The much anticipated horror film, “Blood Runs Thick,”which stars legendary actor Tom Sizemore,will have it’s world premiere on October 31st, appropriately on Halloween, at the Beverly Hills Fine Arts Theater at 6pm.
Rising to prominence in the 90s, Sizemore has starred in iconic films such as ‘Saving Private Ryan’ ‘Natural Born Killers’ ‘Heat’ ‘Blackhawk Down’ ‘True Romance’ and ‘Point Break’ and many others. This film has a wonderful ensemble cast consisting of Emmy winning soap stars Matthew Ashford and Judi Evans, Emily Killian, Alexander Man, Brooklyn Robinson, Isaac Rhino, Aaron Doh, with special appearances by Lilian Lev, Anjelika Kaufman-Joyce-JP Joyce, ,Ewart Chin, Karra Mane, and Carolyn Dupree.
“Blood Runs Thick” is about Vikki (Killian), a beautiful young woman, who struggles with frightening hallucinations and a crumbling mental state after her husband goes missing.
This compelling film was produced by Lucky strike Films studio LLC. This film was directed by noted filmmaker Romane Simon and written by Simon and Rhonnie Fordham, who has collaborated with Simon before.
“It was great working with Tom Sizemore , he is one of my favorite actors and to be on the same set with him and directing him was truly a great experience,” said Simon.
Romane Antoine Simon, is also the author of best selling novel (Red to Black-The Power of Love). He’s a thriving young filmmaker from Haiti. He was determined to get to the place where he could paint his own screen stories and images he hungered for the world to know about.
Romane finally arrived in Hollywood & quickly made himself known among others who had a similar passion for film which resulted in a new world of cinematic magic. His dream took root & before he knew it, he was yelling ACTION! And his successful film-making journey began.
This was only a few years ago and Romane has continually directed feature films with big stars making the industry feel his artistic power and passion for story-telling on a grand scale.
On Saturday, August 26th, the Los Angeles Nollywood Film Awards (LANFA) will have their film awards ceremony and music festival at 8039 S Vermont Ave in Los Angeles and screen an international slate of films.
Numerous celebrities and VIPs expected at this event such as LANFA founder King Bassey, Honorees Mel Novak (Bruce Lee’s Game of Death, Check Point) and Dawna Lee Heising (Bladerunner, Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance), Special Guest noted radio host and media personality Mother Love, HPC’s own Vida G. (The Mindy Project, Holy Terror) as a presenter and Co-host Ford Austin (Live By Night, Bosch).
Press Check-in is at 4:30pm, with red carpet arrivals at 5-6:30pm, the much anticipated awards presentation at 6:30pm-9:30pm and the afterparty 9:30pmFree parking in the lot and lots of street parking. The attire will range from cocktail attire to black tie.
LANFA was created by King Bassey, who hails from Akwa Ibom, Nigeria. He has an associates degree in Electronic tech and micro computer from National Technical School and a Bachelors degree in Media Production at Intercontinental University Los Angeles. His concentration was in the area of directing, producing, editing, screenwriting and cinematography. After looking at the negative image and portrayal of Africans on Television, King Bassey became one of the first to start Afrikan Network Television on UHF channel in the early 90s, bringing programs from Africa to educate people about Africa, it was even featured in LA Times. After many years the station could not make it because of funding, King Bassey did not give up, he embarked on a song writing career. He has released about three albums, the most recent one, David Dance, and started organization called the Los Angeles Nollywood Film Association (LANFA). Lanfa’s goal is to provide a platform for our creative artists to produce and showcase the unique artistic abilities, increase the level of awareness in the community, promote the brand, strengthen and grow the credibility of the group. To also foster the creation of successful working partnerships, empower networking, raise visibility, and strengthen distribution and marketing channels. Every year, the festival screens Afrikan and other international films in August 24th -26th. He won several awards, best African singer and writer from the City of Los Angeles, Award for best Video Programming, Educational & Documentary, Media award for best photographer. He directed and produced his first films called Johno the Fake Producer, in 2007, his second film Undisciplined, about the way Parents raise their Children, and in 2010, he directed Queen In LA. Movie, About Human Trafficking. His latest film in the making now is called A Woman In A Man’s World, Multicultural Film creating awareness on Global Fight for violence against Women in work, Home and Church. starting campaign call LET’S GET OUR WOMEN BACK.
Noted multi award-winning filmmaker Thomas J. Churchill’s epic horror film, The Emerging Past Director’s Cut was just released on Amazon Prime. This film is in the tradition of Hitchcock and is a new psychological thriller from the producers & Writer/Director of Check Point, The Rack Pack, and Lazarus Apocalypse comes THE EMERGING PAST.
When you can’t see the future you need to live for the past. This film is the ultimate psycho-thriller roller coaster ride of terror. Murder and mayhem surround Queens New York photographer, Pamela Garret (played by Krista Grotte, Check Point, The Rack Pack, Lazarus Apocalypse, Hershel Gordon Lewis’ The Uh-Oh Show) after she is discovered taking a life altering picture of a sacrifice ritual. Her world suddenly becomes a jigsaw puzzle as she quickly needs to solve it and find somewhere safe to hide before her emerging past catches up with her. With no where to go, she turns to her coworker Dylan (played by the late actor Brooke McCarter in his last and final role, The Lost Boys, Trashin, The Uh-Oh Show) for help. As stress levels rise in her search for the truth her coworker spins the game into another level as he reveals just who he really is. As she soon realizes that the past is never where you left it hence the title for the film.
“I’m so excited that the Emerging Past Director’s Cut is on Amazon Prime. The Emerging Past was one of my first films, so it’s as if my career has come full circle with this release of the film,” said Churchill.
This film also stars horror icon Stephen Geoffreys (Check Point, LAZARUS, Fright Night, 976-Evil, Heaven Help Us, At Close Range), Steve Dash (Friday the 13th Part 2, Nighthawks, Alone in the Dark, Mr. Hush), Edward X. Young (Sea of Dust, The Green Monster, Mr. Hush), Tony Moran (John Carpenter’s Halloween, BEG) and Mike Marino (Check Point, Sleepless Nights, Lazarus Apocalypse). The film is skillfully written and directed by Thomas J. Churchill (Check Point, Lazarus Apocalypse, The Rack Pack). This noteworthy film was the winner of 8 Awards including four for Best Picture at various Film Festivals across the world.
This has been a banner year for the prolific Churchill. His film, The Rack Pack, starring C. Thomas Howell is in post production. His much buzzed about film, Check Point, which was distributed by Sony was just released on all platforms. This film has an all-star ensemble cast consisting of WWE Universal Champion Bill Goldberg (The Longest Yard), William Forsythe (The Rock, Raising Arizona), Martial Arts Hall of Famer Mel Novak (Bruce Lee’s Game of Death, An Eye For An Eye opposite Chuck Norris), Kane Hodder (Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th films), Tyler Mane (Michael Myers in Rob Zombie’s Halloween, X-Men), Fred “The Hammer” Williamson (From Dusk Till Dawn, Starsky & Hutch), Former UFC Champion John Lewis (Sons of Anarchy), Krista Grotte (Nation’s Fire, The Rack Pack) and Kenny Johnson (Bates Motel, The Shield). This project is also the last film of Ricky Harris (Heat, Dope) before his tragic and unexpected death. The action packed Syndicate Smasher, which he worked on with Novak and Laurene Landon (Maniac Cop, Sky) and played the role of Andy, just held it’s world premiere to a sold out crowd.
Other projects this multi-talented filmmaker has worked on are the two time award-winning retro-film noir zombie epic-Lazarus: Apocalypse starring James Duval (Independence Day), which won best horror film at The New York City International Film Festival. He also produced and portrayed the sheriff in the indie film Mr. Hush. Churchill was also seen by millions on the SyFy Network’s hit series Monster Man in episode #2 titled The Forbidden Werewolf. This talented multi-hyphenate had a memorable role in the new cult classic Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance with a talented ensemble cast consisting of Bai Ling (The Crow), Tommy Wiseau (The Room), Laurene Landon (Airplane 2: The Sequel), and Dawna Lee Heising (Pond Scum), and was reunited with Novak. Next on deck for Churchill is epic action thriller Nation’s Fire, starring Grotte, which he wrote and will be directing. Also on deck for him is an edgy new anthology TV series, Cold Plastic, which he also wrote and is directing as well. Both projects are being production in conjunction David M. Parks’ Apothecary Entertainment.
The premiere for the much anticipated “Hybristophilia,” written and directed by talented filmmaker Romane Simon premiered in Beverly Hills recently with a star studded cast with the likes of Quinton Aaron, Sadie Katz, Jenna Willis, Massi Furlan, Lilian Lev, Alexis Nichols, Sara Hedgren and Iyad Hajjaj and others.
After he impressed the universe with his performance as football player Michael Oher (“Big Mike”) in the Oscar winning film The Blind Side, Aaron has gone on to have an impressive acting career in the areas of both cinema and television.
Hybristophilia (the word basically describes sexual attraction to people who have committed atrocious acts) is about a camera crew who travel at their own risk to a remote and possibly haunted farmhouse to interview a notorious serial killer.
This film opens on an ambitious news team arrives at a secluded farmhouse for an exclusive interview with an at-large serial killer known as the Sleepy Stalker, a murderer known for attacking “sleepy” small towns. The news crew includes a hotshot young female reporter as well as the team’s guest expert: a psychologist noted for her expertise in psychopaths. They all soon discover that the farmhouse was the site of a grisly murder-suicide thirty years earlier and is now believed to be haunted. What I really enjoyed was that this film had the viewer on the edge of their seat and was so suspenseful.
Director Romane Simon has just wrapped his next film, Blood Runs Thick, which stars iconic actor Tom Sizemore.
Legendary martial arts/action stars came out in droves to support the sold out world premiere of Syndicate Smasher at the Downtown Independent Theater on March 11th! In addition to the cast, celebrities in attendance were Hank Garrett (3 Days of the Condor, G.I. Joe, The Animated Series), Don “The Dragon” Wilson (Blood Fist, The Martial Arts Kid), Robin Shou (Mortal Kombat), Aki Aleong (Missing in Action: Part 3, The Quest) and many others.
“It is definitely a ‘multiple Mob; ie. Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Russian etc. vs Special Forces movie and, if you like lots of action, check it out!,” said Don “The Dragon” Wilson, three time WKA World Kickboxing Champion and holder of 10 world kickboxing titles in 3 different weight classes.
“Syndicate Smasher is one of the best action films I’ve seen in years with a great story and well developed characters the audience can truly care about,” said iconic actor Hank Garrett, Martial Arts, Weightlifting and Wrestling Hall of Famer.
Noted Indonesian filmmaker and producer Benny Tjandra of New GenerAsian Films collaborated on this much anticipated crime thriller that is loosely based on a true story with co-director and writer Doug Tochioka.
Tochioka’s script joins legendary cult star and Martial Arts Hall of Famer Mel Novak (Bruce Lee’s Game Of Death, Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance) with action heroine extraordinaire Laurene Landon (Maniac Cop opposite Bruce Campbell and Sky opposite Norman Reedus), actors Joe Estevez (Dexter) and Arthur Roberts (Not of This Earth, Revenge of the Ninja), David Prak (Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End) as well as multi award-winning actor/filmmaker Thomas J. Churchill (Check Point, The Rack Pack) and more for a story centered on a group of mercenaries, initially hired as contract killers, who find themselves targets of four powerful crime organizations and families. Guns go ablaze in this action packed tour-de-force, which presents an otherwise appealing little jewel for action movie aficionados.
“This film has the most guns, the most shots, and the most gangsters all in one movie fighting and shooting each other ever,” said Tjandra.
Celebrated gangster fight exploitative martial arts figure Mel Novak is the ultimate bad guy and mortal enemy of every gangster mob outfit in the world———-” I kill em all, says Novak chuckling——that is The Chinese Triad, The Mafia, the Italians, The Russians, The Japanese all in one film!!”
Mel Novak , whose career has spanned over 30 years, has been in hundreds of films. ” I have killed and been killed by the likes of legendary martial artist and screen legend; Bruce Lee in his epic, “Game of Death” and Chuck Norris in “An Eye for An Eye” and the late, great Jim Kelley in cult classic “Black Belt Jones.”
Tall, leggy and extremely well-built statuesque blonde, Landon has enlivened a bunch of hugely enjoyable movies with her spunky energy, physical dexterity, bubbly, upbeat personality and considerable sex appeal. She often portrays tough, two-fisted, no-nonsense action heroines with a winning blend of fiery aplomb and cheerful good humor and definitely plays that role to the hilt in this film as the feisty Detective Carol Driscoll.
Churchill gives a great performance in a great character role as the fast talking Andy and Estevez is great as Detective James Beattie. Roberts is wonderful as hard nosed Chief Timothy Darcy. Rounding out the cast is David Prak (Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End) as Dara.
Although this film stars many of the same stars as Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance, such as Novak, Landon, Churchill and others, this is a completely different kind of film.
Based loosely on a true story, and buttressed by unbelievable special effects, if you come up against Novak, Landon, Churchill and Estevez, it is a death wish as you will get smashed–SYNDICATE SMASHED! Don’t miss it! This film is a great choice for action junkies to get their shoot ’em up binge fix.
On Tuesday, March 7th, Check Point will have its’ much anticipated release on all formats.
The online platforms releasing the film are iTunes US, Google Play, Xbox, Amazon Instant, Amazon DVD, Vudu (Walmart online), and Playstation. The cable providers are Comcast, Cos, Time Warner Cable, Brighthouse, Verizon Fios, Frontier, Suddenlink, Charter, Mediacom, CenturyLink, Google Play, Dish, DirecTV, and Blockbuster/Sling TV. The DVD retailers releasing the film are Walmart, Best Buy, Amazon.com, Netflix, Redbox, and Military Base shops.
The film was directed, produced and written by multi award-winning filmmaker Thomas J. Churchill. Check Point stars an ensemble cast consisting of WWE Universal Champion Bill Goldberg (The Longest Yard), William Forsythe (The Rock, Raising Arizona), Martial Arts Hall of Famer Mel Novak (Bruce Lee’s Game of Death, An Eye For An Eye opposite Chuck Norris), Kane Hodder (Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th films), Tyler Mane (Michael Myers in Rob Zombie’s Halloween, X-Men), Fred “The Hammer” Williamson (From Dusk Till Dawn, Starsky & Hutch), Former UFC Champion John Lewis (Sons of Anarchy), Krista Grotte (Nation’s Fire, The Rack Pack, The Emerging Past) and Kenny Johnson (Bates Motel, The Shield). This project is also the last film of Ricky Harris (Heat, Dope) before his tragic and unexpected death.
“I have written many scripts and produced/directed a few films. But nothing compared to where my mind went with Check Point,” said Churchill.
Check Point is a very timely film considering all that is going on in the world today. This film is about a sleeper cell terrorist plot that is discovered in a small town where everyone knows one another, or so they thought they did. As justice seems lost, when an insurgent attack threatens to escalate into a full-blown invasion of the US, a team of unlikely heroes must rise up to fight the enemy and protect their beloved country.
“The idea of Check Point was something that has been with me since 1987. At one time, I wanted to be in the service as my father, uncles, grandfather and even my brother served our country. But I realized that it takes a very special kind of person to wear the uniform and defend their country. At that time in my life, my mind drifted more to the cinema and I wanted to make movies…where people can escape their worries and problems and lose themselves for a bit and get caught up in the world of cinema,” he added.
Other projects this multi-talented filmmaker has worked on are the two time award-winning retro-film noir zombie epic-Lazarus: Apocalypse starring James Duval (Independence Day), which won best horror film at The New York City International Film Festival. He also wrote, produced, directed and starred in the eight-time award-winning horror film The Emerging Past Director’s Cut. He also produced and portrayed the sheriff in the indie film Mr. Hush. Churchill was also seen by millions on the SyFy Network’s hit series Monster Man in episode #2 titled The Forbidden Werewolf. This talented multi-hyphenate had a memorable role in the new cult classic Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance with a talented ensemble cast consisting of Bai Ling (The Crow), Tommy Wiseau (The Room), Laurene Landon (Airplane 2: The Sequel), and Dawna Lee Heising (Pond Scum), and was reunited with Novak. He will also star with Novak and Landon in the upcoming Syndicate Smasher. Next on deck for Churchill is epic action thriller Nation’s Fire, starring Grotte, which he wrote and will be directing. Also on deck for him is an edgy new anthology TV series, Cold Plastic, which he also wrote and is directing as well. Both projects are being production in conjunction David M. Parks’ Apothecary Entertainment.
The west coast premiere of the multi award-winning film, Bastard Son of a Thousand Fathers (BSOTF) was on Sunday, October 2nd at The Downtown Independent Theater in downtown Los Angeles with a jam packed red carpet. There was also a nice Q and A session after the film with the cast and crew in attendance. This edgy, urban thriller is nominated in 5 major categories, including Best Movie by the Motion Picture Association of Haiti (MPAH).
BSOTF was produced by Chicago’s top independent film company 4 Features Film. 4 Features Film is a full service production company that is known for their high quality independent films and also their television commercials which has won them multiple Telly Awards.
“We really appreciated all the love and support we received from our west coast friends and fans. It’s a great to see the buzz BSOTF is getting on a national level as we screen the film across the country, ” said Romeo.
Their latest project Bastard Son of a Thousand Fathers has already created a big buzz with their loyal followers and mainstream media. The film is written and directed by Lanre Sarumi (Critical Nexxus, Banana Leaves) and the main characters and executive producers are world renowned movie makers Remoh Romeo (Hogtown, Lakay) and Tirf Alexius (Lakay, Chicago P.D.).
The seventy-eight minute crime thriller tells the story of a ruthless immigrant’s persistent quest for power and fame which leads to the development of a new addictive drug that allows the user to reach an ultimate high while still remaining a productive member of society. Just as he’s starting to cash in on his invention, a blackmailing kingpin threatens to take it all away. This fast-paced action packed thriller is filled with cliffhangers and laced with twists, turns, and the bodies of everyone who gets in his way.
The movie is the brainchild of Chicago filmmakers Remoh Romeo and Tirf Alexius who worked on the script for several months before beginning production. “It tells the real life decisions some people are faced with when they have limited options,” says Romeo. “We wanted to give an accurate portrayal of how life can be for immigrants in some of America’s toughest neighborhoods,” adds Alexius.
As for their much anticipated west cost premiere, “It was fantastic to be surrounded by a team of people who believe and support your creative endeavors,” said Alexius.
For every ticket sold, $1 will be donated to i2BELIEVE, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit providing educational opportunities to children and adolescents in Haiti, which happens to be very timely considering Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti.
The filmmakers will also gracious donate $1 for every digital purchase of the film.
Bastard Son of a Thousand Fathers had a nationwide theatrical trailer that was released in select movie theaters in Chicago on September 16th and New York City on September 23rd. After the theatrical release, the film will be released around the world on every major on-demand format. For more on Bastard Son of a Thousand Fathers visit www.BastardSonMovie.com
The fourth annual Los Angeles Nollywood Film Association (LANFA)’s Nollywood Awards took place on Saturday August 6th at the James Bridges Theater at UCLA. This event recognized renowned international talents in the film, music and media industries within the African communities globally. LANFA has experienced tremendous growth since it’s inception and wanted to appreciate all those who have stayed the cause and also given back to their communities. King Bassey is the founder of the Nollywood awards and LANFA. Mark Sevier was the LA Coordinator of LANFA and Amelia Johnson was the head of marketing. Additionally Mark won a best actor award for the film “The Chosen One.”
HPC’s own Vida G. , who is also an award-winning actress and fashion and beauty blogger, was presented with a prestigious Excellence in Media Award at this prestigious event. Celebrated actor Ford Austin presented Vida’s award to her. Ford is Vida’s co-host on their popular Facebook live show, “Live with Ford and Vida.” “Live with Ford and Vida” was also an official sponsor of this auspicious event. Entrepreneur Laverne Tillis also presented this award to Vida.
Also in attendance was filmmaker and awardee Romane Simon, who is also a prolific author. Simon has an interesting background. Originating from Haiti, his grandfather was Antoine Simon, the president of Haiti.
Motown Maurice is a jovial and personable guy who is hitting the Tinsel town scene in full force and will go far in Hollywood! Born in Brooklyn to West Indian parents, and raised in Tampa, Motown earned his degree in Broadcast Journalism from Florida A&M University (FAMU). Initially, he planned to become a reporter, but after one newsroom internship, he decided to shift gears. Following his strong entrepreneurial spirit, Motown founded his own video and photography company, which was a very successful venture.
In 2007, Motown created an interactive town-hall series that provided a consistent platform to address community issues and concerns. Each discussion focused on a specific topic and featured a panel of experts including authors, attorneys, motivational speakers, historians, politicians and more. The forum had a huge social and economic impact on thousands of lives in the Tampa Bay area. “I know how to bring people together and I have been doing that for a very, very long time,” said Motown. Like the captain of a ship, he even created jobs with (paid) stipends and fosters a strong sense of community. “Community does motivate me. It’s in my roots, being a part of the community. All of my efforts in the community in Tampa, Florida and at Florida A & M University set the foundation for all the community outreach I do now,” he added.
After two and a half years of inspiring others as a community organizer, Motown began to realize his own comedic strengths. By combining his sense of humor, charisma and leadership, he discovered his calling in the late-night arena.
By leveraging his well-established business relationships, Motown Maurice set forth with a vision, and a mission, to make Tampa the next destination for late night television. In order to complete this epic undertaking, he mobilized over fifty volunteers, maxed out four credit cards, and recruited a major sponsor. Motown then reserved multiple paid-programming slots on Friday nights to make this grassroots movement a reality. The coverage area encompassed Tampa and nine surrounding counties. On January 23, 2010, “The Motown Maurice Show” premiered in front of a live studio audience. The immediate success of the show earned him a Key to the City presented by Mayor Pam Iorio on the fourth episode.
After successfully completing a full season of the late night show, Motown realized Florida was not fertile enough for this massive undertaking. Giving up on late-night was not an option, and as a result, Motown headed west to begin an epic journey.
“I am the future of late night television and it’s only a matter of time before I claim my throne. I know where I’m going to end up and I’m also fulfilling that goal right now with the independent projects that I produce. Being a late night talk show has little to do with talking, but moreover creating a platform for people to showcase their talents and their projects. I am on a smaller scale, doing everything that a late night talk show should be doing and I enjoy sharing my platform and helping others get exposure,” said Motown.
In 2010, Motown officially relocated to Los Angeles and immediately signed with First Class Talent Agency. A few years later, he signed with McGuffin Talent Management. Trained at the well-respected Uprights Citizens Brigade, Motown was twice awarded with their highly selective diversity scholarship. He is also the founder and director of “The Quarterly Wrap Festival.” It was established in 2013 with a focus on film screenings. In 2015, the festival presented a monologue competition for up-and-coming actors with featured industry judges. This year its doors are open to a variety of acts in a series of talent showcases.
One of Motown’s most prized creations is his web series entitled “The Late Night Experiment.” It’s a semi autobiographical dramedy that follows the plight of a relentless adventurer willing to sacrifice everything in order to achieve his destiny. There are total of 6 seasons and 36 episodes. Among the satire in the new media series, there is documentary footage that discloses many personal struggles such as homelessness, rejection and a meal plan restricted to sardines and crackers.
Coast to coast, Motown continues to create and develop new material. His ideas are intelligent, humorous, quick-witted, edgy, and unpredictable. Motown Maurice embodies a strong dedication to his craft. Much of his achievements have received positive acclaim in several newspapers and magazines. His works and actions speak volumes, which has made him a respected figure with his fan base. Since there is no manuscript for becoming a successful late night talk show host, Motown Maurice continues to relentlessly trail-blaze the path towards national syndication.
The Hollywood Press Corps recently got a chance to interview music video director and comic book creator Jason Alacrity. Jason is an artist who is known in the music world for his directing. As a hobby, Jason has a project called the ALACRITY which recently toured in Japan. As an artist, he is well versed in directing, producing and editing music videos for bands such as Skinny Puppy ( “illiSit” ) and COMBICHRIST ( “Maggots At The Party” and “My Life, My Rules” ). Jason Alacrity got the attention of Nivek Ogre from Skinny Puppy when Jason produced and directed the short film, “ASTRID”.
Hollywood Press Corps (HPC): What inspired you to become a director?
Jason Alacrity (JA): I originally wanted to be a special fx make up guy. When I was a kid I bought legendary make-up artist Tom Savini’s “Grand Illusions” book and studied it cover to cover. I’d spend days working on things in my basement and then test the makeups and kill gags on my little brother, while filming them on our crappy VHS camcorder. To justify the kill gags and monsters I’d make up little stories, and then as time went on I became more interested in the storytelling than doing the make up.
HPC: Who are some of your key influences with how the videos look?
JA: Depends on the project, but a few consistent influences are “Suspiria”, Richard Stanley’s “Hardware” and Jodorowsky’s “Holy Mountain.” Some of that is visible in ASTRID, especially with the shot choices and art design. This new “COMBICHRIST” video is in black and white, so with that I was going for more of a Universal Horror meets silent film look like HAXAN: Witchcraft through the ages.
HPC: What is your favorite Industrial band?
JA: My favorite band of all time is Skinny Puppy, which is why it was such a mind blowing experience to work with them and be a part of their legacy, all be it by proxy.
HPC: Are you happy?
JA: Most of the time I am. Although I don’t know how much happiness matters in the grand scheme of things. Seems that we put far too much emphasis on “happiness” when it’s so fleeting. I think being “satisfied” is far more important. To that point I’m satisfied in what I’m doing with my life and work right now.
HPC:Is there room in dark underground music for happiness?
JA: God yes. Or at least I’d prefer to think of it as “humor”. Humor is probably the most important element of life and art. Without it things tend to be too “one note”. Its great for movement and texture. Ironic how serious I just sounded talking about humor…the irony!
HPC: Your short film, “ASTRID”, seems to be an important point in your career. How did you decide to make this short film?
JA: I was moving out of an amazing building in downtown LA and was itching to shoot something there before I left. DTLA has a massive homeless population of forgotten people, half of which are suffering from untreated mental illness. So I came up with the idea of telling a story that was a “day in the life” of a girl with a deadly power. A girl that is growing insane under the weight of her power. And I really wanted to melt a face off.
HPC: Your comic version of “ASTRID” is called, “VESNA”. Can you talk about how you and artist Megan Hutchison decided to make this comic?
JA: I had to change the name to “VESNA” unfortunately because of all the luck another book this year is beating us to the punch with the name. I wrote a feature script for “ASTRID” and it became too expensive to finance. Over a few million dollars, and that’s a bridge too far in terms of independent financing. For me anyway. Megan is a friend of mine that I met on set many moons ago while she was doing art direction for commercials and features. She had just released her book “Will O’ the Wisp” and I was blown away. I had always known she was an amazing art director but I had no idea she was such a talented comic illustrator. Then it hit me, we could make a book, a storyboard essentially and use that to raise money for a feature or TV series. So I showed her the short, pitched her the feature idea and she was in.
HPC: Is “VESNA” a comic or a graphic novel?
JA: Ooo good question. I believe its a graphic novel that thinks it’s a comic book.
HPC: When is “VESNA” expected to come out?
JA: Hopefully by September of this year.
HPC: What is your process like when you’re making a music video for a band like COMBICHRIST?
JA: Every band is different, but with COMBICHRIST, it all begins with an idea from Andy (LaPlegua). For this video he gave me a call and said his idea for the video was simply “I think it should open on a shot of a pile of bloody bodies. Then I crawl out from beneath, covered in blood. I find clothes somewhere, put them on and the blood seeps through the shirt. Then we go and do a performance somewhere. Oh and it should be in black and white.”
He then sends me the song, and I take those ideas and string together a narrative. Try to make a cohesive structure out of it. For this one I had to figure out how we end up with a pile of bodies? So I thought how about a ritual murder. OK cool, what kind? Well we are shooting in Georgia…and then the idea of the snake handlers and faith healers came to me. I then write a script and go back to Andy and he approves it. We work well together, usually on the same page pretty early on.
HPC: Can you tell us about shooting the “My Life, My Rules” video?
JA: Haha oh should I really answer that? Just kidding, It’s everything you’d think from a COMBICHRIST video. Strippers, drugs, booze, porn stars and dangerous snakes. What people might be surprised about though is how great everyone is. This is my second music video with these guys and everyone is super cool. All the locations we shoot at (this video and the Maggots) are donated for free, and most of the crew and all the talent are friends pitching in. Andy has a great community of friends in Georgia that are always game to pitch in for a video. It’s always a lot fun.
HPC: What is one thing that would surprise our readers to know about you?
JA: I grew up in a tiny farm town in the middle of Iowa. It had one stoplight, and was small you could walk from end to end in 15 minutes.