Interview With Johnny Greenlaw

We got a chance to speak to Johnny Greenlaw the writer, director, producer and star of the hugely entertaining award winning comedy drama Mommy’s Box. We would like to thank Johnny for taking time to answer these questions.

 Johnny Greenlaw Picture

Q. Mommy’s Box gets released on September 30th, in theatres and digital how excited are you to see your film get a released?

We are thrilled. It’s been a long, hard fought road to get to this point. Both our cast and crew gave everything to this project, so I could not be happier to share this we them all.mommy

Q. Being involved in every aspect of a film how did you find handling each part of the film?

I felt  as an actor I was ready for this. I had just done four plays the year before and felt really strong from an acting stand point. And having written the script as well I felt very close to the character and material. Producing was the biggest task because every decision revolved around me, on set at times it took me away from my creative duties. Directing was incredible and I was lucky enough to have an amazing cast and crew, along with a super talented director of photography, John Rosario by my side. The next film I direct, I hope to do a little less producing.

Q. Were there any films that inspired decision making for the story?

No, not really. I was just trying to stay as true as we could to the original material that was written.

Q. Working with fellow up and coming stars like Bill Sorvino and Carly Brooke compared with more experienced names like Joseph D’Onofrio and David Harris did you get to learn as an actor by working with a mix of experience?

It was an amazing experience working with all the actors. The veterans can always teach you a new trick or two while the up and comers keep you on your toes. The work we all did in rehearsal was an amazing bonding and learning experience for us all.

Q. How many of the characteristics of yourself are in the Nick character?

As an actor there will always be some of my characteristics in any character I play. From a writing standpoint there were a few but Nick is a much bigger jerk than I am. Which makes for a fun character to play.

Q. Your next project sees you re-teaming with Bill Sorvino, are you looking forward to getting to work on your next film?

Yes, we are. It’s titled “The Empty Handed Painter” written by Laura Fay Lewis. A true story about an amazing man and artist. Love telling True Stories.

Q. Would you have any advice for any aspiring film makers out there?

You have to love this. If you do not love it you will not last. Perseverance is the key. Draw up a plan and work your butt off.

Q. Which Films, Actors and Directors helped inspire you into the film industry?

I’m a big fan of Martin Scorsese. I recently watched Raging Bull, that is a masterpiece. I came across Goodfellas the other day, another masterpiece. The guy is incredible. There are not many filmmakers out there that are even close. I am inspired by Mr Scorsese and his filmmaking and hope that some day I can make films that are as powerful as his.

Q. Would you prefer to continue making smaller projects or move onto big Blockbuster projects?

Why not both? I would like to continue making films my way and would also love to direct a big budget Hollywood film. I know I am ready for it.

Q. If you were given creative freedom on any film franchise, which one would you like to sink your teeth into?

I am a huge fan of the Rocky films. So inspiring, so powerful, so emotional and fun too. Ryan Coogler has done a nice job with Creed, I’d love to take a shot at the next one. Hey Sly give me call!

Q. Are there any actors you haven’t worked with that you would like to one day direct in a film?

I’d love to work with Adrien Brody, Aaron Paul and Jessica Chastain to name a few.

Darren
Talking Stars Podcast

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Interview with Joe Begos on The Mind’s Eye

Ahead of the UK Premiere of THE MIND’S EYE at the Glasgow Film Festival, FrightFest probes the mind of director Joe Begos.

Joe Begos on set of THE MIND’S EYE

 

Q: Have you got your love of 80s movies out of your system now?

I’m not sure! A lot of it comes through as organic as that’s what my brain sponged in at the most impressionable movie-going age possible. I definitely would love to make some more contemporary movies in the future but I feel like no matter the time period, the aesthetic of the 80’s (all practical, fun, sensationalized filmmaking) will bleed through.

Q: Brian De Palma or David Cronenberg? Which director had the most inspirational impact on THE MIND’S EYE?

I think they both seeped through, as I love the stories and imagery that Cronenberg has come up with, though the highly technical and orchestrated filmmaking process of Brian De Palma was equally important.

Q: Actor Graham Skipper stars again like he did in ALMOST HUMAN, and you wrote the part of Zack Connors for him, Why do you like him so much, what does he bring to your table?

Graham has so many qualities that I like as an actor, it’s hard to single out specific ones. For this film in particular, I feel his blue collar, regular look really helped attribute to the “off-the-grid drifter” feel, and his giant bulging eyes were integral to the telekinetic scenes. No matter what you put on the page, Graham is willing to transform himself into it and give you whatever you need to make what’s in your head a reality.

Q: John Speredakos brings new meaning to the words over-the-top as Dr Slovak, his idea or yours?

I think it was a combination of us both finding the rhythm and tone. It’s a delicate balance in something like this, but between his performance and the editing, i feel like we were able to strike it just right.

Q: It’s quite a romantic movie too? Are you going soft on us?

Never!

Q: Great to see Larry Fessenden play Zack’s father, do you see him as a creative mentor? 

It was a dream come true to have Larry in the film. His whole attitude towards filmmaking and the art form in general, even after all of his success really is something to behold. To see him having fun on set and be proud of his work in the film was unbelievable.

Q: Steve Moore’s soundtrack is absolutely brilliant, and complements the movie so much.   Where did you find him?

Steve is amazing. Steve is a member of the fantastic synth horror band ZOMBI, and I became a fan of his work through that. I reached out to him, and in some weird twist of fate he had just watched ALMOST HUMAN. It really did work out perfect, as I can’t think of somebody better who could have complemented the movie as well.

Q: You had a cameo in ALMOST HUMAN, why not here?

I actually do! I’m on the other side of the pay phone during the phone call. I just haven’t credited myself on IMDB yet.

Q: What did you learn shooting ALMOST HUMAN that you applied here?

Never shoot a movie in 18 days.

Q: What was the best thing that happened while you were filming?

The fact that it was the worst winter in decades. It was a nightmare to shoot, but that snow looks INCREDIBLE, and we certainly never planned for it.

 

THE MIND’S EYE screens as part of FrightFest Glasgow 2016 on Fri 26th Feb at the GFT Screen 1, 9.00pm. Joe Begos will be in attendance.

To book tickets: http://tickets.glasgowfilm.org/en-GB/categories/frightfest

Oscar Debate

Time to chip in on the Oscar diversity debate.

Having seen all of the films that have been up for Oscar contention there have only been 3 with black actors in, Concussion which is a good performance from Will Smith but the overall film comes off very average, Michael B Jordan is great as Creed and it could be debate that he could have had a nomination over Bryan Cranston but how can the Academy not nominate a guy for playing a character they blacklisted for his beliefs. The final movie that should have been looked at is Beasts of No Nation which is an incredible film but due to it being a Netflix film it has been over looked or not considered for judgement.

When you look at the best picture nominations you need to look at the studios that have gone heavy on the true stories involving white characters, The Revenant, The Big Short, Spotlight, Bridge of Spies, The Danish Girl, Steve Jobs and Joy. You also look at the fact Mad Max was an established character. this leaves on Room which they picked who they thought was the BEST ACTRESS for the role, The Martian a character written as a white character, and Brooklyn which is about an Irish girl meeting an Italian in America.

The question remains do the academy just nominate a minority to keep everyone happy even if the performances are not good enough?

We look back on the years and see in 2015 and see a Mexican director won Best Picture (Birdman) in a year where yet again the studios made true white people stories the big films, American Sniper, The Imitation Game (which in its own right is telling a very important story of one man’s troubles against the world because of his sexuality) The Theory of Everything, Foxcatcher and Selma which was a brilliant performance that DID get ignored.

2014 12 Years a Slave won Best Picture and Chiwetel Ejiofor only missed out to a brilliant Matthew McConaughey and Barkhad Adbi for Captain Philips also only missed to Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club. Lupita Nyong’o DID win Best Supporting Actress for 12 Years a Slave and a Mexican Won Best Director.

The next question is how do we solve this diversity problem Hollywood seems to be going through.

Option one – we have a larger number of films for best picture nowadays between 8-10 each year, why not have 8 for each category this gives a larger number of actors/actress to get their work noticed, the problem with this is that some of the selection will only be placed in this category to fill the numbers.

Option two – Open up the Oscars to different genres so the more commercial films do get the praise the audience they receive being considered Best at something. The problem with this is the acting isn’t always brilliant in these films and it will turn more into the MTV Awards.

Option three – Accept that the BEST performances have been chosen over any race, religious belief or prejudice. This is the controversial pick but what if the best performance has been picked and selecting anybody because they are different is disrespectful to them and the person that misses out.

 

My final closing points would be that no Asian actor has been nominated for much longer period of time, or any Asian film except for Studio Ghibli.

 

Is there a racial problem in Hollywood? Yes but it is the studios that start this problem, we also need to look at human history as see how badly Black people were treated in the past, We see Hollywood make real life stories but because of history we don’t have enough stories about the Black persons struggle that are recorded while the White man flourished with the stories of accomplishment that were recorded. I am not saying anybody’s stories are more important but this is going to take time to change but in a world where people still look at each differently instead of one species we need to treat each person as the individual they are not the colour of their skin, sexual preference or religious belief.

Star Leaf Information

Sci-Fi Marijuana Thriller “Star Leaf” Lands in Seattle June 6th

The Northwest Leaf Sponsors World Premiere of Pot Movie with a Message

May 18, 2015, Seattle, WA — Titan Sky Entertainment’s Star Leaf will screen for the first time in front of an audience on Saturday, June 6, at Evergreen Bud and Glass, 1956 1st Ave S, Seattle, WA  98134. The event is free, but is restricted to audiences 21 and over, and reservations are recommended (https://www.facebook.com/events/1440092846291629/).

The “green” carpet begins at 7:00, with stars Tyler Trerise (Fat Kid Rules the World), and Richard Cranor (GodMachine) on hand, along with local cast and crew; sponsor Wes Abney of The Northwest Leaf magazine; representatives from Bainbridge Island-based Ohana Farms; and Leomark Studios, the film’s distributor. The movie will screen at 8:00.

           ogo Star Leaf is a sci-fi thriller about an extra-terrestrial form of marijuana discovered in the Olympic forests of Washington State. The main character, played by Z-Nation’s Julian Gavilanes, is a veteran of the Afghanistan war, and the film has PTSD and its treatment with cannabis as an underlying theme. Shot entirely on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, the movie features actual “Star Leaf” marijuana plants developed by Ohana Farms to help in PTSD treatment. The movie and strain have received the support of Analytical 360, Washington’s first I-502-certified testing lab.RICHARDCRANOR

Writer/Director Richard Cranor was inspired to make the film by his Iraq-veteran brother’s experiences with PTSD, as well as Cranor’s own recent bout with cancer. “What I learned going through cancer and my brother’s PTSD experiences is that we definitely need cannabis as an option for treatments. I strongly oppose anyone or any institution that limits people’s right to treat themselves, especially when you’re dealing with issues like cancer and PTSD. That’s really key in my personal belief system,” says Cranor. “For PTSD, cannabis allows people to bypass the conscious mind and get to the root of a lot of those painful memories faster than traditional therapy…. For me it’s not necessarily about the plant specifically, so much as the right for humans to be in charge of their own sovereignty; and plants like marijuana shouldn’t be vilified for doing nothing more than being a natural, healthy addition to our lives.”

Despite its sober message, “Star Leaf is first and foremost a wild, entertaining ride,” says executive producer Robert Leeshock (Earth: Final Conflict). Leeshock and Cranor are working with co-producer/distributor Leomark Studios on a novel distribution strategy: exclusive pre-release in MMJ and RMJ dispensaries and through the film’s own website for 3 months, followed by a wider release in fall 2015 on VOD/DVD.

For information on future screenings and where to get the Star Leaf DVD, visit http://www.starleafmovie.com/Topics/online-store/.

For distribution information, including becoming a DVD reseller, contact Leomark Studios at info@leomarkstudios.com.

Ohana Farms: http://www.ohanaedu.org

Star Leaf Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/starleafmovie

Star Leaf Twitter: https://twitter.com/StarLeafMovie #StarLeafMovie

Titan Sky Entertainment: http://www.titanskyentertainment.com

Leomark Studios: http://leomarkstudios.com

Northwest Leaf Magazine: http://www.thenorthwestleaf.com

Evergreen Bud & Glass: http://www.evergreenbudandglass.com