Tag Archive | "documentaries"

Melvins Documentary “The Colossus of Destiny – A Melvins Tale” Launches Kickstarter Campaign

Melvins Documentary “The Colossus of Destiny – A Melvins Tale” Launches Kickstarter Campaign

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The filmmakers of the forthcoming Melvins’ documentary, “The Colossus of Destiny – A Melvins Tale,” have launched a Kickstarter campaign featuring artwork donated by Haze XXL, Brian Walsby, Arik Roper, Skinner and Mackie Osborne. Check out the campaign at this location >
The film, which is currently under production with an anticipated early 2016 release, is the creation of Bob Hannam and Ryan Sutherby.  The pair, who met through a mutual affection for the Melvins, began work on the officially authorized documentary in late 2014.
“We kept asking ourselves why no one had ever made a film about the Melvins,” explained Hannam.  “What an incredible story and twisted tale both Buzz Osborne and Dale Crover have taken.  There aren’t many bands who can say they’ve influenced some of the most popular artists of our generation and done it in every instance according to their own rules, still as important, if not more so, some 32 years after forming.”
“The Colossus of Destiny – A Melvins Tale” follows the band’s journey, from the backwards waters of the Chehalis River in Washington, through the Golden Gate of Northern California and finally, into Los Angeles where Osborne and Crover both reside.  The film features lengthy interviews with Osborne and Crover as well as
present and ex band members, collaborators and many other musicians from bands
such as Mudhoney, The Jesus Lizard, Soundgarden, Butthole Surfers, Sleep, Babes
In Toyland, Neurosis and Redd Kross to name but a few.

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TO BE TAKEI: Jennifer Kroot On Capturing The World of George Takei On Film!

TO BE TAKEI: Jennifer Kroot On Capturing The World of George Takei On Film!

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‘To Be Takei’ is an entertaining and moving look at the many roles played by eclectic 77-year-old actor/activist George Takei whose wit, humor and grace has allowed him to become an internationally beloved figure who may be more relevant today than ever. The film balances unprecedented access to the day-to-day life of George and his husband/business partner Brad Takei, starting with George’s fascinating personal journey from his childhood in a U.S. internment camp for Japanese Americans during WWII, through his iconic and groundbreaking role as Sulu on “Star Trek,”® to his rise as an internet phenomenon with over 7-million Facebook fans. The documentary, featuring all surviving Star Trek® cast members on screen for the first time since their hit films, is an entertaining look at the life and work of the multi-faceted George Takei. In the film, director Jennifer M. Kroot (“It Came From Kuchar”) brings the viewer behind the scenes, and provides a revealing, rarely seen look into Takei’s world and showing what it truly means ‘To Be Takei.’ Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Jennifer Kroot to discuss her career, the process of capturing George Takei’s amazing life story on film and much more! 

I want to give our readers and the viewers of this amazing film a little bit of background on you as a director. What intrigued you early on about filmmaking and made you pursue your passion as a career?

Jennifer Kroot

Jennifer Kroot

I was in my teens in the 80s and there were a lot of independent films at that the time, like early David Lynch and the films that Alex Cox directed like ‘Repo Man’ and ‘Sid and Nancy.’ I loved those films. Then I got into what would be considered cult films, smaller weirder films that were on the edge of that, for example, experimental films. I ended up going to school at the San Francisco Art Institute and getting into George Kuchar. It certainly never crossed my mind to want to make a documentary until I met George Kuchar because he was such an incredible personality. [laughs] I would try to describe how funny and interesting he was but I could never do it by imitating him, so I thought “What better way to do it than a documentary?” I didn’t make the documentary about him until I had already know him for about fifteen years. [laughs] Before that I was making very narrative films or films that were more experimental. At some point, you just have to stick with it and it can take a long time to really get anywhere with your filmmaking. I don’t know if I would feel the same way if I were growing up now because it seems that everything tries to be so big. There is so much big moviemaking and even small films seem like they are all trying to be discovered. There is all of this reality stuff and everyone has their iPhones and they are making movies. I am just sort of inundated with too much media, so I don’t know if I would find it as appealing now. Anyway, starting back then, those are the types of films I really liked. I always say, “Don’t bother making a film unless you are really obsessed because it is too much otherwise.” You almost have to be at the point where you say, “My life will be ruined if I don’t make this film.” Otherwise, don’t do it, unless you are making a big film or have a big project. That is sort of a different thing but these smaller films are really hard. Bigger films are hard to make as well, it is just different.

Your latest film is ‘To Be Takei.’ How did you come across the story of George Takei and what made you realize it was a tale you wanted to tell in documentary form?

'To Be Takei' - A Must See Documentary

‘To Be Takei’ – A Must See Documentary

I am a lifelong ‘Star Trek’ fan. I loved the show in reruns when I was a kid. I went to a couple of ‘Star Trek’ Conventions! [laughs] I continued to love it as an adult. I wasn’t obsessed with it but I would watch it if it was on. I didn’t really follow the actors who played the characters or anything. I loved the original movies too or at least enjoyed them! [laughs] I guess I started noticing George, like a lot of people, in 2005 when he publicly came out at 68 years old. It never really occurred to me what his sexual orientation, or anyone on ‘Star Trek’ for that matter, might be. I just thought it was really interesting. He seemed like such a charming voice. He laughed at himself and was very open and honest about his experience. Every time I would hear him on the radio or on the news talking about LGBT civil rights, I would stop what I was doing and what to watch because he seemed so charming. I decided to read his autobiography from the 1990s, which came out before he was openly gay, but detailed his experience of being imprisoned in Japanese internment camps as a child. Although I knew that history was true and made perfect sense with his age, I was shocked that Mr. Sulu would have been imprisoned by the United States government at age five! [laughs] It just seemed kind of unbelievable and then that boy would go on to become the first friendly face in Hollywood on television and one of the icons from what is arguably one of the biggest pop cultural phenomena in the world. I wanted to connect the dots really badly because that seemed like quite a range. I ended up writing to his agent and his agent had liked my previous film, ‘It Came from Kuchar,’ which was great. From there, he introduced me to George and Brad. You know, you never just meet George, you meet George and Brad. [laughs] Maybe other people knew that but I did not know what to expect. That made it a little more intimidating because Brad wants to know all of the details; which is smart because there are a lot of details in filmmaking! We just had a series of discussions over the course of several months and finally started shooting.

How did your original vision for the film differ from what we see as the final product? Were there any surprises for you there?

George and Brad Takei

George and Brad Takei

I think the biggest surprise was Brad, the relationship between the two men and being able to include their present day relationship as sort of a romantic comedy thread through the film. I didn’t know who Brad was beforehand because he wasn’t in the media that much. I felt that they really opened up to me about who they were as a couple because they wanted that to be seen in the documentary. They wanted to show the normalcy, which is a term they always use, of their relationship. A lot of people really resonate with that. I think anyone who has been in a long-term relationship really can find something to relate to in their dynamics. That became a really key part of the film. You have to really be open to surprises when you are filming. All of the scenes I was planning from way back before I met George are definitely in the film but how you find those scenes in the footage can be a mystery, You have to go with where your subject leads you. You have to be open to that, which is sometimes hard because you are interesting what you want it to be and how you want it to be. It was great to get to know Brad that way. When I first saw him on camera I was a bit nervous and thought, “Oh God, he is really trying to control this. He is telling me to cut.” [laughs] it just became something that he sometimes did and it had to do with his comfort level. It was very real to how he was feeling about it.

As a filmmaker, was there anything you wanted to accomplish stylistically or in some other matter that might differ from your earlier work?

I think this film is fairly similar, in some ways, to my early works style-wise. There is a lot more present day footage in ‘To Be Takei” than in ‘It Came From Kuchar.’ I think both films play with time and I think I do it a little more in ‘To Be Takei.’ It isn’t structured exactly lineally. There is some linear time in it but it is like we are starting with present day and then reflecting back to different points in George’s life that may be discussed in linear order but sometimes not. It is more like you are in the present reflecting on different memories that haunt, inspire or motivate you in some way. You learn about George through these flashbacks and it is a little more stream of conscience. I often appreciate directors who do interesting things with time. Richard Linklater (Boyhood) is a great example. He always seems to do interesting things with time. You can’t tell if you are in real time or what pace you are in. I think film is the only medium to really explore time in, so why not do something interesting if it makes sense to your project. Sometimes I think portraits that are just linear can be a little dry. Not always but sometimes, it just depends. Playing with time can give you freedom to explore.

George Takei

George Takei

You have been very fortunate to have subjects who are very interesting people. What is the biggest life lesson you took away from this experience?

I have always thought of myself as being somewhat of a negative person or a moderately negative person. Having spent so much time with George Takei, who is such a positive person, I think it either rubbed off on me a little or I realized that I had some of that in me! [laughs] Independent filmmaking is pretty tedious. It can be hard, frustrating and depressing. It usually takes several years and fundraising is hard and can be sometimes disappointing. It is just hard to get it together to do that and keep hope that it is going to work out. I kind of realized, “Oh my God! I must be at least a bit hopeful because I can always see where I am going with projects like this.” I think being around someone who is relentlessly positive and feeling hopeful after all that George has been through, which is a lot than anything I have been through, helped me put things in perspective. I really think his positivity rubbed off and keeps things reasonably in perspective.

What can we expect from you next when it comes to filmmaking?

I have a couple of projects I am considering but I am not quite ready to commit to them yet. These two documentaries have been very back-to-back, about the two different Georges! [laughs] I am kind of looking forward to taking a couple months to think about what it is I want to do before I jump back into something.

Totally understandable! What you have done is terrific, so we are anxiously awaiting whatever you have in store for us in the future! Thank you so much for your time today!

Thank you very much, Jason! It’s been so nice to talk to you. Take care.

‘To Be Takei’ is being released in select cities, VOD platforms and iTunes on August 22nd. To learn more about the film, visit the official website at www.tobetakei.com.

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The Late Karen Black Speaks on the Unknown In ‘The Being Experience’ Clip

The Late Karen Black Speaks on the Unknown In ‘The Being Experience’ Clip

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In honor of the late actress Karen Black, check out an exclusive video of the Academy Award-nominated actress talking about the unknown in one of her final interviews with filmmaker Jennifer Elster. Check it out below.

Jennifer Elster is the director of Karen Black’s upcoming feature film A WALK IN THE WOODS WITH KAREN BLACK from the film series collectively entitled THE BEING EXPERIENCE, and was a close friend of Black.

“Karen was one of the most unique people I have ever met.  She was raw and alive and open and adventurous and unafraid to reveal.  She was compassionate and loving and so genuinely generous that it’d take you aback until you realized it was true.  She experienced joy.  She got life.  She got love.  She was curious.”

On September 25th, check out the entire behind-the-scenes interview “It’s Okay To Be Afraid” on TheBeingExperience.com/channel

THE BEING EXPERIENCE is a multi-part film series that is a mystery to everyone, even its subjects. The film series embarks on a strange excursion through the woods and into the labyrinthine minds of the filmmaker and her subjects, where pathways always recede and nobody knows what’s going on. The Being Experience errs on the side of risk: delving into what is often unspoken and existing outside of the bounds of how we are expected to behave –a daring excursion that unabashedly dives into darkness along the way.

On the 25th of each month a new “ installment” (excerpt/fragment) is released at TheBeingExperience.com/channel. Penetrating depth, these social discourses drip out and into the world to find their place and . This is is an ongoing film series, to be released on a variety of platforms which will include a series of feature films. One of the first of which is Karen’s final feature film A WALK IN THE WOODS WITH KAREN BLACK.

THE BEING EXPERIENCE also features Terrence Howard, Famke Janssen, Dave Matthews,Temple Grandin, Moby, Alan Cumming, Rufus Wainwright, Will Shortz, Paz de la Huerta, Questlove, Debra Winger, Jorgen Leth, Jennifer Elster, Rosie Perez and Original vocalizations by Yoko Ono.

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MONSTERS WANTED: Director Brian Cunningham Discusses His Latest Film!

MONSTERS WANTED: Director Brian Cunningham Discusses His Latest Film!

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There are two things in life everyone should love — a good story and a good scare! “Monsters Wanted” is a documentary combing both of those elements! The story begins with Rich Teachout , who in early 2011, quit his lucrative job to focus on creating a one-of-a-kind haunted attraction. He and his partner Janel dedicated every moment, ounce of energy, and dollar to making their “Scream Park” a reality. “Monsters Wanted” is the story of their self-proclaimed madness and the industry, culture, and people who share it. The film follows Rich and Janel’s efforts from the first day of building beyond the last day of the season, offering a one-of-a-kind peek into an industry known for its macabre antics and well guarded secrets. “Monsters Wanted” is living proof there’s nothing more terrifying than following your dreams! Jason Price of Icon Vs. icon recently caught up with director Brian Cunningham to discuss his journey as a filmmaker, the challenges he encountered along the way and the blood, sweat and tears shed to bring “Monsters Wanted” to life!

Director Brian Cunningham

Director Brian Cunningham

I wanted to give our readers a little background on you. What originally intrigued you about the world of filmmaking?

I remember as a kid I would jump back and forth between different answers to what I wanted to be when I grew up. It would be a firefighter one day, then I’d want to be a rock star and then I’d want to own my own amusement park. I’d watch movies constantly and eventually got the idea that since I couldn’t be all these things in one lifetime, I could at least make movies about all the subjects I was interested in. That’s when I decided I should be a filmmaker.

What made you pursue it as a career?

I loved telling stories. I would do stop-motion videos for school projects in fourth and fifth grade, and the magic of editing and trick photography always fascinated me. I can’t remember a time when movies weren’t a huge part of my life.

Who would you cite as your biggest professional influences?

There are so many, but I would definitely say that Cameron Crowe was hugely popular at a time when I was just coming into my own as a filmmaker. Movies like Almost Famous really shaped how I look at storytelling and showed me that you can make an emotionally affecting movie that still has substance, good story and soul. That’s the kind of movies I really want to make.

Your latest project is ‘Monsters Wanted’. How did the industry of haunted attractions first come onto your radar?

I had gone to haunted houses as a kid, but I never stopped to think about how they were made. Shortly after I started dating my girlfriend Kaley (who’s also a co-producer on “Monsters Wanted”) she told me she was going to stage manage a haunted house and invited me to come to a meeting between her and Rich. We met at 10pm at a Denny’s and Rich was working furiously on his laptop and downing cup after cup of coffee. Within five minutes of meeting him he told me he was going to quit his job (that week, in fact) and put his entire life savings into making a haunted house. I was immediately intrigued and knew I had to e involved in this story somehow.

A captivating documentary!

A captivating documentary!

What was it about their story that intrigued you as a documentarian?

I think as a filmmaker I understand that “obsession with a dream” side of what they were doing. I’d taken quite a few risks to try and “make it” as a filmmaker, and this was a rare opportunity to look in on someone else’s journey to achieve a dream. From a story perspective, I knew there would be drama and hardship and all the things that make a great movie. Plus it was exciting for me to do a documentary where I didn’t have any idea where the story was going.

Tell us a little about your thoughts on the approach to making this film as you started out.

I wanted the movie to be extremely organic. Most of the stuff I’ve done commercially any in film has been very scripted, very polished and very planned. I wanted this to feel like a “fly on the wall” documentary that involved the audience with the story and made you feel a part of everything instead of making you an external observer. Intimacy always trumped “finding the prettiest shot” and we were careful to make sure we could talk to all the characters in a really informal fashion. That’s why there are so many “on the fly” interviews in the movie and a lot of wide-angle close-ups. We wanted you to feel like you were watching things happen as they really did. But we also wanted to make sure we didn’t stage anything or dictate anything about the story. This isn’t a semi-scripted reality show; it’s a real documentary where we captured everything we could and had no clue what was going to happen.

What can you tell us about the work that went into capturing the story on film?

We shot over 200 hours of footage and interviewed nearly 100 people. The crew was tiny by design…just two people at any given time. Usually that was two cameras working simultaneously or one camera with the second person operating a boom for audio. We wanted to keep everything extremely streamlined so we could move quickly to capture everything as it happened and could keep our “footprint” small so as to keep the actors comfortable without changing their dynamics or personalities. The amount of profanity in the movie is a testament to how comfortable all our characters felt on camera, I think.

Looking back on the process and all that happened, what do you consider the biggest challenge in bringing it to the screen?

The biggest challenge for me was finding a story that was truthful to both what actually happened and how the whole thing felt. We went through drafts of the movie that were way too technical with way too much detail, and even though they explained everything they didn’t have the right tone and feel. So that was a balancing act; to find the right story and tell it in a way that, while it can’t encompass everything that happened, is true to the spirit of what was happening.

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The financial risk and struggle of bringing something you love to life is a major focus of the film. Did that mirror your production of “Monsters Wanted” in any way?

Not really. I am lucky enough to own my own commercial production company, so we had all the equipment we needed to make the movie. Plus keeping the crew small with just myself and Joe Laughrey (the co-director) meant that we had literally no overhead for paying crew. So our investment was 100% time. I asked Joe if he was interested in giving up 6 months of his life to follow this story, and that’s basically what both of us did.

In addition to Asylum, there are several other haunted attractions featured in the film. What was the most eye opening thing you discovered about this very unique industry?

I had no idea how much work went into these things. I assumed haunted houses were pre-packaged by large corporations who threw them up in September and left November first. But that just isn’t the case. These are mom-and-pop businesses struggling every year to stay afloat. It’s not a great business model to spend so much time and effort on an attraction that only opens twelve nights a year, but these people pour their souls into them because of the love of the genre. I didn’t expect that to be so universal to every owner and haunted house.

Quite a character...

Quite a character…

Was there something you were looking to accomplish stylistically or in some other form that you may have not tried before with this film?

I really wanted to find a story. I wanted to make sure I didn’t have an agenda or some preconceived notion of what this movie was about. That was the whole attraction of making something that was non-scripted. Throughout the shoot, my idea of what the movie would be changed dozens of times….which was a little scary and disconcerting. And we ended up with a movie very different (and I would argue better) than what I originally thought it might be.

Your co-director on this film is Joe Laughrey. What did he bring to the table for this project?

Joe was shoulder to shoulder with me every day shooting 14 hours a day. On a movie like this, I think it’s all about finding moments and communicating with your co-filmmakers about what you’ve captured and what stories need to be fleshed out with more coverage and footage. Joe and I “tag-teamed” everything to make sure we had different perspectives on each storyline and character. He was much more the fly-on-the-wall filmmaker you forgot was around where as I was buddy-buddy with all the characters and could ask questions on the fly to get clarification about what was happening. The two styles balanced really well in the finished film.

How different is the final version of the film than what you had envisioned when starting out?

Extremely different. I thought this would be an exploration of the horror culture and haunted house industries with Rich and Janel’s story acting as the backbone, but I realized toward the end of editing that the only way to really get into why these people do what they do, I had to get extremely intimate with one story. So while it still explores what originally excited me about the project, it’s a far more emotionally charged and “soulful” movie than I thought it would be.

Janel Nash and Rich Teachout

Janel Nash and Rich Teachout

What do you feel is the greatest lesson to be learned for Rich, Janel and the other people featured in film?

What I learned from them is that achieving your dream doesn’t always come with extreme fame and wealth and fanfare. It’s full of heartache and stress and hard work with very little economic payoff. But somehow that makes it more pure and meaningful because it means you really are doing it all “for the love.” I like that life philosophy.

What is the greatest lesson you learned as a filmmaker on this project?

I learned how to relax and go with the flow. I kept trying to make the movie in my head as we went, but reality had different ideas. In the end, it was an exercise in thinking on your feet and working with elements out of your control to make something truthful and entertaining.

“Monsters Wanted” is a great title for the film. How many ideas did you kick around before arriving at the title?

We had hundreds of title ideas, but I was always a big fan of “Monsters Wanted.” It felt like it encompassed the fun playfulness of the story as well as the darker elements of the characters and the whole “family” theme that really defines the documentary.

Is the world of horror is very expansive. Is there another topic in that genre you are interested in possibly exploring in documentary form?

Right now, I have no plans to do another documentary. This one kind of came out of left field and I felt compelled to follow it through. If I ever do another documentary, I think it will happen the same way.

What are your favorite and least favorite parts of the filmmaking process?

On this one I loved shooting when things were chaotic. It really gives you a chance to hyper-focus and gives you a great adrenaline rush. I’m not a huge fan of the sales and marketing side of things which is extremely important, but also a little monotonous.

Available August 27th!

Available August 27th!

Do you feel you have evolved as a filmmaker since first starting out?

Absolutely. I look back on how I shot the first days of the doc and how I interviewed people, and I wish I could go back and do it again. But that’s every movie. I think I’m always a different filmmaker at the end of the process than I was at the beginning.

What is next up for you as a filmmaker?

I have a bunch of ideas, all of them scripted. I’m working with my partner, Matt Niehoff, on an action comedy set in a rural Kentucky bar, but we’re just starting the writing process on that. For the next couple of months I’m really just focused on getting Monsters Wanted out to its audience.

What is the best piece of advice you can pass along to aspiring filmmakers?

Make a lot of movies. Get the bad ones and there will be bad ones, I promise! out of your system now. And learn the technical side of things. Artistry without technical expertise has its limits, and I see a lot of extremely talented filmmakers flounder because they don’t take the time to understand how the camera, lenses or editing software works. So just start making no-budget movies and learn how to do everything. That includes marketing and promotion, unfortunately. But really, don’t worry about raising money or getting the budget to shoot on a red, just start. The rest will fall in place after awhile.

Check out the official site for MONSTERS WANTED at www.monsterswanted.com. Like the film on Facebook at facebook.com/MonstersWanted.

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Antonino D’Ambrosio’s ‘Let Fury Have The Hour’ To Receive December Release

Antonino D’Ambrosio’s ‘Let Fury Have The Hour’ To Receive December Release

If you are into documentary filmmaking, than ‘Let Fury Have The Hour’ is a film that should peak your interest. From director Antonino D’Ambrosio, the film is a charged journey into the heart of the creative counter-culture. The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year, and features interviews with over 50 powerful, of-the-moment voices including street artist Shepard Fairey, comedian Lewis Black, musicians Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine) and Chuck D (Public Enemy), and filmmaker John Sayles. CAVU Pictures is releasing LET FURY HAVE THE HOUR in select theaters starting Friday, Dec 14th. Check out the official synopsis below and visit the official website at www.letfuryhavethehour.com.

Official Synopsis: Rough, raw and unapologetically inspirational, LET FURY HAVE THE HOUR is a charged journey into the heart of the creative counter-culture in 2012. In a time of global challenges, big questions and by-the-numbers politics, this upbeat, outspoken film tracks the story of the artists, writers, thinkers and musicians who have gone underground to re-imagine the world – honing in on equality, community and engaged creativity – in exuberantly paradigm-busting ways.

Writer/director Antonino D’Ambrosio unites 50 powerful, of-the-moment voices –from street artist Shepard Fairey to rapper Chuck D to playwright Eve Ensler to musicians Tom Morello and Billy Bragg to novelist Edwidge Danticat to filmmaker John Sayles to comic Lewis Black – who share personal and powerful tales of how they transformed anger and angst into provocative art and ideas. Mix-mastered with historical footage, animation and performances, D’Ambrosio presents a visceral portrait of a generation looking to re-jigger a system that has failed to address the most pressing problems of our times . . . or human potential.

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Anthony Baxter Discusses His Powerful Documentary “You’ve Been Trumped”

Anthony Baxter Discusses His Powerful Documentary “You’ve Been Trumped”

Sometimes you have to take a stand. Such was the case when director Anthony Baxter set out to document a David and Goliath tale for the 21st Century. In this David and Goliath story for the 21st century, a group of proud Scottish homeowners take on a celebrity tycoon. At stake is one of Britain’s very last stretches of wilderness.

American billionaire Donald Trump has bought up hundreds of acres on the northeast coast of Scotland, best known to movie-lovers as the setting for the 1983 classic film Local Hero. And like the American oil tycoon played by Burt Lancaster, he needs to buy out a few more locals to make the deal come true. In a land swimming with golf courses, Trump is going to build two more – alongside a 450-room hotel and 1,500 luxury homes. The trouble is, the land he has purchased occupies one of Europe’s most environmentally sensitive stretches of coast, described by one leading scientist as Scotland’s Amazon rain forest. And the handful of local residents don’t want it destroyed.

After the Scottish Government overturns its own environmental laws to give Trump the green light, the stage is set for an extraordinary summer of discontent, as the bulldozers spring into action. Water and power is cut off, land disputes erupt, and some residents have thousands of tonnes of earth piled up next to their homes. Complaints go ignored by the police, who instead arrest the film’s director, Anthony Baxter. Local exasperation comes to a surreal head as the now “Dr” Trump scoops up an honorary doctorate from a local university, even as his tractors turn wild, untouched dunes into fairways.

Told entirely without narration, You’ve Been Trumped captures the cultural chasm between the glamorous, jet-setting and media savvy Donald Trump and a deeply rooted Scottish community. What begins as an often amusing clash of world views grows increasingly bitter and disturbing. For the tycoon, the golf course is just another deal, with a possible billion dollar payoff. For the residents, it represents the destruction of a globally unique landscape that has been the backdrop for their lives.

Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently sat down with director Anthony Baxter to discuss the making of his documentary, the challenges involved in bringing it to screens worldwide and how the film has impacted the project that poses such a threat to one of Scotland’s Sites of Special Scientific Interest.

Thanks so much for taking time out of your schedule to speak with us today, sir.

I appreciate you talking to me! Thank you very much!

Tell us a little about what led you to make your documentary, “You’ve Been Trumped.”

Director Anthony Baxter

I really wanted to get to the truth about what was happening in this story. It was happening just up the road from where I live. Donald Trump said he was going to be building this golf course resort and would be bringing all of these jobs as a promise but I knew environmental impact was going to be pretty severe. These dunes are very rare and they move and shift like no other sand dunes do in Europe, they are the crown jewels of our natural heritage — the Amazon rain forest of Scotland. No one seemed to be reporting that fact locally. In the newspapers of Aberdeen, they seemed to be obsessed with Donald Trump’s celebrity and these ludicrous claims about jobs.

I just felt it was important to try and document what was going to happen to the landscape as well as the effects on the local people, ordinary people who didn’t want to see this development happen and wanted to live their lives peacefully in this beautiful stretch of Scotland. I felt those people needed to be given a voice. It was really a case of setting out to document it, rather than setting out to make a feature documentary film. That came about by the events that unfolded as I started to document what was happening.

Tell us a little about your thoughts on the approach to making this film as you started out.

Yeah, I think I definitely wanted to have it without any narration because I wanted people to make up their own minds about what was happening. At the same time, I think the clips of “Local Hero,” which were used in the film, which was an iconic Scottish drama film from the 1980s, was very much a reflection of the situation that was unfolding — a real-life local hero. I felt like I wanted to try and use those clips to illustrate that point. I think it really just evolved. It wasn’t really set out to emulate any particular filmmaker or filmmaking style. It was one of those things where, as things unfolded, I just let the story speak for itself as much as possible, and where possible, as well, hold those in authority to account. That was obviously difficult because Donald Trump refused an interview as did the police and the local Scottish government, as well. So, we do what we can, really telling the story of what came into the camera over the course of a year or two and lay it out on the screen for people to make up their own minds.

The movie illustrates this very well but were you surprised how many people were seemingly on the take or just willing to stand by and let this happen?

A must see film for 2012!

There were so many dangerous precedents set as the events unfolded. We have the Scottish government being wooed by Donald Trump’s celebrity and the ludicrous claims of jobs. We have the local police working as Donald Trump’s private security force. Certainly, my experience didn’t make me think anything otherwise as they were doing an interview with one of Mr. Trump’s workers and the next minute we are in prison cells having had our DNA, fingerprints and our camera equipment taken. We were in a situation, all of the time it seemed, while making the film that was very, very worrying. It was not just me saying this, obviously, but The National Union of Journalists in Britain saying that this raised very serious questions about press freedom. We were asking questions and the people in power and this is the response. I don’t think this is just an isolated case in Scotland. I think this happens all over the world and that is why I think this is more of an international story. All over the world, people are battling against this kind of thing — money and power running, seemingly riding rough over the lives of ordinary people and our planet and the people feeling powerless up against it. Whether it is in Scotland in this case or New York CIty, where developments are suddenly happening and people are realizing that they have no say, is a sign of our times unfortunately. I think we need to change the way in which we deal with this stuff because our planet can’t afford it.

So much happened to you along the course of making this film. Looking back on the process and all that happened, what do you consider the biggest challenge in bringing it to the screen?

I had to remortgage my house to make it because none of the broadcasters would support it. Making films independently, you rely hugely on television money coming in to allow you to start filming. There was none of that and no one wanted the project. They kept asking me, “Do you have access to Donald Trump?” I said, “No. I want to tell the story of the environment and the local people. I have asked him for an interview but at this stage, he hasn’t given me one.” The broadcasters didn’t support it and the agencies in Scotland, that are supposed to support the creative arts, refused to fund the film. It was very much a case of, “Do I just carry on doing this?” I remortgaged the house and we raised the rest on the Internet through crowdfunding on www.indiegogo.com. Once we finished the film and competed in the first film festival, we really seemed to strike a chord with people and then other film festivals played it. Getting it from that stage to now, where we are actually getting it into some theaters in the UK, it has been playing successfully throughout the last couple of weeks. In the United States, we are just now starting out. It is a complete and utter battle all of the time. Financially, it can be very draining! [laughs] There is nothing new on that front! I think in a way, that battle pales in comparison in significance to the battle faced by the local residence and the people who are in the film who have tried so hard to stand up for their environment. In a way, that makes it all worthwhile.

What is the current status of Trump’s project and how has the film impacted it?

Director Anthony Baxter

The first golf course opened a couple of weeks ago. Donald Trump was over in Scotland. I spent the day of the opening with the local residents, speaking with them. They were just standing by, watching helplessly as the Trump-mobile rolled into town again. What you have there now is just a golf course — none of the facilities that were promised. The hotels and the housing were what was supposed to bring all of the jobs. None of those things have happened. Environmentally, it is a disaster because this golf course has destroyed a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The things that were supposed to provide economic prosperity have not occurred. I think that is a tragedy for the environment as well as for Scotland. Lessons have to be learned from it. That is what the local people were saying to me, “Look, this is a tragedy and never again do we want this to happen to Scotland.” Donald Trump is saying, in any case, he probably won’t build the hotel or anything else unless the government in Scotland stops a wind farm off the coast, which he says will spoil the view for his golfers. It seems the local people, and they usually turn out to be right about these things, believe he is using the wind farm as an excuse because he knows the economics don’t add up. Throughout the process, Trump has been blaming various things for not doing the hard building work, which is the thing that would drive any kind of economic prosperity but those economics are flawed anyway. We have to ask ourselves if we want those kind of low pay jobs, such as people caddying, cutting grass on a golf course or serving drinks to wealthy Americans and Brits, at the price of destroying priceless environments. Like I said, this is happening all over the world, where these type of decisions are being made.

The film is an impressive piece of work. That being said, being a fan, what is the best way for like-minded people to support this project?

If you can spread the word on the film, that is really what the local people want. They have told me that personally and said it publicly at all the screenings we have held in Scotland where they have attended and been asked questions from the audience. They feel that the film shows what they have been through — fairly and accurately. They have been incredibly supported by people in America who have written to them after seeing the film. Taking action on a local level is very important. In situations where developments come in and developers say they are going to do all of this stuff — don’t take their promises and ludicrous claims about jobs at face value. Scrutinize them at their every point because once the development goes up, it is really, really difficult to turn back the clock. We have a website, www.youvebeentrumped.com, that has links to groups who can provide more information as well as information on the film itself.

That is great. What is next up for you as a filmmaker? Do you have your eye on any other projects at the moment that will lead to you being behind the camera again soon?

Yeah, I would like to do it again soon. One of the realities is that trying to get the film out there has become a bit of a full-time job, so the camera has been under wraps for a while! [laughs] It would be great to start filming something else. Exactly what that would be, I am not sure. At this stage, it could be some of the stories we have been told about while showing this film in various parts of the world such as Croatia. We showed the film there and the people said, “That is our story too!” I started doing a little filming around a story that was unfolding there. Whether or not I have the energy and finance to do anything else is quite another story! [laughs] Oh dear!

Thank you for your time today, Anthony. I appreciate it and thank you for bringing attention to this matter with such a wonderful film.

I really appreciate it, Jason. Thanks a lot, sir!

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Award Winning Film ‘On The Ice’ Now Available Digitally And On VOD!

Award Winning Film ‘On The Ice’ Now Available Digitally And On VOD!

'On The Ice'

One The Ice, which was shot entirely on location in the director’s hometown of Barrow, Alaska, just became available digitally and via cable VOD after an in-theater run in select cities earlier this year.  On The Ice premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and won the Best First Feature award, as well as the Crystal Bear at the 2011 Berlinale.  The film has gone on to play at more than 30 film festivals worldwide and has received numerous accolades. You can check out the awesome trailer here and more info below.

Synopsis: Shot entirely on location in Barrow, Alaska, On The Ice is the engrossing and suspenseful feature film debut by filmmaker Andrew Okpeaha MacLean about two teenage boys who have grown up like brothers go about their lives in the comfortable claustrophobia of an isolated Alaskan town.  Early one morning, on a seal hunt with another teenager, an argument between the three boys quickly escalates into a tragic accident. Bonded by their dark secret, the two best friends are forced to create one fabrication after another in order to survive.  The shocked boys stumble through guilt-fueled days, avoiding the suspicions of their community as they weave a web of deceit.  With their future in the balance, the two boys are forced to explore the limits of friendship and honor.

“An authentic look at life in remote Alaska.” – The Los Angeles Times

“On the Ice is stark, unadorned, timeless and yet of the moment. Wear your mittens.” – Marshall Fine, Huffington Post

“A Must-See.” – Eric Kohn, Indiewire.com

“Taut suspense and a stark visual beauty.” – David D’arcy, Screen International

“This debut feature from its native son Andrew Okpeaha Maclean skillfully embeds a simple story within a complex, transitioning culture. – Jeanette Catsoulis, The New York Times

“A marvel of classical concentrated storytelling.” – Village Voice

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Video Interview: Morgan Spurlock Talks ‘Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope’

Video Interview: Morgan Spurlock Talks ‘Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope’

Morgan Spurlock is a name which has become synonymous with great documentary filmmaking. He became a household name almost overnight with his 2004 debut, ‘Supersize Me’. Love him or hate him, there is no doubt that his personality shines through in each of his films. However, he doesn’t appear in a single frame of his latest offering, Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope. Instead, he gives us an inside look at the world of Comic-Con International through the eyes of real attendees, who are every bit as captivating as the filmmaker himself! In this impressive piece of filmmaking, Spurlock gives audiences a look at the unique journeys of five attendees (an aspiring illustrator, a costume and creator designer, a long-time comic book dealer, a long-time amateur illustrator and a young fan hoping to propose to his girlfriend) who are attending the 2010 event. Throughout the film he injects lively interviews with Comic-Con veterans which include the legendary Stan Lee, Joss Whedon, Frank Miller, Kevin Smith, Matt Groening, Seth Rogen and Eli Roth, just to name a few.

Morgan Spurlock's must-see documentary!

Unlike the film that we saw light the fuse on his still skyrocketing career, this film is not an investigative documentary where he serves as the narrator. However, Spurlock’s personality still shows through as the film shines a loving light on one of fandom’s largest events, its dedicated fans and their adventures and celebrates geek culture! Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon spoke with Morgan Spurlock about the casting process, the challenges involved, a potential spinoff and what is next up for him. Check out the video interview below!

Plot Synopsis: Have you ever imagined a place where Vulcans and vampires get along? Where wizards and wookies can be themselves? Welcome to Comic-Con San Diego. What started as a fringe comic book convention for 500 fans has grown into the pop culture event of the year that influences every form of entertainment, now attended by over 140,000. Comic-Con Episode Four: A Fan’s Hope explores this cultural phenomenon by following the lives of seven attendees as they descend upon the ultimate geek mecca.

Comic-Con: Episode IV – A Fan’s Hope hits VOD and LA theaters on Friday, April 6th. It will take New York by storm the following week and expand from there! Visit the official website for the film at www.comicconmovie.com and become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/comicconmovie!

COMIC CON EPISODE IV: A FAN’S HOPE Tour Dates

April 5th – Atlanta, Cobb Energy Center http://www.cobbenergycentre.com/

April 6th – Orlando, UCF Arena http://www.ucfarena.com/

April 7th – Miami Beach, The Fillmore Miami Beach http://fillmoremb.com/index

April 12th – Rochester, Rochester Dome Arena http://www.fairandexpocenter.org/

April 13th – Albany, Palace Theatre http://www.palacealbany.com/

April 14th – Philadelphia, Girard College http://www.girardcollege.edu/page.cfm

April 15th – Wallingford, CT, Toyota Presents Oakdale Theatre http://oakdale.com/index

April 19th – Cincinnati, Taft Theatre http://www.tafttheatre.org/

April 20th – Chicago, Rosemont Theatre http://www.rosemonttheatre.com/

April 22nd – Detroit, Fillmore Detroit http://thefillmoredetroit.com/index

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Chris Moneymaker & Director Douglas Tirola Talk ‘All In – The Poker Movie’

Chris Moneymaker & Director Douglas Tirola Talk ‘All In – The Poker Movie’

Chris Moneymaker is one of the biggest names in the world of professional poker. Being a household name wasn’t something he had anticipated when he first set foot on the casino floor back in 2003. It was then that the mild-mannered accountant hailing from Nashville, Tennessee quickly found his world turned upside down when he won the $2.5 million first prize at the televised World Series of Poker. It was a moment in time that he will never forget and one that gave birth to the worldwide poker phenomenon that continues to grow at an ever increasing rate! After seeing Moneymaker’s win and being a fan of the game for years, director Douglas Tirola set out to tell the story of poker’s renaissance over the past ten years. The film follows the movement of a game once played only by grandparents and teenagers unable to get a date on Friday night to a nationally televised sport played by millions, on a weekly basis in casinos, basements, and online. It has become an activity so hip that even Leonardo DiCaprio, George Clooney, Tobey Maguire, and Matt Damon have a regular game! The amazing results of his journey as a filmmaker can be seen in “All In – The Poker Movie,” which opens in theatres across the country and will be available on DVD on April 24, 2012! The film’s extensive research, archival footage, and interviews with today’s poker celebrities, as well as social commentators such as Ira Glass and Doris Kearns Goodwin, making this the definitive exploration on this worldwide cultural phenomenon. Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with poker legend Chris Moneymaker and director Douglas Tirola to discuss the film, how it came about, the challenges involved with bringing such a detailed documentary to the screen and what the future may hold for the greatest game ever played!

Chris Moneymaker

For those who may not know, how did poker enter into your life?

Chris Moneymaker: Basically, I liked being in the casinos. I liked playing Blackjack and betting on sports, so that is basically where it started and where my interest started to develop. The problem was, every time I went to the casino, I was broke! That gets old after a while! [laughs] I saw people sitting in the back corner, whose average age was about 80 years old. It was a bunch of old guys who seemed a little grumpy and mean but they sat back there all day long. I wanted to know what was going on. They were playing poker. It didn’t take me long to figure out that I could sit back there, enjoy my time at the casino, have a few beers and actually walk out with a little bit of money and not be broke all of the time. That is what really started it for me. From there, I figured out that you could play online poker with Poker Stars and I was off!

How did life change for you after that huge win at the World Series of Poker? I imagine it turned your world upside down.

Chris Moneymaker: It did and in a way that was far more than I had even thought that it could. I won the tournament on a Saturday night, flew home Sunday and I was back at work on Monday morning. Everybody was amazed that I was there! I was 27 years old at the time and I had won $2.5 million. After you pay taxes, I paid my dad and everything else, I realized that I wasn’t going to retire on that money. Poker at the time wasn’t what it is today. It wasn’t something you could go out and make a profession out of, so my plan was to go back to work and be that everyday guy who just had a little bit better bank account! That was the plan and was sorta what happened for eight months. Then I got second in the World Poker Tour and poker was really starting to take off. I was starting to get a lot more appearances and I found I was starting to make money outside of sitting at the poker table. Basically, one day my boss came in and said, “If you don’t quit, we are going to fire you! There are better places out there in the world for you than sitting behind this desk doing accounting work. It just doesn’t make sense for you to be here.” That is when I decided to become a full-time poker player. Being a poker professional just means that you don’t have to have a job, there isn’t necessarily a day where you wake up and say, “I’m going to be a poker pro!” You just start playing more and more. That is what I started doing and I have been doing it ever since. It has been great as I have been able to travel the world, meet celebrities, meet families and play in really fun games which most people don’t get the opportunity to play in! Overall, it has been an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything.

A lot of what helps to fuel the global poker boom and excite fans was your personality and mystique. Was that something which came as a surprise as well?

Chris Moneymaker: Yeah! When I won, I honestly didn’t think anything of it. I didn’t think the world of poker was going to change much. First of all, I am a little bit of a nerd and back then I was a bit of a degenerate gambler, so I didn’t think I would strike a chord with that many people or that people would sorta see themselves in me. In my youth, I played a lot of video games and I had friends but I wasn’t the most popular kid in school, so it was a little shocking to me that so many people were relating to me and sort of got my story. That was really shocking to me. The poker boom itself was something that took me by surprise from way out of left field. I like to think I am a relatively smart guy but I never saw that coming! [laughs] I never thought I would see 800 players go to 8,000 and I never thought the Internet would blow up like it did. There were huge surprises all the way around.

'All In - The Poker Movie'

We are talking today about “All In: The Poker Movie.” With poker being as big as it is these days, it is surprising to me it took so long for someone to focus on the poker industry in film form. How did the initial idea for the film come about?

Douglas Tirola: We are a documentary film company and we are always looking for new ideas. The idea initially came about when we had been thinking about poker because we had been hired by a very successful Wall Street trader to film the biggest poker tournament in New York City, which was to have somewhere between 500 and 1,000 people. That event introduced us into the world of poker. Of course, I knew the movie “Rounders” and right around the same time, when we were traveling, I was on a Jet Blue plane and I saw Chris Moneymaker’s win. I started to notice, after that, how much poker there was on television. The idea was really to tell the story, I think the term people use now is “the tipping point story,” of how poker had this huge renaissance. We wanted to tell the story of how it went from something thought of in regard to old people or something teenage boys who can’t get dates did to something that you now associate movie stars like Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and George Clooney doing. I think we were interested in it both as a game, which I played as a kid, and the cultural impact it has had on society.

What drew you to the art of filmmaking, Doug?

Douglas Tirola: Originally, I was going to school and I was going to be a college professor. I was going to be one of those guys that had summers off and only taught classes Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. I ended up applying to graduate school where I got into Columbia University for writing. I ended up taking a filmmaking class as an elective and a teacher offered me a job on a movie. I met a lot of great people through that movie, which was a movie a lot of people don’t know, “State of Grace” with Gary Oldman and Sean Penn. Immediately I said, “I love filmmaking!” I love the whole process of making films and the camaraderie and sense of community which you encounter on these movie sets. I went from a situation where I could conceivably work the least amount of hours possible as a college professor to a job where you are working 12 to 16 hours everyday! It is the process that I love. I think we saw something in the poker players that reminds us a lot of filmmakers. I think their DNA is the same or there is a certain obsessiveness or lifestyle — a poker player’s lifestyle is certainly outside of the norm. Certainly, the work force that goes nine to five working in films, is not an average day for somebody. Somebody once said, “Filmmakers think of themselves as rock stars but they never took the time to learn an instrument.”

What was the biggest challenge in putting this film together?

Douglas Tirola: There were a lot of challenges. I think, initially, in the production the challenge was getting the time with the poker players that we wanted to have access to. The poker players are coming together at these tournaments, so on paper that is a great place, on paper, to say, “OK, we are going to go to Las Vegas because all of these people we want to talk to are going to be there.” However, these players are coming in from all over and the plane schedule is so intense and they don’t want to sit and talk after they have sat at the poker table for 12 hours. Finding that time and access was a big challenge initially. Then at the end of the process, the editing, there were so many good interviews and great people which we had talked to, cutting it all down to a manageable length was our biggest challenge. There were so many people and so many good things, you have to decide, “Should we have this person say it or that person say it?” Ultimately, we tried to include as many people as possible because it showed how diverse the landscape is in the poker world.

Chris Moneymaker

How do you perceive the world of poker changing in the coming years?

Chris Moneymaker: I think in the years to come, online poker will come back to the U.S. It’s just too big and I think the government is going to realize they can make a lot of money from it. I really believe that online poker will re-enter the U.S. market for that reason. It is already blown up worldwide. Anywhere you go in the world, it is taking off like a firecracker — Brazil, Spain, China, everywhere! Everywhere you go, people are playing on TV and I believe you will also see some sort of 24-hour poker channel emerge in the future. I also think that poker will become more of an accepted lifestyle and an accepted way of making a living than ever before. One thing for for sure, more and more people will be playing the game!

Is there anything you haven’t achieved in the world of poker that you still have a desire to accomplish?

Chris Moneymaker: When I think of poker, I don’t think of it in terms of accomplishments. It is a game I love to play and something that I do for a living. As long as I am making money and I am happy doing it, I definitely set goals but my goal isn’t going out and winning the main event again. My goal is to make the correct decisions every time I play. You control the things that you can and when you are playing in a poker tournament, things happen which are out of your control. So, the goal I like to set for myself is to make the correct decision every single time and I am happy with that!

What are the next projects on the horizon for both of you guys?

Chris Moneymaker: Next week, I get to go to Italy to play in a poker tournament. Then I have a couple of appearances in the beginning and end of April. Then I am headed to Monte Carlo. After that, I will probably take a month off before The World Series of Poker kicks off in late May, early June!

Douglas Tirola: Right now, our company is working on two projects. One is about bartenders in this era of the craft cocktail. I don’t know if you go out at all but there is a whole renaissance happening in the cocktail world and bartending is becoming something that you just don’t do between jobs but something that many people are leaning toward as a serious profession. The other movie we are shooting right now is the story of The National Lampoon from the magazine to “Animal House” to the “Vacation” films to the downfall and possible rebirth.

I really enjoyed “All In: The Poker Movie” and I was curious to see what advice each of you would give to someone considering making poker a career?

Chris Moneymaker: Make sure you have a backup plan! It is a tough way to make a living. It is fun to watch on TV but make sure you have a Plan B. Make sure you get a good education and have something else going for you before you try to go down the poker road because poker is changing a lot and it is getting more and more difficult every year. You have to stay on top of it and put the hours in and it is not easy. I have been playing with people who have played the same way for 20 years and they have never improved. They are never going to win. You have to evolve with the game!

Douglas Tirola

How about the advice you would give in regard to filmmaking, Doug?

Douglas Tirola: Well, I should say have a backup plan as well! [laughs] I think a lot of people get into filmmaking because they love movies but I think you have to decide why you want to do filmmaking. Do you really love the process? Do you love telling stories? Are you doing it because you like that sort of work on a day in, day out basis? Think more about the process than the final product and decide whether or not you are following this passion for movies because you like going to movies or because you love the process of making them. Those are two very different things. We spent years making this movie and all the while you are thinking of telling the best story that you can, not is this movie going to perform this way or perform that way. I think a lot of people like movies and that is why they go into it and they don’t think of what their day to day life is going to be like while working on movies. I think that is much different than what people think it is.

I will also give you my poker advice which is — listen to Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler,” which I have been told is not actually accurate poker advice! [laughs]

Thanks for your time today guys! We look forward to spreading the word on the film!

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Film Review: “No Room for Rock Stars; The Vans Warped Tour”

Film Review: “No Room for Rock Stars; The Vans Warped Tour”

“No Room For Rockstars” offers a view behind the scenes of the 2010 Vans Warped Tour with a status report on the current state of music and teen culture intricately woven into the framework. The 2012 documentary is masterfully shot and features interviews with musicians, fans and all involved with the massive event. There are screaming fans filled to the brim with angst and devotion, and musicians and wannabe musicians chasing stardom.

I’ve never been to a Warped Tour concert but it doesn’t matter since the annual summer event features 600,000 fans, 200 bands and 43 cities across America — yeah, that’s 16,906 miles in 52 days! Who’s got two thumbs and is missing out — this girl! Well, missed out, since I’m a bit too long in the tooth to hit up the Vans Warped Tour!

www.noroomforrockstars.com

Now that we’ve crunched the numbers we can discuss this film because it’s way more than a hodgepodge of footage from concerts, way more than mosh pits, crowd surfing and mass amounts of Monster Energy drinks and Miller Lite. Director Parris Patton pulls back the curtain to show human elements — a range of emotions from anxiety and suffering to pure euphoria — because, believe it or not, our rock gods are human!

There’s Chris of nevershoutnever who is all peace signs and hugs, and could care less about the corporate aspect of his craft. He has fans screaming his name, teen girls sobbing from an overwhelming connection with his lyrics, yet he’s a homebody who remarked, “I would love to just chill at home and be a normal person and not feel like I’m losing grasp of the real world everyday. You lose track of time, lose track of yourself, lose track of where you came from.”

Then there’s Mike Posner, whose smooth hip-hop sound is reminiscint of Justin Timberlake. No one’s sure where he fits in on the tour, Posner especially, but his popularity becomes more evident as the film progresses as his number one single rises on the charts. His success probably stems from his corporate handlers and packed schedule outside the tour, from a T-Mobile event to an interview and photoshoot with Rolling Stone. However, when you take away the screaming fans singing along to his lyrics, the leather jacket and chain necklace, the swagger, you have a young man who fears being a one-hit wonder. He’s a talented man who fears he’ll be forgotten.Then there’s the epitome of Warped Tour music — Mitch of Suicide Silence who warms up by humming the musical scale before practicing his death growl. He remarked, “I want that heavy band to bring the crowd.” Pretty bad ass but there’s another side to Mitch aside from the tattoos and angst. He has severe anxiety before going onstage and when interacting with fans. He has a mother and 10-year-old sister who describe him as having two personalities because when he hits the stage he becomes a “magnificent beast” with “harsh lyrics.” He has a wife and 3-year-old daughter he provides for by touring 305 days of the year. He sleeps in a tour bus, doesn’t shower or wear clean clothes, and is away from home so he can give them a better life.

To add more compelling and profound elements, the film weaves in a tale of Forever Came Calling, a band following the tour in a beat-up old van to sell their CDs to concertgoers for $5 a pop. They sleep in the van or on the ground in parking lots, pee in empty Powerade bottles, drive in the pouring rain, steal doughnuts from convenience stores for food because they believe in their music and in the Warped Tour. In addition to CDs, which they let strangers sample on an old portable CD player, the group asks those waiting in line to sign a petition so they can play on the next Warped Tour.With the scale of success covered, from Chris Posner to Forever Came Calling, there’s one element yet to be discussed. The tale of Kevin Lyman, founder of the Warped Tour, provides another element as he discusses the history of the Warped Tour and how it’s been the platform for big names, including Sublime, No Doubt, Eminem, Blink 182 and the Deftones, and hopefully future superstars. The tour has evolved along with the music industry, especially switching from punk music to a variety of genres, because the main purpose is for music lovers to come together and hear all their favorite bands in one day.

'No Room For Rockstars'

Fletcher of Pennywise summed it up, “Everyone started working together and looking out for each other and we knew this is a place we belonged. It felt real, it felt like homegrown and it felt punk rock.”

Lyman was my favorite part of the documentary because he traded in a suit and tie corporate future for staying true to himself. He’s hardly recognizable throughout the film in a T-shirt and torn shorts as he watches over his event. When he provided a barbecue for the truck and bus drivers, cooking and serving everybody — including others who happened upon the party — I knew this guy was genuine.

For anyone out there with dreams of stardom in the music industry, this is a must see. For fans of music, whatever genre, this documentary is an interesting look at the human spirit. All parties involved, whether it’s the tattooed and pierced fan who feels like an outcast or the wannabe rocker hoping to catch that big break, are fighting the same fight. There is no room for rockstars on the Warped Tour. Musicians are trying to be true to themselves while staying true to their fans. As for the fans, the film featured Adam, a random concertgoer, who said, “It was all about unity, it was a good thing … We’re not the norm, nobody here is the norm … you’ll see people they call the headbangers, people they call the freaks, whatever name you have for them, here today we all belong here.”

“No Room For Rockstars” hit select theaters March 1. The iTunes release is April 2 and the VOD and DVD release is May 15th. The film is accompanied with a soundtrack of songs from the movie as well as Vans Warped Tour all-time greatest hits. Some bonus content is also available at vans.com/warped or vanswarpedtour.com. For more information, visit noroomforrockstars.com! — Kate Vendetta

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