Sunday, September 16, 2007
EL MUERTO opening night
Friday night was our opening night at the Laemmle Grand 4-Plex in Downtown Los Angeles! Finally a theatrical run! I've always dreamed we'd get an art-house release, so this run at the Laemmle fullfilled that one. Here's me inside the lobby:
We hosted a Q&A after the 7:20 screening. Screenwriter/director Brian Cox and I fielded questions and comments from the audience. It was great to share the spotlight with Brian, as he was previously neck deep in other productions during the other film festivals we've attended. Films are really the domain of the director, and in this case he also wrote the script. So for him to hear from and talk to the audience gave me a great deal of satifaction.
Afterwards we all posed for the obligatory pics in the lobby. Here's a trio of us from Whittier, the place I've called home for umpteen years. I'm flanked on the right by my old friend Tony Saxon. We met last century in college and for several years attended Comic Con together with other friends (until I had to get uppity and become a publisher/exhibitor!). The gentleman tp my left is Martin Espino, a musician who I met a couple of years ago at one of my signings in Whittier. Turns out that during post-production, my director was looking for someone who could sing in Nahuatl (the Aztec tounge) as well as perform the indigenous pre-Columbian music so prevelant in our film. I got Brian in touch with Martin and next thing you know, another Whittier artist gets involved in the Muerto movie! (Our head make-up artist, Mark Bautista, also hails from Whittier)
Keith Rainville also showed up. A friend of mine I've met several years ago, Keith is publisher of the fabled FROM PARTS UNKOWN, a zine that helped to spread the work about the world of masked Mexican culture called Lucha Libre. Kieth's publishing online now, and also has his hand in creating a major animated lucha libre cartoon called LOS CAMPEONES.
This nice group shot includes me, and starting on my left: Tony Humeke, our film composer who really enhanced the picture with his atmospheric score, director Brian Cox, Marin Espino, and film editor Chris Wright. Nice to see some of the filmmakers and thier families out enjoying the film on the big screen.
Without a doubt, the key creative person on this project was our writer and director, Brian Cox. The shear amount of determination and hard work to get the film made was, to me, astronomical. Regardless the size of the budget, any film involves so many elements. Not only on the creative/artistic side, but technical issues, logistical problems, marketing differences, money availability and the usual case of politics! His personal take on the story and the characters, while of course taken directly from my comic book, really won me over. I saw a story unfold that I would not have thought of to write myself, so I had the duel pleasure of having my comic adapted to film, but at the same time see an original story unflold before my eyes. So many people were involved in making our film: the Leones, our executive producers, for financing the project, our producer Larry Rattner for putting the deal and film together, all of our crew and cast. Everyone gets my gratitude and respect.
But I often tell people that there would not be an EL MUERTO film if I didn't feel that Brian was the right person to make the film. I signed the deal ulimately because I believed in his orginal vision for the film, his promise of collaboration with me, and mostly the honesty I felt in him to do right by the comic and me. All these elements I'm glad to report turned out to be true. Hollywood often gets a bad rap (and it's self-inflicted, of course) but Brian Cox turned out to be a real stand-up guy, an artist with unwavering passion, a man of integrity and, I'm glad to say, a good friend.
Next up for us is the DVD release this tuesday, Sept. 18. And on thurday, I'll be at the Oxnard Independent Film Festival introducing the opening night film, EL MUERTO! In the meantime, it's about noon on sunday, and I'm taking my girlfriend to see a movie in Downtown Los Angeles. It's called EL MUERTO.
Taking my girl to see my movie. No having to dress up, no Q&A afterwards, no having to put on my filmmaker face. Just gonna buy us a pair of tickets, get us some popcorn and soda pop, watch the movie and catch lunch in Little Tokyo after.
Best date ever.