31 January 2011

Redux: Judas Kiss

Working on a film (is it a film, considering it was made digitally?) can be laborous, tension filled and even boring (hurry up and wait can be its motto from time to time). Still, my experience on Judas Kiss has been nothing but joy for me.

Last August, I spent three weeks up in Seattle filming the feature directorial debut of JT Tepnapa (web series Star Trek: Hidden Frontier and the director of the award winning shorts, Masterbation: Putting the Love into Self-Loving, Drag Queen Heist and Begging For Change) and co-writer Carlos Pedraza's (writer on the web series Star Trek: Hidden Frontier and Star Trek: Phase II) dream project. With some crew from LA and other parts of the US, along with an extensive Seattle based members, the filming took place around the University of Washington. The cast includes Charlie David (Mulligans, Dante's Cove and LOGO TV's Bump!), rising superstar Richard Harmon (Cartoon Network's Tower Prep and the upcoming AMC series The Killing), Sean Lockhart, also known as adult film star Brent Corrigan (Another Gay Sequel and the short In the Closet that was featured in Boys on Film 3)and making his English language debut, Flemish actor and singer Timo Descamps.

It was a long, sometimes fustrating three-week shoot (and mostly, because time and money are against these small, idependent made features). Still, it was also the best time of my life. The cast and crew were a blast to work with, and the locations were spectacular.

Having known both JT and Carlos for now going past five years, they are the most accomindating, most sincere people you can know. Carlos is whip smart, funny, and a delight to be with it and along with JT (and his husband Adam) have become some of my dearest friends. The fact that JT and Carlos welcomed me to help them make their dream come true fills me with even more joy.

I seen some of the assembled film, which is due to hit the festival circuit starting in April - a working print if you may- that does not include the visual effects or music score. You'll all see some astonishing work here, from Charlie David to a star in the making known as Richard Harmon. Brent Corrigan will show the world he can be a serious actor, and Timo Descamps (who will also contribute songs to the soundtrack) will find a new audience here in the States -he's pretty popular TV and music star back home.

However, most films are never finished after principle photography. And Judas Kiss needed a few things fixed that were not done back in August. On January 29, 2011 primary cast members Charlie David and Richard Harmon along with co-stars Samantha Rund, Ron Boyd and Dale Bowers arrived back in Seattle for a one day of pick-up shots.

The one striking difference between August and January in Seattle is the weather. I left here on Friday morning, with the sun shining and the warm temps. I arrived at SeaTac with chilly temps in the low 40's and rain. It was a huge change when I was there last summer, when the days were warm and sunny (though there a few days of clouds and some rain drops). Luckly, we got to film inside on Saturday, though we did film one brief sequence outside.

Hopefully, with these reshoots, the film will now come together and be ready for the film circuit. So, I hope when its does come to your area this summer, be it a standard film circuit of a GLBT one, you'll take the time to see this labor of love from my friends.

28 January 2011

Weekend Trip

In Seattle for some pick-up shots for Judas Kiss, with stars Charlie David, Richard Harmon and Samantha Rund. Its a short weekend jaunt, be back home late Sunday afternoon.

24 January 2011

Books: Horns by Joe Hill (2010)

For over a year, Ignatius Perrish has been the main suspect in the murder of his beloved girlfriend, Merrin Williams. She was raped and brutally bludgeoned to death, but because there was no clear evidence who did it, suspicion has followed Ig like a bad debt.

Then, after a night spent drunk and doing terrible things, Ig wakes up the next morning with a pair of horns growing out of his temples. At first, he thinks he's having some sort of mental breakdown, but soon it becomes clear that there in nothing natural about the horns, and they are way too real.

Now Ig is possessed of a terrible new power, one that scares him at first. But this new macabre talent also brings a realization to Ig: he can now find out what monster killed Merrin and ruin that persons life. So while he feels everyone, including God, has abandoned him, Ig knows the Devil inside will never forsake him.

With Horns, Joe Hill continues to hone his talents as new writer in the realm that his father, Stephen King made famous for nearly 40 years. Still, unlike his first novel Heart-Shaped Box, the premise and execution reminds me more of his father's style. This is not a complaint, by far. However, I may be doing some unintentional transferring here -after all, I have been reading King since 1980!

Horns is good second book, even though I felt Heart-Shaped Box was stronger. I will continue to read Joe Hill's work, if only because, like his father's work, Hill has created characters you care about, and feel connected too.

I'm looking forward to more.

16 January 2011

Golden Bore

For me, only award show that is worth its spit is the Oscars. So tonights Golden Globes were passed over in favor of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. I did see Ricky Gervais' snarky, mean and brilliantly funny opening.
Hollywood is filled with so many phonies, so many ass kissers, that when Gervais makes fun of them, and point out to the audience in TV that these people, while talented, are no more than just people. The people in the audience laugh and guffaw at some of his jokes, but they hit home most of the time.
Gervais' main goal, if I may be so bold, is to point out that our many beliefs about these "stars" are nothing but silly, pointless adulation. Like many award shows, the Golden Globes only award what's popular. Sure it does give them to independent films and actors, but I sometimes wonder how and why these people win. Social Network really the best film of the year? Probably not, but it won anyways.
I'm fascinated why it won, because even writer Aaron Sorkin seems to think its just an okay film.
Anyways, I watch the Oscars and the Emmy's and beyond that, any other award show is nothing but filler for the folks who love TMZ, E! Network, People Magazine and Entertainment Tonight.
And think that they are, somehow, important.

13 January 2011

Doctor Who: Season Six switches episode order

Some changes have come the broadcast order to the upcoming Doctor Who season. Showrunner Steven Moffat announced that Mark Gatiss' scripted episode (rumored titled to be What Are Little Boys Made Of), has been moved from its current slot as the third episode to the ninth slot. In its place, writer Steven Thompson, who worked on Moffat's Sherlock, is now handling a new episode three. Thompson was earlier rumored to be writing episode 8, which supposedly involved the return of the original, Mondasian Cybermen. Whether that's true or not, Moffat said the change isn't a reflection on the quality of either episode, and simply an effort to "balance the look" of the show, as both Moffat's and Neil Gaiman's episodes are very dark and interior-heavy.

Since the Gatiss story is already filmed, this now suggests that the huge midseason cliffhanger can't be the game-changer as earlier thought. So anyone thinking that Rory, Amy or even the Doctor were going to die in that cliffhanger, this shifting of the schedule should prove otherwise.

11 January 2011

Bond 23 is announced

Not just 6 months ago, the fate of the James Bond franchise was in doubt due to MGM's financial issues with their bankruptcy. Even current Bond star Daniel Craig appeared to be moving on, signing on to star in the Millennium Trilogy, with the first film in the series, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo debuting this Christmas. Now with a few souls sacrificed to the Gods of Capital Finances, MGM is back in business and have announced that the next Bond film will bow on November 9, 2012.

Daniel Craig will be back for his third (and probably last?) outing as the super spy, under the helm of director Sam Mendes. No plot or casting has been announced, but filming should begin this summer. I wonder, since he's making so many movies back-to-back, will he have time to do press for his summer release Cowboys and Aliens and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo at Christmas?

10 January 2011

Familiar faces return for The Hobbit

With most of the primary cast (fairly unknown ones outside the UK) of the two-part Peter Jackson directed version of The Hobbit set, work continues on getting some actors back from the original trilogy. With the expansion of the original novel, and with bridging material provided in Tolkien’s other works that will lead into The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, this has given the chance for some actors to come back to Middle Earth. While Ian McKellen is still working on his deal to return as Gandalf, Andy Serkis will return as Gollum, while Cate Blanchett will reprise the role of Galadriel. Also back is Elijah Wood as Frodo. Word also comes that Orlando Bloom will be back as Legolas and that Hugo Weaving will return as Elrond. Two other actors could be back as well. Ian Holm may return as an older version of Bilbo -which hints of the rumor that the movie starts with Bilbo telling Frodo of his journey with the dwarves, and then flashing back where Martin Freeman takes over the role. It is also noted, however, Holm may end up just narrating the films. Meanwhile, 88 year-old Christopher Lee has expressed interest in playing Saruman again, if only to play the wizard through his corruption by Sauron, but notes that he would not be comfortable to fly to New Zealand at his age. He has expressed interest in voicing the dragon Smaug -which is the primary reason for the journey -, though, which he could easily do from the comfort of England.

In the meantime, filming gets underway in early February on the $500 million prequels. The production is expected to last a year, with part one of The Hobbit due in cinemas Christmas 2012, followed by part two for Christmas 2013.

09 January 2011

From Scott, over at Bill in Exile

I said right here on these pages months and months ago that the eliminationist rhetoric and violent speech used by clowns like Palin and Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh were going to result in provoking one of the pig people in their audience into shooting someone.

And don’t you dare for one second fall for the media’s false equivalency that “both sides do it.”

Nobody on the fucking Left is ever talking about taking back our country through “Second Amendment remedies” as republican Senate candidate Sharon Angle did.

And we’re not attending presidential townhalls armed with pistols and assault rifles.

Or calling as Glenn Beck repeatedly has that we need a second American Revolution or his repeated use of violent rhetoric aimed at political figures like the president and Nancy Pelosi.

When the American Left isn’t happy with what happens in our country we try to fix it during the next electoral cycle by voting.

When the Right doesn’t like what happens politically they try to fix it to their satisfaction by calling for violence or “revolution”.

That kind of disgraceful shit is owned solely and exclusively by the right and anything bad that comes from it is theirs to fucking choke on.



There is no doubt that Jared Lee Loughner was crazy. And I’m sure his defense lawyers will pursue that course.

But the reason the conservative right is being attacked today is because Loughner is one of the people that are, essentially, their base. In this day and age of instant messaging, texting and global information at our fingertips (as someone told me, if a guy stubs his toe in India, within 24 hours, the world knows about it), all of us need to be held responsible for what we say, especially if we’re politicians. Finger pointing is not nice, but accountability should be the cornerstone of our beliefs.

The fact is, in the political streams of life, politicians can connect more effectively with their constituents than they could even 20 years ago. This means even the crazy people can get the same information as we do, but because they can be potentially dangerous, they take the words more seriously. Thus, some political opponent can put “cross hairs” (whether imaginary ones, or in Sarah Palin’s way, literally) on their rivals, asking their supporters to help ousts them. They don’t want anyone really to shoot them, it’s a metaphor they argue.

But there are some people, a very small majority, who will take this too literally. After all, they can probably reason, the folks on the radio and TV said these people were dangerous for the USA. That if they were to win, they would destroy the fabric of what made the Founding Fathers fought for.

As politics can be, some win, some lose. And if the one that a certain radio or TV personality said was dangerous does win, what do you do? Most people will wait for the next cycle of elections and try again. But we also know there are certain people who will see this loss as the tipping point. And thus they strike out in a hail of violence that kills people for no reason.

I’m not saying the liberal left has been kind and has not said inflammatory stuff about the conservative right. As I see it, part of the institutional problem, almost at a genetic level, with us Dems in general and Liberals in particular is that we believe in trying to convince people of the righteousness of our arguments and thus get them to change their minds about policy issues.
But people don’t want to have their minds changed — they want to have their beliefs reinforced.

And because this grand America was shaped, formed and created out of violence, the political right continues to use that type of philosophy to divide the American people. So it doesn't really matter if The Tea Party, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity or Bill O’Reilly are actually "racist." Their political philosophy, however, promotes/allows discrimination. And that's what matters.

Going forward, all of us, either on the right or the left, need to understand that our words can cause people like Jared Lee Loughner to do what he did. Using modes of communication, like the outdated TV and movie Western themes, during a political discourse in no longer a viable way to communicate to your constituents.

We need highly intelligent people running this country (because politics, in reality, is one of the only fields where people think they can do a better job themselves despite lack of training, education, and experience). The idea that being a "Washington insider," "Intellectual," or a "bleeding heart" are used as slurs against someone and the fact that voters buy into it shows some lack of forethought on them (cause, really, none of you would hire a plumber or a high school student to give you a heart transplant).

The fact that conservative right wants the unintelligent, easily manipulated “everyday” folk on their bandwagon speaks volumes on how they see America these days. The fact that the rest of the world is preparing their children to compete globally, and we as a nation are sitting with our thumbs up our rear ends, and getting off on the idea that we will always be the greatest nation in the world without having to make any sacrifices, or pay any taxes, or doing anything to actually nurture what has been our very fortunate place in the world.

The jobs our parents and grandparents had don't exist anymore. Well they do, only they're all in China, and Mexico, and India. These were the jobs that the middle class thrived on, now they're creating the middle class in China. And our economy is made up of the service industry, and bankers. It's not sustainable. We need to invest in modern infrastructure (our current one is crumbling), new ways of making energy, education, bringing innovative new industries, and getting our nation healthy. This requires investment. It won't just magically happen.

But according to the conservative right, and some of the dangerous people that listen to them, liberals are out to ruin America. So -again, in not so many words - they are telling their constituents, their fan base and people like Jared Lee Loughner that you have to take action, just like they did in the old west.

Lock and load, children of the corn. A call to arms is needed. One such soul did that on Saturday.