Thursday, December 31, 2009

A New Years Salute
Happy New Year to fans, readers and compatriots. As we welcome 2010 and close the book on both the year and decade, let's reflect on both.

2009, for me, was quite the year. It was probably the most productive year of my life, in the midst of 2009, I:
-Recut Little Red Riding Hood and Dream House and finally made good on the promise of making a DVD.
-Permanently escaped from the basement of my childhood house.
-Tracked down T.F. Mou, the director of Men Behind the Sun, again. Got to hang with and interview him for much longer. Found out such cool tidbits of information such as that Men was made for $200 grand, the frostbite victim was his niece and at one point an old Chinese lady flipped when she saw the Japanese flag at the old 731 site where the film was actually shot and screamed "I knew they'd be back but I didn't think it would be THIS SOON!".
-Started work on Conversations with T.F. Mou, a feature documentary.
-Was invited to the Myrtle Beach International Film Fest and screened Little Red Riding Hood there. While at the fest, I secured the oppurtunity to make Alison in Wonderland.

None of this was easy. I had to work really, really hard to do all this and pretty much did all this as a one man show, only enlisting help when I absolutely needed. I struggled uphill through loads of depression and frustration. I saw a lot of things fall apart. 2010 will be an even more productive year but I think it'll be one that I'll live with more ease. I spent the entire last year hauling ass, being patient and setting up circumstances that will see their payoff this year.

The DVD for Conversations with T.F. Mou will be released on August 15th, 2010, yes, the 65th anniversary of Japan's surrender to the Allied Forces. Yes, it's kind of a sick joke and I've always loved gimmicky release dates. I thought it was going to be done by Halloween of 2009, initially, how wrong I was proven, heh. The special features will be forthcoming, most likely including deleted scenes, an introduction by me, the old 2008 short and the Aquatic Observations films. And, as I keep saying, a new pressing of Two Short Films will be put out that day too with menus and an Easter egg. Probably gonna get them manufactured professionally since I don't think I'll have time by then to burn and ship DVDs if there's more exposure and orders and such.

It's funny that the 2000s is over now too. Not an entirely pleasant decade for even most fortunate, I think. I'll remember the Culture of Fear, the amped up to the max consumerist hedonism that would make Karl Marx hysterically scream, the economic mess, the Bush Administration and everything else as long as I lived. 9/11, Nick Berg, Abu Graib, etc, those images will never leave my head. Honestly, though, as a student of history and left wing activist I feel like this was all bound to happen anyways. It just happened sooner than we thought. The 90s under Clinton was a more fun and fruitful decade, but that's because it was just the decade of collectively sticking our heads under the sand and pretending that nothing's wrong since it's not effecting us. I hope the world is headed for better times now, but we can't get there unless we first look at ourselves and perhaps enough people suffered hardships and misery this decade that we'll be more compelled to do so. Another 10 years of staying out of trouble and keeping the status quo would have meant a longer haul of badness, I think.

For me, personally, it was also a tough decade, full of depression, familial issues and conflict. But in my case, suffering forced me to look at myself. When it began, I was 13 and still a complete and utter child frustrated with how he was treated in the world. I'm now 23, a man and still somewhat frustrated at the former at times, but at least now I am smarter for it and know the good eggs from the bad. I matured immensely and honed my craft.

For more immediate and sexy news, as I break from Conversations with T.F. Mou in anticipation of my new computer, I'm cutting together a series of videos I made for YouTube. It's a mix between a vlog, a documentary interview and a promotional tape. It's sort of a late Christmas gift, you could say. Included will be:
-Details on how I got started as a filmmaker with lots of never before seen clips of my really early films such as the surreally fucked up Plastic Man: Face of Evil made in 2000.
-The "lost puppet blowjob scene" from Agony and the Ecstasy of the Puppets. Think of it like the spider pit scene in the original King Kong, but with more puppet fellatio and ejaculations.
-Very detailed dissections of Little Red Riding Hood and Dream House.
-Mucho information on Conversations with T.F. Mou, including a bit of footage of what I've got so far.
-Significant info on Alison in Wonderland, with many a concept sketch to show you what everything will look like and the poster unvieled.

So Happy New Years to all!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Some news, will elaborate more come New Years'.

First, I am taking a two month break from Conversations with T.F. Mou. The project has been my most technical difficulty riddled project to date, which is not surprising, given the size, scope and level of detail involved. Honestly, the biggest mistake I made was not the level of ambition, but was thinking I could "probably pull through" with only a 150 GB hard drive Toshiba laptop computer and an external hard drive. The last hard drive failure I think was a strong clue that I needed a new set-up. Thus I'm getting a new, more state-of-the-art computer to cut it all on. The problem now is that the editing file has apparently corrupted. Or the computer just can't take the memory strain of rendering anymore. I spent almost a month and a half trying to iron it all out and it just keeps "erroring". It's getting so frustrating and just plain counter productive.

I will probably breeze through it with a lot of memory and more disc space, so it very well could still be finished by June.

As said, Alison in Wonderland has found enthusiastic backers. It will be shot in 2010. More on that in the New Years' post. An opportunity beyond opportunities.

I will be releasing a 30 minute (three part) interview segment to YouTube in January where I'm going to talk about various things including fairly detailed retrospectives on Little Red Riding Hood and Dream House and lots of juicy details on Conversations with T.F. Mou and Alison in Wonderland. The teaser poster for Alison in Wonderland will be unveiled.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Adventures in Myrtle Beach
The cannibal people of Myrtle Beach are a group known for their Southern hospitality.

So, my dear readers and followers, I’ve spent upwards of the last 10 days in travel to and then staying in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. As of now I’m finally back in Boston.

As previously reported, Little Red Riding Hood was selected to screen at the Myrtle Beach International Film Festival. I was honestly not that excited to be screening it mostly because to me it’s so, well, 2006. I really am almost tired of the film, but it did look cool projected on a 30 foot screen.

Florence, SC, aka "the armpit of the Southeast".
Taken on the train; three-quarters of the place is probably devoted to the meaning behind each of Max Cady's tattoos.

My stay in the Deep Southern USA was an interesting experience full of dives, tourist traps and heaping plates of fried food. It's so different from New England its almost like being in another country, in fact, the times I've been to Canada felt much less 'foreign' than this place. I stayed in an inn in Florence, SC, one of the most dangerous cities in the entire country as I waited for the (atrociously managed) Greyhound bus to the beach. The motel was basically a crack house and I could hear what sounded like gangstah pimps sassin’ their hos and vice-versa in the next room. I simply bolted my door and hoped to escape in one piece. Miraculously, not one thing was stolen from me when I left.
Visions of Myrtle Beach, aka "America's putt-putt capital".Godzilla after a jaunt in the Calabash Seafood Buffet.

Myrtle Beach is a neat place. It’s full of trashy and garish tourist dives, miniature golf courses and restaurants with buffets that serve you more food than you need to eat in a week. Sadly I didn't play any miniature golf, but one jaunt in a seafood buffet made me believe that I’d solidified my place in the 3rd level of Dante’s Inferno. Godzilla would leave a typical buffet in Myrtle Beach with a full stomach. The beach itself is pretty and walking around it was a lot of fun. They had a Ripley’s Believe It Or Not museum that I popped in, I’ve always loved those tacky shrines to the grotesque; Dave Luce should seriously focus on getting an exhibit devoted to him erected in one of those. Took pictures of their collection of torture devices and shrunken heads for cinematic inspiration.

The excellent My Sweet Misery.

The festival itself was fun stuff and I liked the majority of the other films I saw shown there. One of my favorite films shown there was My Sweet Misery. That film concerns a depressed, suicidal young man with a chaotically bizarre existence involving a lovingly sociopathic freak for a brother and an equally psychotic ex-wife who emotionally wounded him so heinously that he vomits at the mere mention of her name. He falls in love with the beautiful, sweet-natured cleaning lady of the hotel he’s staying at who falls vice-versa for him after reading his suicide note scrawled on a roll of toilet paper. Also involved is a God-like therapist character whom the man frequently subconsciously consults. It was a poignant film with a ghoulish, twisted sense of morbid humor but a strangely beautiful message of something like hope, some of the most authentic emotions I’ve seen in a film in a while and some realistically quirky characters akin to those of P.T. Anderson or Martin Scorsese. It’s almost like a J.D. Salinger novel put to film. The director, Matthew Jordan, who I got to talk to afterwards, paints a funny, biting and satirical portrait of the more bizarre side of life in America and the kind of chaotic social world many people inhabit.

Also of fine quality was the German short Daruber Hinaus and the extremely well made Zatoichi-inspired Western Carter. The film Route 30, which played right after Little Red Riding Hood, was also highly amusing if marred a bit by its very digital-looking cinematography. Hotel Chelsea, a low budget US/Japanese co-production, was a little bit convoluted but still highly interesting, I haven’t been mind fucked by a horror film in this manner since Brian DePalma stopped making decent quality films. It was almost like Raising Cain directed by Takashi Miike. Thankfully, just about all the films I saw were extremely character and narrative-driven works, which is just the direction I really think cinema needs to swing back toward.

For more personal news, Little Red Riding Hood won an award for “Best Anything Goes” film. I suppose I can start building my award shelf now. And for the best news of all, Jerry Dalton, the producer who runs the Myrtle Beach Film Festival, loved Little Red Riding Hood and seems extremely enthusiastic on getting Alison in Wonderland produced. I am extremely excited and as of now am aiming on getting the film shooting by August to September of 2010. Be talking a lot more on that matter I’m sure. Also planning on making a teaser poster soon.

Myrtle Beach oddities: sharks, heinous medieval torture devices and under-21 nightclubs with amusing names.

Now back to work on Conversations with T.F. Mou. Purged a lot of stuff from my computer to give it a nice speed-up.