey Medina born and raised in The Bronx, New York was distain to become a Writer, Producer & Director. In third grade his School Principle placed Joey in a creative writing class after reading Joey’s version of “Goldie Locks and the Three Bears” with an urban theme.
Then in fifth grade, after watching a three-minute super 8 film made by a teacher and his class, Joey got the urge to make his own film.
And in seventh grade, Joey purchased a super 8 film camera, projector and screen from his woodshop teacher for $50.00. All the equipment was stamped “Property of the Board of Education.”
After buying the stolen film equipment, Joey casted family members and directed his first film, a remake of “King Kong.” Joey bought a gorilla mask and rubber ape hands and borrowed his mother’s fake fur coat to complete the costume. He used miniature soldiers and army vehicles including his sister’s dollhouse to build the set in his basement. With everything in place Joey completed his 3 minute version of “King Kong.”

After graduating High School…

Joey enrolled into the Center for Media Arts in New York City to study Television Production. There he used his creativity while learning the skills he would later use.
In 2003, Joey was hired to be a segment producer for “Extreme Gong,” which aired on the Game Show Network.
In 2004, Joey Medina, wrote, produced and directed his first feature film on 16mm, called El Matador for $15,000. The film went on to win three awards at the “Los Angeles Chicano Film Festival,” including “Best Film,” Best Director” and “Best Actor.” The film was then picked up and distributed by Maverick Entertainment.
In 2005 Joey wrote, produced, directed and hosted Si TV’s first scripted television show, “Circumsized Cinema,” Executive produced by award-winning film producer, Moctesuma Esparza (“Selena”). The show re-edited campy Mexican movies into 30-minute “mini-movies” with totally new, scripted English audio tracks for a hilarious and utterly original half-hour television show. In addition, Joey was one of the hosts and producers of “Loco Comedy Jam,” a stand-up comedy show featuring some of the best Latino comedians in the country on Mun2 Television.

Then…

In 2006 Joey created and produced and hosted, “Latin Palooza,” a comedy special shot live in front of 1,300 people. The DVD was picked up and distributed by Image Entertainment.
Since then Joey has produced and directed five music videos for pop , rap and rock artists.
In 2009, Joey produced and directed another comedy special titled, “Cholo Comedy Slam,” this time adding a musical acts along with stand-up comedians. The event was shot in Los Angeles in front of 2000 people and was picked up and distributed by Latin Fusion Entertainment.
Joey also wrote, produced and directed his first short horror film, MISSING. As a professional comedian most of his filmmaking projects were comedies, so he wanted to produce a horror film that was as dark and disturbing as possible. He set out to make a film that would be hard to watch for the viewer. He wanted the viewer to experience what the victims in the film were going through.

Having almost zero budget, he built many props himself and designed many of the makeup effects as well. Joey spent about six weeks preparing for the shoot, including writing and casting. The shoot itself took three days with a partial crew for only half the time.
The film went on to win Best Director and Best screenplay in the 2015 International Horror Realm Film Festival and the Award of Excellence in the 2015 Ricon International Film Festival in Puerto Rico along with an Award of Merit in the 2015 Indie Fest Film Awards.
Joey Medina also wrote, produce, directed, edited as well as stared in his own single camera style sitcom called “Man of a Funny Age.”
Most recently Joey just wrote, produced and directed a powerful short film called, “The Lesson.’ Jon Kelly from “Access Hollywood” calls the film “Stone Cold Powerful.”
Joey is currently a content producer on a syndicated game show called, “Funny You Should Ask.” He continues to expand his knowledge and passion for filmmaking and production.

Where are you currently located?

Los Angeles

What is a quote that summarizes everything you’re about as a filmmaker?

Filmmaking is a battle field.

What inspired you to start creating films?

I watched a super 8 silent film my 5th grade teacher made and all I could think about was I wanted to do that too.

Who most inspires/influences your style and specific execution currently and why?

Hard to answer because I get inspired by different filmmakers for different reasons.

What is your favorite film of all time?

Rocky

As a creator, what do you find to be the thing that most drives you to succeed? We like to use this portion for others to learn from you!

Creating a story and images that make individuals “feel” something is what drives me.

What is your overall dream in life?

To be happy. And win an Oscar

The Film Fest Network Team also had the pleasure of reviewing your wonderful short film: Beautiful Violence

What is your role in the film?

Writer, Producer, Director

What is the film’s genre?

Drama

What is the film’s logline?

Life isn’t always Black & White

What inspired the way that you went about executing this project?

Covid. I had to scrap a larger project because of quarantine, and decided to produce a project with only two characters and one location.

What was the most difficult part in the process of creating this film? How did you overcome it?

Auditioning during quarantine was difficult and finding the right location.

What was the most fun part of this entire production?

Watching how uncomfortable the white actors were using the “N” word.

What is the single greatest lesson you learned along the creation of this particular project?

Lighting two different actors with opposite complexions in the same scene

Is there anything else you would like us to know? Or any final thoughts / things you’d like to share with our readers?

I’m a professional comedian and former professional boxer

Thank you so much for being a part of The Film Festival Network Community, Joey! We can’t wait to see what you do next.


Keep up with Joey Medina and all his incredible work to come!



Beautiful Violence - Short Film Review

Beautiful Violence – By Joey MedinaShort Film Review

Beautiful Violence is a character-based emotional rollercoaster in the best ways imaginable.

Joey Medina takes the audience for a heartfelt, tragic, and at times hilarious journey between two characters in a very peculiar predicament. The film starts off in one way, and ends up going to a completely unexpected and ironically beautiful place.

The opening of the short follows our lead character, played by Bill Dawes, on some sort of desperate, panicked pursuit. It eventually leads us with him, into a dark alleyway at nighttime, where the man starts throwing racist slurs at an unknown man hanging out in this alleyway. 

This startling, strange interaction leads to violence, as Bill Dawes character continues throwing the ruthless words at this man. Eric Blake portrays the man in the alleyway, and in time, we as the audience get the pleasure of seeing both these men showcasing their immense skill.

After beating Bill’s character to a pulp, the two men sit next to each other in exhaustion and begin talking. Without spoiling the depth of the story, I will just say that this conversation completely shifts both characters into a direction completely unexpected.

The writing of the dialogue, which is the major storytelling device at this point in the film, is absolutely wonderful. Joey Medina manages to capture a full story told through a genuine, realistic interaction, with tragedy and comedy. It’s an inspiring combination of tones, that is oftentimes very difficult to achieve in the short form. But Joey Medina manages to do it masterfully. 

The acting across the entirety of the film lends itself perfectly to Joey’s writing and directing, and it manages to bring the film to the next level. The characters become sympathizable, deptthy creations that are a joy to watch on screen. Bill Dawes and Eric Blake have an unexpected dynamic that is incredibly engaging to see as an audience.

Beautiful Violence manages to establish an immaculate tone with a moving, constantly evolving story. The film has a tragic beauty to it, as the the title implies. Joey Medina has created an excellent short film in this work and it really leaves a lasting, thought-provoking impression in all the best ways possible. 

We very much look forward to seeing where Joey Medina goes next!


"BEAUTIFUL VIOLENCE"
BY JOEY MEDINA


4.8

CHECK OUT THE OFFICIAL TRAILER!


Keep Up With The Project & Joey Medina In The Future!



David Wenzel - Filmmaker Interview

An Interview With David Wenzel:
The Multi-Talented Actor & Producer


Hello David! Welcome! Could you tell us a bit about yourself? Give us a brief introduction!

ACTOR/PRODUCER/DIRECTOR, DAVID WENZEL:
As an actor, Mr. Wenzel has appeared in several Theatre productions Off-Broadway in NYC, as well as Film, TV, and daytime serials including Ray Donavan, Rescue Me, One Life To Live, All My Children, Guiding Light, Another World, Evil Lives Here, Who Killed Jane Doe, Wild Crime premiering on ABC Fall 2021, OLD DOGS, The Hustler.

David Wenzel is also an Award Winning Producer/Director for such films as Hamlet/Horatio, Echelon 8, Preying For Mercy, The Hostage!

David has work with such notables as Brad Pitt, Leonardo Dicaprio, Anthony Hopkins Fisher Stevens, Scott Rudin, Jace Alexander, and the great Oscar Winning Cinematographer Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki & Oscar Winner Gordan Willis.

Where are you currently located?

NYC

Who most inspires/influences you currently and why?

DAVID VANDO


Playwright, lyricist, screenwriter, translater/adapter, producer, acting coach.
Scholarship student at Columbia University, BS Comparative Literature, MFA
Playwriting. Folger Library Fellowship in Shakespearean Studies recipient, Forest
Robert’s International Playwriting Prize winner, whose theatre works have been
performed in Europe as well as America. Published works include, THE MASK AND THE
MIRROR, an anthology of three plays, and SHAKESPEARE FOR THE 21st CENTURY
now in its third edition.
David Vando has been in the performing arts all his life. While still a scholarship student
at Columbia University in playwriting he assisted director Jack Gelber in the Arnold
Wesker play THE KITCHEN off-Broadway and INDIANS by Arthur Kopit with the Royal
Shakespeare Company in London. After graduating from Columbia, David Vando did an
English adaptation of THE THREEPENNY OPERA for the Lake George Opera Company,
and the book and lyrics for a musical adaptation of LOVE’S LABOR’S LOST for the
Folger Theatre Group in Washington DC with music by Brian Williams, and BUGLES AT
DAWN, a musical play based on the RED BADGE OF COURAGE, at the ATC Chernuchin
Theatre in New York with music by Mark Barkan. Vando did an English adaptation of
THE THREEPENNY OPERA for the Lake George Opera Company and Vando’s comic
play about the last years of Moliere’s life, THE KING’S CLOWN, won an international
playwriting prize sponsored by Northern Michigan University. It was performed at the
University and subsequent productions followed in Chicago and London. Mr. Vando’s play
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LEONARDO DA VINCI was translated into German
and performed by the National Theatre of Weimar. His play EROICA about Beethoven
overcoming his deafness to complete the 9th Symphony was performed in London at the
Tabernacle Theatre
On the directing side, Mr. Vando worked as an assistant director with Patrick Bakman
(TOSCA, Lake George Opera, and THE BALLAD OF BABY DOE at the New York City
Opera) and with Choreographer Wayne Eagling on the ballet FRANKENSTEIN for
London’s Royal Ballet, Milan’s La Scala Ballet and Amsterdam’s Royal Ballet as well as

What is a quote that summarizes everything you’re about as a filmmaker?

Having been an Actor for several years and having the opportunities to work with the likes of Gordan Willis, Emmanuel lubezki, The Cohen Brothers and Brad Pitt. These people showed me the craft of filmmaking which I fell in love with!

What inspired you to start creating films?

As an Actor you are often not in control of casting. As a filmmaker I have the ability to create my own clear path.

Who most inspires/influences your style and specific execution currently and why?

I love all genre of film, but one the inspires me the most is probably Franco Zeffirelli! Franco Zeffirelli, who described his style as “lavish in scale and unashamedly theatrical”, was one of the most influential, flamboyant and controversial designer-directors of the 20th century

Italian film director Franco Zeffirelli in New York, on Oct. 31, 1974.

What is your favorite film of all time?

In the Name of the Father

As a creator, what do you find to be the thing that most drives you to succeed? We like to use this portion for others to learn from you!

Fear and Love!

What is your overall dream in life?

To continue making independent film that speaks to wide range of people!

The Film Fest Network Team also had the pleasure of reviewing your wonderful feature film: Hamlet/Horatio

What is your role in the film?

Producer & Actor

Who is the director & who is the writer?

Director Paul Warner – Writer David Vando

What is the film’s genre?

Drama

What is the film’s logline?

“The power of love to transcend corruption and evil.”

Told from the point of view of Horatio, the action transpires on an empty sound stage with
the death of Hamlet. In his last moment of awareness in purgatory, Hamlet’s life flashes
before him as a film within a film within a film as Horatio turns director in order to fulfill
his promise to Hamlet to tell his tragic story to the unknowing world.

What inspired the way that you went about executing this project?

This a a project that has been in the making for 20 years, David Wenzel played Hamlet off Broadway in NYC and worked with writer David Vando to create a unique interpretation of Hamlet told for Hortio’ eyes!

It started in 2000 when I was cast to play the role of Hamlet off-Broadway at The Waterloo Bridge Theatre (which is no longer in existence.) It was a short six performance run and I felt I could have explored more with the role. From there, I contacted my colleague David Vando and we started working on a draft with the focus being on the friendship of Hamlet and Horatio. I always felt that Hamlet would have ended up going mad like Ophelia if he did not have Horatio as a springboard for his concerns. David and I ended up doing eight different productions with different interpretations. We felt that it had ran its course on the stage and was time to develop a film based on the experimental process of the stage performances that were well received onstage.

What was the most difficult part in the process of creating this film? How did you overcome it?

Financing and putting all the Actors and Crew Together, and to make sure we had the right people that understood the vision!

What was the most fun part of this entire production?

Watching the filming and Actors coming to life!

What is the single greatest lesson you learned along the creation of this particular project?

Team work and love makes the dream work!

Check out the film’s beautiful poster below!

Is there anything else you would like us to know? Or any final thoughts / things you’d like to share with our readers?

Hamlet/Horatio is a 20-year collaboration of film professionals celebrating “the power of love to transcend corruption and evil.” Can you tell us more about the process behind making this film?

The pictures I sent The one in the Suit and Leather jacket is me David Wenzel, The writer and also Executive Producer is the older Man David Vando, The Director Paul Warner in the one with blonde hair.

It started in 2000 when I was cast to play the role of Hamlet off-Broadway at The Waterloo Bridge Theatre (which is no longer in existence.) It was a short six performance run and I felt I could have explored more with the role. From there, I contacted my colleague David Vando and we started working on a draft with the focus being on the friendship of Hamlet and Horatio. I always felt that Hamlet would have ended up going mad like Ophelia if he did not have Horatio as a springboard for his concerns. David Vando and I ended up doing eight different productions with different interpretations. We felt that it had ran its course on the stage and was time to develop a film based on the experimental process of the stage performances that were well received onstage

Thank you so much for being a part of The Film Festival Network Community, David! We can’t wait to see what you do next.

 


Keep up with David Wenzel and all his incredible work to come!



Marcellus Cox - Filmmaker Interview

An Interview With Marcellus Cox:
A Director/Writer With a Vision For Depth


Hello Marcellus! Welcome! Could you tell us a bit about yourself? Give us a brief introduction!Who most inspires/influences you currently and why?

Marcellus Cox is an Award Winning Writer/Director hailing from Los Angeles, California. Marcellus Cox has always had a passion for movies and filmmaking. As a True Auteur His style of cinematic storytelling embossed with dark and edgy themes that is engaging and enlightening, delivering his audience to a place of understanding and compassion for social issues and objectivity, as he Pushes the boundaries of controversial storytelling, touching on subjects such as Race, Religion, Social & Political issues. Marcellus Cox work has screened in over 200 International Film Festivals, Won over 150 International Film Awards and has screened Nationwide on CBS, FOX, ABC, SHORTS TV, Revolt TV, Crime & Investigation & PBS.

Where are you located currently?

Los Angeles, California

Marcellus Cox Filmmaker Interview

What is a quote that summarizes everything you’re about as a filmmaker?

I’m always pursuing the next dream, hunting for the next truth.

– Stanley Kramer

What inspired you to start creating films?

When I was around 9 Years Old and the first time I saw Who Framed Roger Rabbit. I was absolutely blown away but the brilliant Live Action/Animation combination, the pure natural storytelling within a Film Noir was everything for me and still is till this day.

This is the only profession where we can express what’s on our minds and in our hearts visually in the most artistic manner and I’ve been hooked ever sense.

Who most inspires/influences your style and specific execution currently and why?

There are so many Filmmakers that have shaped and influenced my style of storytelling and filmmaking. But if I have time narrow them down… Robert Altman, Ingmar Bergman, Stanley Kramer. Their Filmmaking style was my muse because their work always presents the truth in a powerful and realistic manner, there work can be gritty yet beautiful at the same time. And the way that they were able to get the absolute best outta their talent was well displayed on the screen.

Marcellus Cox Filmmaker Interview

What is your favorite film of all time?

I literally have about 100 movies to place here but if I have to pick one that’s nearest and dearest to my heart, it’s Taxi Driver.

As a creator, what do you find to be the thing that most drives you to succeed? We like to use this portion for others to learn from you!

The Love of my craft and Movies. I love making films learning new things every single day that I know I can improve on and even more I Love watching Movies, studying from the greats to see what message or messages they were trying to present to the world and how they went about the process of this profession. That’s what drives me the most and always will. I’ll never be caught up with the Lure of wanting to be rich and famous, as long as I can be behind the camera bring real stories to life that matters and getting better at my craft in the process that’s all that I want and need.

What is your overall dream in life?

Just to be a Good Filmmaker. Short, Sweet, maybe a little corny to most lol I don’t care nor mind. I just want to be someone I hope folks would respect and appreciate the work I release onto the world. Most important remain true to myself at all times with my artistic visions and never let the power of a dollar Bill influence any of my decisions. I just hope and pray I’ll be a good filmmaker.

We also had the absolute pleasure of reviewing Marcellus’s short film: Mickey Hardaway. Click below to go check that out!

What is your role(s) in the film?

Writer/Director/Producer

What is the film’s genre?

Drama, Thriller

What is the film’s logline?

A Young Sketch Artist who visits a well renowned psychiatrist as his life begins sprawling out of control after years of Physical and Verbal Abuse has taken a toll on him.

What inspired the way that you went about executing this project?

I wanted to tell a truthful story about Dreamers. The ones who long for something more in this world then just trying to fill in the shoes of another 9-5 individual. Someone who knows they have more to offer with their gifts and the folks who don’t see things there way and the pursuits those folks will go through to crush there spirits and the consequences that affects everyone involved when a dream isn’t allow the opportunity to blossom.

What was the most difficult part in the process of creating this film? How did you overcome it?

Well in early 2020 we had the funding and was going to get ready to begin filming but Covid came and the production company backed out on the film so that left me and producing partner Armando Townsend wondering what the next move would be. So we gathered all the money we had and shot the concept. That proved to be a huge challenge as well because SAG-AFTRA didn’t have any set rules at the time so we had to make our own set to make sure production went well. Plus we were in the heart of the Black Lives Matters protest in LA, we could literally here folks marching in the background, fighting for their rights just to be treated as decent citizens in a land that’s proven they don’t care about them. And we had several actors quit the shoot over Covid right as we were about to start shooting. We had all of that going on and yet someway, somehow we got it done.

What was the most fun part of this entire production?

Working with the cast & crew. This by far as a Filmmaker was the most fun shoot I’ve ever been apart of. We had several actors leave the film unfortunately but when opportunity comes knocking someone takes advantage of it and that’s what happen. Working with Rashad Hunter, Stephen Cofield Jr, David Chattam, Charlz Williams, Deangelo Davis was without question the highest honor for me. Having the chance to put this together with Jamil Gooding was unbelievable. And of course just watching what the film has done since the day we’ve released it has truly been amazingly.

What is the single greatest lesson you learned along the creation of this particular project?

Don’t ever be afraid to tell the truth especially in your work. It’s the single most important weapon we have as artist to showcase our feelings of the world and to show a reflection to society when they need it the most like now.

Marcellus Cox Filmmaker Interview

Take a look at the film’s official poster below

Is there anything else you would like us to know? Or any final thoughts / things you’d like to share with our readers?

I’m gearing up to make my very Feature Debut which will be the Feature Version of Mickey Hardaway. Right now 50% of the budget has been raised but we need help raising the other half. So I ask everyone to check out our indiegogo campaign, if you can please donate doesn’t matter the amount and share this with friends and family as much ass humanly possible.

Thank you so much for being a part of The Film Festival Network Community, Marcellus! We can’t wait to see what you do next.


Keep up with Marcellus and all his incredible work to come!



Mickey Hardaway - Short Film Review

Mickey Hardaway – By Marcellus CoxShort Film Review

Mickey Hardaway is an emotional look into the cruelty of the people around us when they see someone that’s different from them.

Mickey Hardaway

Director/Writer Marcellus Cox brings this character of Mickey Hardaway to life by means of effective, emotional and devastating circumstances. This film follows a day in the life of Mickey, a young sketch artist that’s surrounded by hate and darkness in his life. We see the hardships Mickey faces for being different than the people around him. This is most prominent with his interactions with a bully at school and with his own father.

Mickey Hardaway

It’s the methodical, well-directed confrontations that really bring this story to life. Marcellus Cox does such an effective job of making us as the audience feel immense sympathy for Mickey and hatred for the disturbed, moral-less characters around him. The confrontation with his father is what really pushes the story over the line in all the best ways possible.

The path to happiness comes in the form of a visit to therapy for Mickey Hardaway. In the short, Mickey goes to visit a well-renowned psychiatrist to help him deal with the chaos surrounding him. The hope and tonal shift this brings into the story is what makes this film really special. In such a short, efficient amount of time: The film manages to grow our sympathy for Mickey, our hatred for those that are cruel to him and our hope for this next step to lead to eventual happiness for Mickey.

Without giving away the ending too much, it does a beautiful job of leaving us wanting more. The story itself was wrapped up poetically and wonderfully, but it allows the film to feel like there’s plenty more story to tell, and I believe that is the plan for Director/Writer Marcellus Cox.

Mickey Hardaway

All-in-all, Mickey Hardaway was a wonderful short film with a lot of incredibly effective character depth, told very efficiently in the short form.

We very much look forward to seeing where Marcellus Cox goes next!


"MICKEY HARDAWAY"
BY MARCELLUS COX


4.7

CHECK OUT THE OFFICIAL TRAILER!


WE ALSO HAD THE CHANCE TO
INTERVIEW DIRECTOR
MARCELLUS COX


CLICK HERE TO READ IT

Keep Up With The Project & Marcellus Cox In The Future!



Hamlet/Horatio - Film Review

Hamlet/Horatio – By Paul Warner – Film Review

This inventive film is one that Shakespeare fans will certainly enjoy. 

Hamlet/Horatio

As the movie opens, we see a film set being prepared and a group of actors getting ready to perform. This then becomes a reenactment of William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” While the film consists mostly of this reenactment, there are these beautiful moments when we are taken out of this and can see the camera man or the timing on the camera, breaking the fourth wall. This reminds us that we are watching a “film within a film,” very much like the “play within a play,” which we see in “Hamlet.” The meta-aspect of this idea execution is brilliant. 

As the reenactment begins, we see Hamlet in a state of distress as his mother has married his father’s brother shortly after his sudden death. He is then visited by the ghost of his father, who tells him that he was killed by his brother. This leads Hamlet on a mission to avenge his father’s death, going mad in the process. 

The acting in this film is fantastic through and through. We have the brief moment at the beginning when we get to see them out of character, and we see the main character getting himself in the zone before he begins his performance within the performance. This adds to the reality of it being a set, and further immersing us into director Paul Warner’s world. 

Hamlet/Horatio

From the beginning, the tension between the characters is clear, and even before knowing that his father has been murdered, we can feel Hamlet’s resentment towards his mother and uncle for marrying. In contrast to this, we see the playful relationship between Hamlet and Horatio, although as the film progresses, the tension builds here too. Very effectively that tension is built, by means of lovely directing and effective cinematography.

Hamlet/Horatio

Hamlet’s relationship with Ophelia causes great distress to her brother and we see him turn cold on her, much like he does with his mother. Gradually, Ophelia is driven mad too. Both characters show a different portrayal of this, but it works brilliantly!

There are quite a few particular moments that make this film so special, and it is that intention to focus on beauty and “momentary storytelling” that allows this film to work as it does. One such moment is when we see Ophelia discussing her relationship with Hamlet with her brother, we see images of Hamlet in all white, with bright lights, as though he is elsewhere listening to this conversation. It has a sense of visual poetry in many aspects, and it’s an example that represents the greater whole of how this film establishes its unique style.

Hamlet/Horatio

Background music is used well too, and this helps to add to the tension and emotion of conversations. With that, of course: lighting also adds to the feel of the atmosphere within the film. The more tense scenes across the story are happening in dimly lit rooms, adding to the dark mood of the film. However, when we have the moments with the ghost or with dreams, the light is bright and this helps give these moments a fantasy, almost romanticized feel. 

The story moves at a smooth pace, keeping our attention as audience members throughout. The reimagining of the classic play in this way adds more depth to the story resulting in a truly fascinating, gripping watch!

Hamlet/Horatio

We very much look forward to seeing where Paul Warner goes next!


"HAMLET/HORATIO"
BY PAUL WARNER


4.3

CHECK OUT THE OFFICIAL TRAILER!


Keep Up With The Project & Paul Warner In The Future!



Charlotte's Net - Film Review

Charlotte’s Net – By James Dobbins Jones – Film Review

This is a film that takes the found footage genre to a whole new level. Opening with a cheesy ad from 80s style Jamieson family as they introduce their series of “A Kid’s Guide to the Net” in a time when the internet is something brand new and mysterious, and this exciting film throws intentional, well-utilized style at us immediately, gripping us in!

Charlotte's Net by James Dobbins Jones - Film Review

 The film then takes a turn. We are taken to a violent clip of a young man being beaten up. When one of the two friends who are watching walks away, we hear the one filming tell him that this is the material that will go viral, getting lots of views and likes, ultimately making him money. 

As the film progresses, we see several encounters between these two friends. The person who most often films spends his time on the dark web, but his friend is reluctant to look at anything on there. When he does, he becomes upset by what he sees. 

Charlotte's Net by James Dobbins Jones - Film Review

The relationship between these two characters feels realistic and methodically written, as they argue with one another and also play pranks on each other, as well as the dynamic with the inevitable darkness.
But they feel like true friends throughout all of this, making the film all the more effectively engaging. 

We are exposed to violent and sexually explicit videos throughout the film – the sort of videos it is implied that the boys are watching. This culturally-relevant idea of getting “lots of views” is continuously brought up – with references to well-known content and platforms such as Lad Bible. The acting from both boys is fantastic – with both of them portraying completely different characters. The dialogue is convincing, feeling like real conversation that two boys would have together. 

Charlotte's Net by James Dobbins Jones - Film Review

The story progresses well, and we see tension grow between the boys as there is more pressure to watch disturbing content. The conversations between them is what brings us in and tells the story as we see their contrasting reactions to what is happening. We are shown rather than told what is really occurring within this story. The camera work is purposely low quality, with awkward shots and some camera glitches coming through, and it’s used well. Both of these elements add to the authentic feel of the film.

Charlotte's Net by James Dobbins Jones - Film Review

This  film does a great job of showing the expectation vs reality side of using the internet – with the Jamieson family popping up from time to time with a new tip in their brightly coloured settings and over the top smiles to the dark room in which the two boys spend most of their time. Surrounded by mess and staring mindlessly at the screen shows the reality in terms of the “horrific side” of how the internet is often used today. Most of the videos that we see have very little or no background music and this adds to the controlled, bleak and strategically atmospheric feel of the film. 

Charlotte's Net by James Dobbins Jones - Film Review

This is not for the faint hearted – with extreme violence and sexually explicit content throughout. However, if you want a film that will have you on the edge of your seat in all sorts of creative and amazing ways, this is definitely a lovely one to watch!

Charlotte's Net by James Dobbins Jones - Film Review

We very much look forward to seeing where James Dobbins Jones goes next!


"CHARLOTTE'S NET"
BY JAMES DOBBINS JONES


4.4

CHECK OUT THE OFFICIAL TEASER!


Keep Up With Charlotte's Net & James Dobbins Jones In The Future!



Photalgia

Photalgia - Film Review

Photalgia – By Michael McCallumShort Film Review

An older artist is affected by a strange light at his studio that drives him to do dark things.

Director Michael McCallum utilized minimalism in Photalgia to bring us into his dark, thrilling vision. The older artist “The Shadow” – is consumed by an inexplicable calling to this odd, somehow mesmerizing light. We as the audience feel the peculiar tension in the scenes showcasing this light, and it certainly brings us in immediately. 

Photalgia

The contrasty, slow and deliberate cinematography mixed with the control of the pacing by McCallum effectively manages to create an atmosphere that works perfectly in context to the “perspective” of our lead character. Beyond that, the idea of this all being “for art” and within the world of art makes it all the more imaginative and wonderful.

The use of high-contrast black and white is well-used in order to make things further bleaker and more intense in context. The film manages to hold a mysterious beauty visually, which constantly keeps our eyes glued to the screen.

The performances by both William C. McCallum and Michael McCallum are great, which is what really allows this whole film to work. William has this believable, trustable demeanor that makes it all the more disturbing when reality strikes. He plays into this faith-based darkness well in all the best, most terrifying ways!

Photalgia

The film has a creative, controlled cinematography style across it, which further brings the tone alive. The way these off-center shots showcase the basement bring us into that space and display it both interestingly and engagingly. Of course, the same goes for all the shots focusing on our two disturbed characters.

Photalgia

Overall, Photalgia is a lovely film with a well-maintained tone. Director Michael McCallum has an understanding for pacing and deliberate narrative control, and it works to execute this story effectively. The beautiful cinematography and performances within the film bring it all full circle, resulting in a wonderful short horror film. 

We very much look forward to seeing where Michael McCallum goes next!


"PHOTALGIA"
BY MICHAEL MCCALLUM


3.5

CHECK OUT THE FILM HERE!


Keep Up With The Project & Michael In The Future!



Marcellus Cox | Exclusive Filmmaker Interview - IDFF 2021

An International Diversity Film Festival Exclusive Interview with Marcellus Cox:
The Awe-Inspiring Storyteller and Film Director


Hey Marcellus! Congratulations on your achievements at this year’s IDFF! Could you tell us a bit about yourself? Who are you, personally and as a filmmaker?

Man!!!!!!!!!! I’m not great at all at this kinda thing I swear lol. I’m gonna give it a shot. My name is Marcellus Ja’vonnie Cox II. I’m a Award Winning Writer/Director hailing born n bread in Los Angeles, California. Since the age of 9 I’ve has always had a passion for movies and filmmaking. As a True Auteur my style of cinematic storytelling embossed with dark and edgy themes that is engaging and enlightening, delivering his audience to a place of understanding and compassion for social issues and objectivity, as I Push the boundaries of controversial storytelling, touching on subjects such as Race, Religion, Social & Political issues. My Films have screened in over 200 International Film Festivals, Won over 150 International Film Awards and have screened Nationwide on CBS, FOX, ABC, SHORTS TV, Revolt TV, Crime & Investigation, Link TV & PBS.

Where are you located currently?

Currently in Bellflower, California but I’m From South Central LA

What aspect does diversity and representation play in your craft?

It plays a massive part in my craft and storytelling in general. Showcasing and revealing stories that have been overlooked for far too long so the fact that I have the art form and platform to present messages of that speaks to everyone but in particular people who look a lot like myself is a huge blessing and privilege.

Congratulations on your work making it into this year’s IDFF! Could you tell us about your film?

Most Definitely. And Thank You for the congratulations lol. My film is Mickey Hardaway: It’s a Psychological Thriller about A Young Sketch Artist who visits a well renowned psychiatrist as his life begins sprawling out of control after years of Physical and Verbal Abuse has taken a toll on him.

When did you make your first film?

There’s levels to that question lmfao. I’m sorry there is. My very very first one was 2006 I made a comedy sketch for Film School my freshman year at El Camino College called KKK Rises. It’s a dark comedy about a Ku Klux Klansman who Throws a rally at his apartment on the same day that his Black Landlord comes to collect the rent money that he’s already late on paying. I was 18 when I made that. And it will remain hidden lol.

What do you hope to be doing five years from now?

Creating Feature Films that mean something. Work that deals with important messages and use as a teaching tool as well as entertain but mostly start conversations amongst society in the hopes of a better union for us all.

man holding camera while filming

What does diversity mean to you on a more personal level?

I can’t give you a honest answer at this point in my life because come ask me that same question if I’m alive God-Willing 30,40 years from now and I’ll hope to have years of wisdom to bless upon you that I just simply can’t deliver to you at the moment.

What were your roles in this film?

Writer/Director

What is the film’s genre?

Drama/Thriller

Are there any particular artists, events or other things that inspired you to tell this story?

The thing that inspired me to tell this story was I wanted to tell a truthful and heartfelt story about dreamers, artist that have more to offer this world then the usual 9-5 perspective but I also wanted to reveal the truth of those who don’t believe in their visions and there point of views of life and the consequences that occur when you don’t allow someone the proper opportunity to blossom.

What are you most proud of, in terms of this film?

We’ve screened in 100 Festivals, Winning 40 Awards’s with Multiple Television Coverage which is phenomenal but the thing I’m most proud of with this film is that we even got it made lol. Shooting in the heart of COVID-19 in June 2020 and with the Black Lives Matter Protest taking place at the exact same time so that hectic as hell lol. Plus this wasn’t supposed to be a proof of concept anyway because of Covid the production company we we’re working with back out on us. So the fact that this film is even seeing the light of day is amazing to me.

What is the single greatest lesson you learned along the creation of this particular project?

Mental Health and fatigue is real. It is a illness and it needs to be taken seriously no matter who you are. And if you feel like your losing grip of your sanity go seek help. There’s nothing wrong with seeking help.

What’s next for this project specifically?

I’m getting ready to make the feature version of Mickey Hardaway. I’ve raised 50% of my budget and I’ve started an Indiegogo Campaign to raise the rest of the funds.

The goal is to begin shooting in January 2022. So stay tuned.

What’s next for you? (Creatively, professionally, personally, etc.)

After working on Mickey Hardaway I hope to begin work on my Award-Winning Period Piece Crime Thriller Jefferson Street.

Along the way I hope to find a Girlfriend lol that would be great, find the woman of my dreams. That’s also apart of my plans.

Is there anything else you would like us to know? Or any final thoughts / things you’d like to share with our readers?

I would personally like to say Thank You to my cast: Rashad Hunter, Stephen Cofield Jr, David Chattam, Charlz Williams, & Deangelo Davis.

And a huge Thank You To Armando Townsend, Jamil Gooding & Bryant Fisher.

Thank you so much for being a part of The Film Festival Network Community and The International Diversity Film Festival, Marcellus!

We can’t wait to see what you do next!


Keep up with Marcellus and all his incredible work to come!


CHECK OUT THE OFFICIAL TRAILER!



Christopher Hall | Filmmaker Interview

An Interview With Christopher Hall:
The Brilliant Comedic Director


Hello Christopher! Welcome! Could you tell us a bit about yourself? Give us a brief biography on Christopher Hall!

Christopher Hall is an award-winning director and photographer working with both major brands and unique people across the world to tell their stories and use video as a tool to grow their business.

In his corporate work, he has worked for major brands like AT&T, Amazon, Facebook, Figs, Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, networks like HBO, Bravo, Fox, YouTube Red, Spike TV and VH1, and movie studios such as Warner Brothers, Universal, and Paramount. He was a producer on the last two seasons of the show TOP CHEF for Bravo TV, creating dozens of interviews and thousands of social assets to share with their active and growing audience. He also directed over 25 different branded spots for Fullscreen’s AT&T-backed series SUMMER BREAK, which ran five seasons and won the Digiday Video Ad of the Year in 2016.

Christopher Hall

In his creative work, he co-created and directed three seasons of the horror webseries, FIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, (10+ million views) which was one of the most successful shows in the first years of YouTube Red. In 2020 he directed and produced a comedy short film, BRYERS CUCUMBER TOSTINOS, starring Patrick Tamisiea and Kevin Pollak that is currently on a tour of film festivals across the world, garnering multiple awards and prizes. His original pilot scripts have been optioned by LL Cool J and Mike Karz.

Christopher Hall

After getting a degree in theater at Kenyon College, OH, Chris started out getting coffees on set of THE SOPRANOS in his first real job out of college, and then went on to a variety of unique posts in the traditional features and tv world. He spent two years at Tippett Studio in Berkeley, CA learning VFX on major movies like MATRIX: REVOLUTIONS and CONSTANTINE. He was assistant to director Breck Eisner (THE CRAZIES), helping develop projects for all the major networks and studios. And then went on to become an in-house director/shooter/editor on Executive Producer Billy Parks’ team at Fullscreen, a major digital production company.

Christopher Hall

Chris lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Davida, and their two young children, Roxanne and Quincy.

Where are you based out of, Christopher?

West LA, California.

What is a quote that summarizes everything you’re about as a filmmaker?

The screenwriter William Goldman famously wrote “Nobody knows anything” in his book on screenwriting — both as a warning to those feeling too confident after a project lands as well as those feeling insecure or nervous when a project doesn’t land. It’s a reminder I’ve passed on to others as many times as I’ve tried to hold it myself. When I came out of college full of confidence and landed in an industry that had no space for another wanna-be filmmaker, I had to keep going and make space for myself. When I changed cities a few times, or changed sections of the industry — from production to visual effects to development to reality — I had to keep making space for myself, telling myself that I could learn this, I could get better at that, I would love to meet more people like that. And I’m still trying to learn new skills, still trying to meet new people, read new books, make new movies. Nobody has a formula to success in this business — you just have to stick at it long enough and at some point you’ll realize that all the wandering you’ve been doing has actually become a path of its own.

What inspired you to start creating films?

I was an early movie-lover as a kid and loved telling my friends that I saw E.T. in the theater eight times the summer it came out. That kind of movie-going feels like a lifetime ago, and I was just a kid then. But the magic of the movies never left me. In high school, I took a “cinema studies” elective where we watched all of Kubrick’s films, and at that moment I knew I wanted to be a director. In college I studied theater and realized that I loved working with actors and helping their process. This is a job that people take because it’s about more than just making money and having a pension — it’s a calling that people feel in their bones from an early age.

Who most inspires/influences your style and specific execution currently and why?

I’ve always been a big Soderberg fan and love the way his career spanned genres and still always felt crafted, precise, and provocative. I also love old movies and anytime a Billy Wilder movie comes on I literally can’t turn it off — SOME LIKE IT HOT is 60 years old but still feels totally hilarious and worth rewatching over and over. More on the edgy side, I personally love David Cronenberg’s movies and love the way they make people squirm. There’s something so satisfying about getting a physical reaction out of your audience and I think all of those filmmakers make movies that really provoke strong emotions and responses from viewers.

What is your favorite film of all time?

I used to say CHINATOWN but probably it’s a tie with THE APARTMENT.

As a creator, what do you find to be the thing that most drives you to succeed? We like to use this portion for others to learn from you!

What drives me? I love stories. I’m addicted to them. As a kid I was a voracious reader and it’s a habit I’ve never been able to quit. I love a movie that makes me cry, or laugh, or get angry — or all of the above. And storytelling is hard. Being good at it is damn near impossible. It’s like being a samurai — you could dedicate your life to it and never attain perfection. I’m certainly no story samurai, but I’m trying.

What is your overall dream in life?

I love directing a set and I’ve been lucky enough to do it a few times. Taking a script and working with actors to turn it into a performance through rehearsals, conversations about what are the strongest choices to make — that process is pure adrenaline and when it’s over I crash and have to sleep for a few days. But while it’s happening, it’s bliss. I just want more of that bliss in my life.

Our review team also had the honor of reviewing one of Christopher’s most recent pieces: The brilliant, absurdist comedy Bryers Cucumber Tostinos.

Christopher Hall

What are your roles in the film?

Director and Producer

Christopher Hall

Who wrote this film?

It was written by Patrick Tamisiea and Nicholas Leeds.

What is the logline for Bryers Cucumber Tostino’s?

The story of a man-boy living in the corner market, still waiting for his mother to come pick him up.

What inspired the way that you went about executing this project?

This project was all about finding the things that inspired me to get into this business in the first place. Working in the world of “branded content” you can forget the glory of storytelling and the fun that it instills on everyone on set — like when you’re having a party at your parents house when they’re out of town. I got a bunch of people that I loved working with and said “let’s make this damn movie” and it just turned into one of the best projects I’ve ever been a part of. The movie’s been to over 40 festivals now — although thanks to COVID it felt a little weird having all those reactions happen remotely.

What was the most difficult part in the process of creating this film? How did you overcome it?

There really wasn’t a lot of difficulty in creating the film. We had a total blast writing it, casting it, shooting it and editing it. The challenge is when we look around at each other and say “are we really doing this?” and we tell each other, “hell yeah.” Believe you’re going to do it and at some point you’ll just find yourself doing it.

What was the most fun part of this entire production?

Definitely the shoot was a blast. We had prepared so much to be ready for it and gotten a lot of people on board to make it happen so by the time we were shooting it felt like a big group of friends. Somebody would come to set and we’d all say hi like an old friend who stopped by to your party. My kids came and got to see me directing on set. It felt like a dream.

What is the single greatest lesson you learned along the creation of this particular project?

The greatest lesson of this project was trust your friends, trust your instincts. I put a lot of trust into the people around me and I never once felt like they let me down. This business is full of disappointments and I’ve had my share. But this project just never stopped moving forward and I owe all of that success to the people who helped me make it.

Is there anything else you would like us to know? Or any final thoughts / things you’d like to share with our readers?

I’m sure I’ll think of something as soon as I hit the submit button but for now I’m good.

Thank you so much for being a part of The Film Festival Network Community, Christopher! We can’t wait to see what you do next.

Keep up with this filmmaker and all their incredible work to come!