Sunday, March 7, 2010

Posted by Jake |
Interviewing your close friends is one thing but interviewing your immediate family members is downright creepy. Nevertheless, here's a recent interview that I did with my brother and my other better half, Evan Jacobs. I chose to make Evan's 15+ year independent film career and his Anhedenia Films imprint the primary focus of this interview but as you'll read, it absolutely ties in with '90s hardcore, particularly in Orange County, California. Enjoy the interview. - Jake

Photo taken by Nathan Napolitano

All of the films that you made in the '90s via your Anhedenia Films imprint starred many heavyweights of the '90s hardcore scene. To kick this interview off, tell some funny or interesting stories about making movies, hanging out and, in general, just spending a great deal of time with those people throughout the '90s.

Well, when I made my third film THE TOLL COLLECTOR, I had clipped my right toenail on my big toe too deeply before Mike Hartsfield and I started shooting it. I was actually on the phone with Chris Lohman right before Collateral Damage played with Eleven-Thirty Four at the Huntington Beach Library when I did it. I knew I had a problem because there was a lot of blood and tissue hanging from it.

All throughout the production, I complained to Hartsfield and he keep insisting that I could fix it with home remedies for curing ingrown toenails. Even when I showed him the mess that was my toenail, he didn't care and, in his words, told me it "wasn't shit." Well, if you watch THE TOLL COLLECTOR closely, you can actually see me limping throughout the entire film!

As for hanging out and other stories, a lot of those are going to be shown and discussed in my documentary ORANGE COUNTY HARDCORE SCENESTER. It covers the Orange County, California hardcore scene from 1990 to 1997.


In addition to most of the actors in your films being from the '90s hardcore scene, your director of photography on many of the films was none other than Mike Hartsfield, New Age Records head honcho and member of many seminal '90s hardcore bands. Discuss how he became such an integral part of Anhedenia Films.

At the time, Mike was doing New Age Records full time. He made his own hours and I was really inspired by that. He was available, he was into movies and as long as I had an idea and was willing to put myself in harm's way, Mike would be there putting himself in harm's way too. The best thing is that Mike and I still work together. We want to make another movie but it's kinda hard with the various projects and other commitments between us. Having said that, we do music videos for bands on his labels and we just started shooting this short documentary for the now defunct band 7 GENERATIONS. Mike is putting out their last record.

Mike is a great guy. I've known him for 18 years and he's constantly been an example for me about how to conduct myself businesswise and as a human being. I'm lucky to have known him for so long and to continue to able to work with him. We also have our periods where we're busy and don't see each other. This might last for a few months or even a year. Whenever we would talk or hang out though, there's never any issues, hang-ups, nothing. I am blessed to have such a rich friendship with him.


How exactly did you decide on what bands and songs would be included on the soundtracks to your films?

I needed music and the movies were an extension of my life, so how could hardcore music not be in them? I love hardcore. The music was (and, in many ways, still is) the soundtrack to my life. I always considered myself fortunate to be able to use that music in my films. I also love that I can watch my films and they serve as a document of what I was listening to the most at that particular time.


Your film CURSE OF INSTINCT: 108's FINAL TOUR painstakingly documented the Hare Krishna hardcore band 108's final U.S. tour in 1996. How and why did you decide on that band as the subject for one of your films?

108 was one of those bands that I may not have been on the same page with in a lot of ways but the best thing about hardcore is that that didn't matter. Their music was and is insanely personal. Their power and passion behind it grabbed me. Also, before I knew anything about the band, I learned that Rob Fish had lost his mother to Lupus. I was 20 year old when I found out about that and I believe that he and I are roughly the same age. I saw all the things he was doing with his bands and I was just impressed that somebody so young could be living their life that way.

I started listening to 108 and Ressurection a lot more after that. I had been a huge fan of Inside Out and I loved how passionate Vic was about his music. I remember Chris Daly, on a 108 tour in 1994, telling me that Vic was MIA. Nobody had heard anything from him for like a week. Then, he showed up with a demo containing something like 10 songs for 108's third record. I loved that!

So, while I am not a Hare Krishna or a vegetarian, none of that mattered. I didn't see myself making a documentary on Krishna. I was making a film on a brutally defiant hardcore band that really stood for something.

I'd also heard some negative things about these guys on tour and some of my friends told me not to make the film. I don't know what was and wasn't true but during my time with those guys, they were hospitable, gracious, funny, entertaining and thought provoking. It made the whole experience one of the most important things I've ever done in my life. I am grateful that they allowed me to document them so intimately.


Do you have any funny or interesting stories/memories from that tour that you'd like to share?

Well, it is all pretty much in the documentary that I made. I shot 22 hours of footage over something like 14 days. I edited it down to 51 minutes. The thing is, those guys were all really funny. I messed up a lot of what I was shooting because they had me laughing so much. I think about things now and I still laugh. Those guys were grinders. They were relentless in touring, making their dates and putting on the best show that they possibly could.


Is CURSE OF INSTINCT: 108's FINAL TOUR ever going to receive a proper DVD release and if so, when? If not, why not?

It might. That is something I need to talk to those guys about. When I made that movie, I was getting them at the final two weeks of a 6 week tour (four of it was in Europe). Vic had just gotten over malaria, Rob started my portion of the tour with bronchitis (and still sang every night) and so I only got a small snippet of the band.

A better way to go might have been to have tried to make a more comprehensive documentary. I just didn't have the money or the time. I had the footage I had from the final two weeks of that tour so that is why I billed it as their final tour in the U.S. That's what it was at the time.

It would be cool to put the movie out on DVD but I'd like to interview those guys again and make that an extra on the DVD.


Your 1999 film SCHUSTERMAN LEVINE: A BOXING FABLE has recently been properly released on DVD in the U.S. (click here to order a copy). In what ways does this DVD differ from the 2 on 1 DOGS IN QUICKSAND/SCHUSTERMAN LEVINE DVD released several years ago?

This new version of SCHUSTERMAN LEVINE: A BOXING FABLE is 70 minutes long instead of only 47, which that other DVD release two years ago was. Also, that other DVD release was a bootleg of sorts as it was licensed to a company who had a falling out with my distributor.

When I completed SCHUSTERMAN LEVINE: A BOXING FABLE in 1999, I got it done after spending $15,000 on it. I had shot a lot of footage and only managed to salvage a 47 minute film. Due to a lack of funds at that point, I couldn't sit in an editing room and "find the film." I had to go in 100% prepared and that is what I did.

Flash forward 11 years and I have a Mac with Final Cut Studio on it. It had always bothered me that SCHUSTERMAN LEVINE: A BOXING FABLE was incomplete. So I started working on it over the weekends. I put in a bunch of interview footage with real fighters, trainers and various other boxing notables talking about Schusterman Levine. I was able to "find the film" now because I had more experience and I didn't have to worry about money.

Now, after watching it in its new form, all I can say is that I don't know where so much of the weirdness that is in this film came from. I mean, it is an odd story, filled with odd characters, inspired by an amalgam of odd movies that I love. I am very happy that it is now available in its proper form.


You are currently hard at work on your 9th film, ORANGE COUNTY HARDCORE SCENESTER. Discuss that film. Also, what's the anticipated release date?

ORANGE COUNTY HARDCORE SCENESTER covers the Orange County, California hardcore scene from 1990 to 1997. It isn't being done like a lot of other documentaries where talking heads tell the story. Don't get me wrong, I love that. I was just really inspired by THE KID STAYS IN THE PICTURE and Stewart Copeland's movie EVERYONE STARES: THE POLICE INSIDE OUT. Those films are told with film, video, still images and they are narrated so that they tell a very interesting story. That is what I am hoping to achieve with ORANGE COUNTY HARDCORE SCENESTER.

Right now, the rough edit of the movie is looking like it's going to be 4 hours long! Ultimately, it will be about 100 minutes. I plan to have the rough cut done by August or September of this year. It will hopefully be completed by November 2010. After that, I want to do a college/festival circuit tour with the film. Then I want to take it to Europe. After that, it will come out on DVD and whatever other formats are popular and being used.


Other upcoming/future projects

I am currently rewriting a horror screenplay called INSECT that will most likely be my next animated movie. It is a cross between PHANTASM and THE GATE.

Beyond that, I have a new screenplay that I am working on titled THAT GUY. It is a distant cousin to a script that I wrote in 2001 called HOW I LOST MY MIND AND KILLED SOMEONE. HOW I LOST MY MIND AND KILLED SOMEONE seems like it's about to get funded and made by director Joel Viertel.

I have a bunch more scripts to write and a new, young adult fiction book that I have written longhand that I need to type up titled JD. It is about a boy named RJ who can't seem to stay out of trouble. His mom is sick, so his grandfather moves in to try to straighten RJ out. His big brother, a neighborhood legend and tough guy, is also due to get out of jail. As you can guess, if you are familiar with the author S.E. Hinton, I am very inspired by her. JD is my RUMBLE FISH.

4 comments:

Timmy Lunsford said...

The MASH

whore said...

where can one find the Walking Between the Raindrops movie?

Jake said...

Walking Between the Raindrops can be purchased here - http://amzn.com/B002FL3IIS

Jake said...

And here - http://amzn.com/B003YHB7M6