Flimed

Rise and Shine: Jay Demerit Story

Posted by on Jul 6, 2011 in Featured Category, Flimed | 0 comments

Rise and Shine: Jay Demerit Story

Rise and Shine: The Jay DeMerit Story

 

Unemployment in California is at an 11.7% rate, the second highest in the United States.  I’ve seen it first hand with so many of my friends without jobs for nearly two years. Also, I know personally what defeat or hopelessness one goes through in such hard times.  It’s been nearly a year since I’ve been laid off and still trying to search for a job.

 

I always heard timing was crucial in life, for instance, knowing when a fresh pizza is ready to eat, telling a joke, meeting the right girl and watching a movie.  (?) Yes, you read correctly: watching a movie.

A documentary film called Rise and Shine without any major studio support was touring the soccer community to raise funds for it’s own production. It was in its early stages of editing by first time director Nick Lewis when he showed it at British bar, The Olde Ship located in Santa Ana, CA.

Jay Demerit and Lehmann

(Spoilers) It gives us a unique perspective how Jay DeMerit (US national soccer player) grows up playing soccer in a football state – Wisconsin!  The daily struggles to become a professional athlete helped him over come odds to eventually be a captain on a Premier team in Europe.

In current conditions prosperity is scarce and people need this movie to remind themselves to bring their dreams alive again.  In other words “not giving up…”.

Jay’s story gives hope at that end of the tunnel.

“A light at the end of the tunnel”

 

 

Q&A with Nick Lewis and Jay DeMerit:

Flipflopsneeded: Nick, I contacted you via email and noticed quickly your tag signature stated you’re a lawyer.  How did a lawyer get into the film world?

 

Nick Lewis: I have always loved soccer and film.  Anyone who knows me would label me a “soccer junkie.”  I met Jay when he was in college through a mutual friend, Ranko Tutulugdzida.  Ranko and Jay played at UIC (Chicago) together.  Years later when Jay popped up at Watford and then on the USMNT I started following him a bit more and looked into his story.  It struck me because it is something that I would have loved to have done, to just go for it.

 

Flipflopsneeded: How did you and Jay start this project?

 

Nick Lewis: About 6 months before the World Cup the idea popped into my head, we need to document Jay’s story now.  The World Cup is something every player dreams of.  For Jay to make it the way that he did is something that won’t come around again… or for a long time.  It really is a story that people in Hollywood dream of and write down and pay people to act out.  But with Jay it was real, and it was something that needed to be captured.  I talked with Ranko and the idea clicked right away. So we approached Jay and he obliged.  Originally we were just going to oversee things as we knew a professional director who had experience in the soccer world.  However, approximately one week before we were set to begin shooting he dropped out due to family problems.  So we had a choice – let the film die or go forward on our own.  The thing is we had no formal film experience.  Luckily, we had a talented cinematographer and a lot of people to interview who really cared about Jay’s story.  We completely winged it and learned as we went.  To be honest, it was so time sensitive we didn’t have time to think about it.  We pieced the money together as we went, crashed at Jay’s in London, his parents in Green Bay, friends in Chicago, and even ran out of money to go to South Africa.  We ended up just sending our cinematographer with a lot of instructions and some prayers.  Luckily everything came out amazing. He was able to capture incredible footage that summed up the feel of the World Cup as well as street games in townships that very few foreigners have been able to see.

 

Flipflopsneeded: This is your first film project for you and what hurdles are constantly being jumped:

 

1.   editing?

2.   Copyrights?

3.   Funding?

4.   ….

 

Nick Lewis: Well, my answer above starts to sum it up.  Funding is a problem for a few reasons.  We have had zero Hollywood backing and are self-funded the shooting of it.  However, the licensing rights for English Premier League and World Cup is some of the most expensive sports footage in the world.  So at this point we are trying to raise the money via Kickstarter to license the footage to show on a large scale.  We are literally working round the clock to raise the funds. Jay and ourselves love the idea of having the film made possible by the fans (as opposed to a big investor or Hollywood company).  It will really add to the story and we are hopeful that it will happen.

 

Flipflopsneeded: Being dyslexic I had to overcome so many hurdles to come to where I am and understand Jay’s story on over coming the odds.  How has this story impacted you in your own life?

 

Nick Lewis: The film starts out with a quote – “The poorest man on earth is not one without a cent, it is one without a dream.”  That sums up Jay’s story as well as the film.  Somewhat analagous to Jay’s story, we had a dream to make the film, even though we didn’t have an experience.  Our original title for the film was “A Story That Needs to be Told.”  We knew we needed to tell the story and aren’t going to stop until it is told.  Jay’s story as well as the way the film came about demonstrate the power of the mind.  If you put your mind to things you can achieve them.  You know this as well as I do if not better.  It is easier to say No or just not do something that it is to go for it.  But to be successful you need to dream and put in the effort.  It has impacted my life because it has helped me realize just how powerful the mind is.  Barriers can be broken down and hurdles can be overcome, positive thinking is an amazing tool to have.

 

Flipflopsneeded: What’s your favorite premier team besides Jay’s team?

 

Nick Lewis: Arsenal. I bleed Arsenal and bleed a lot these past few years.  Also Vancouver Whitecaps!

 

Flipflopsneeded: Jay, I watched the film and noticed it was a risky move going to Europe to find a club to hire you on the spot as an “unknown” player. What was the key motivation for being so persistent?

Jay DeMerit down Bellamy

Jay DeMerit: I think my key motivation was to expect the struggle, enjoy the adventure that came along with it and to always try to recognize and be ready for any opportunities that came along the way.. I knew when I had trials i had to be the best player on the field because I was that “unknown” guy.

 

Flipflopsneeded: Would you recommend it to younger players to follow your footsteps?

 

Jay DeMerit: I always recommend people to get out of their comfort zones and dream big. Paths will always be different so its hard to say “do what I did” but I think its important to believe that things like this can happen..

 

Flipflopsneeded: What would you have done differently?

 

Jay DeMerit: To be honest, I don’t think i would have done anything different.. The whole process, the ups and downs made me who i am today..

Jay Demerit and Drogba

 

Flipflopsneeded: Are you still hiding food around?

If not – can you cook?

If so, what your favorite dish to cook?

 

Jay DeMerit: Haha, I might hide a few sweets from time to time to keep them to myself 🙂 i do enjoy cooking my own food these days.. I would probably cook stuffed mushrooms and a nicely grilled steak..

 

Flipflopsneeded: Nick, What do you need from the soccer community?

 

Nick Lewis: We need people to support the project and spread the word.  There are very few soccer films out there and none like Jay’s.  Please log onto http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1370261090/rise-and-shine-the-jay-demerit-story for more info.  Do everything you can, this story can help grow the sport of soccer in the U.S.

 

 

 

 

Looking for Lenny – Q&A with Matt Amar

Posted by on May 17, 2011 in Featured Category, Flimed | 0 comments

Looking for Lenny – Q&A with Matt Amar

 

 

 

 

 

The Truth:

“Let me tell you the truth. The truth is, what is and what should be is a fantasy, a terrible-terrible lie that someone gave the people a long time ago”

 

-Lenny Bruce

Looking for Lenny

Q&A with Matt Amar by Flipflopneeded

Matt Amar: Ah yes! Nice research Flipflopsneeded! His most wonderful quote to me. This one and “In the halls of justice, the justice is in the halls”. This displayed a lot of sensitivity on his part; The ability seeing through that lie. This is what fascinated him and got him up on stage to speak and this attracted so many to him because they felt these words, but yet were unable to express them in public themselves. But shortly after Lenny, that all changed didn’t it?


Producer Matt Amar

 

 

Matt Amar is an American actor, writer, and producer.  A native of Southern California, Amar’s first experience in front of the camera occurred in 1993 when Director Kevin J. Dobson picked him out of a crowd for a background scene in the television show “Acapulco Heat”. Although Amar was vacationing with friends at the time, he loved acting so much that he extended his stay to work on the show. In July 2010, Amar founded Leomar Pictures.  Additional credits include Descension (2007), Hollywoodland (2006), and 5 Minutes (2005).

 

He’s latest role is producing documentary feature called “Looking for Lenny”.

 

Flipflopsneeded: What extent of information did you know about Lenny Bruce?

Matt Amar: I did know of Lenny Bruce before this project. Not to the extent that I can speak about him or his legacy now. I pretty much knew he was a comic who revolutionized comedy but now I understand the scope and range he has contributed in law, politics, sexuality and reshaping popular American culture. He is someone I think about often and I now see the levels to which he still reaches in our consciousness and current popular culture. He really was and continues to be The Shit!


Flipflopsneeded: I was fortunate enough to catch you filming “Finding Lenny” in its early stage. How has it matured after the final cuts?


Matt Amar: The film became something entirely different from what you saw early on. My role was removed from the film because certain networks and sales agents said, “Matt’s storyline is cool but it will never be distributed because he’s ”unknown” (this is what they call in the Bizz “Star F*****G”) So I agreed to have the main focus be on Lenny’s influence on today’s debate of freedom of speech. It’s a great film, I think!

Flipflopsneeded: I’m pretty surprised. What performance I saw was heart felt and engaging and it sucks too considering my next question. What was the hardest reenactment the early years or later down the line?

Matt Amar – Even though the film was recut without my storyline, I still did months of extensive research early on. I would pester Kitty over the phone “Kitty, what cologne did your Dad wear, did he chew gum? What kind of food did he like? What were his daily routines?” etc. She gave me intimate details about him and was very generous. She provided all the answers to me as an actor in order to prepare a role from the inside out. I read every book, transcribed most of his performances for about 1 1/2 years. I spoke with all of his living friends, associates etc. I would have been a formidable challenge to Dustin Hoffman!

Flipflopsneeded:  Now, I’m dying to see the deleted scenes! Just curious, what team do you favor more, Manchester United or Liverpool?

Matt Amar: If I have to choose between Man U and Liverpool I’m going to have to choose Manchester United. I love watching Hernandez do his thing. Viva Mexico!

Flipflopsneeded: With Lenny Bruce being “Blacklisted” from many venues have you ever been ostracized in anyway?

Matt Amar: I mean Lenny Bruce put himself out there to be loved, applauded and yet torn, persecuted and eventually broken. I can only say that I think every human being feels a certain sense of being an ‘’outsider’’ at some point in his/her life. To answer your question, yes, I was a fat kid and I paid dearly for it. Society does not treat overweight individuals with any sense of compassion whatsoever. So from about 1986-1990 I was very overweight. If it weren’t for the fact that I excelled in baseball my self- esteem would have been in the toilet. I would have ended up on drugs and dead probably. It turned around in about 8th grade and finally as a freshman in High School. Those were the dark years in my life and still contribute to me still in the therapist’s chair today.

Flipflopsneeded: I caught a clip of Lenny on the Steve Allen show at his early years. I saw a piece of his act and noticed the same mannerisms Jerry Lewis kinda had…

Flipflopsneeded: Has Jerry Lewis ever mentioned biting his style or ever mentioned admiring Lenny?

Matt Amar: Yeah, that was earlier on in Lenny’s career. The head twitch and all…I can kind of see what you’re talking about. That was late night TV in the late 1950’s and censorship ruled so Steve Allen was risque for those times as well.  The two (Bruce Lewis) were completely different in their styles. Lewis was a physical comic and played it safe and had a thriving career.  I think Lenny could have chosen the same path and had a wonderful and safe career but he liked and enjoyed being who he was and crafting a style he thought was truthful and natural to how he viewed the world and his role in it. That’s why he’s credited with ”changing” satire not contributing and perpetuating an already safe, predictable form of it. This is why we’re paying homage to him 45 years later! Like Troy Duffy says in the film “He took it on the snout so others didn’t have to”.

Flipflopsneeded: Did Lenny think there were rivals?

Matt Amar: I think that if Lenny found anyone to be a rival it was most likely Mort Sahl and I’m sure the feeling is mutual. Mort was being more politically slanted but he was straight edged, middle-class and graduated from USC for Christ’s sake! Lenny always wanted to be associated with the cool, the Black jazz cats in the basement in his black trench. Mort stood on stage with a newspaper folded under his arm in a cashmere V-neck and flew the country with JFK. Mort had the ear of many people and I’m sure this intrigued Lenny but they were very different in their styles. I think Lenny wanted to reach the level of success Mort had reached and he has exceeded it because he took a huge risk and suffered for it. He died very young.  He branded himself with cool and hip and that brand always comes back around down the generations as it has done with us in telling this story again.

Flipflopsneeded:  When can we see “Looking Lenny”?

Matt Amar: Looking For Lenny  screened in Paris France, April 15th at “Beat Generation Days” a showcase that highlighted the work and influence of 50’s & 60’s Beat poets Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Jim Haynes and others. It was developed by curator, Steve Krief. It was shown alongside James Franco’s film “Howl” about the obscenity trial for the publication of the poem by the same name that was dated pre-Lenny Bruce. Krief did a wonderful job at threading the two topics to demonstrate the influence Paris had on influencing the counter culture movement in America.   The film is making its North American Premiere May 7th, 2011 at the Toronto Jewish Film Festival.


Flipflopsneeded: What’s the next project for you? I hear there’s an up and coming comedian from Spain that wraps himself up in rope? Any interest doing that documentary?

 

Matt Amar: I’m in talks for something really big! But unfortunately, I can’t discuss it right now. Yes, I will be developing a script about a Catalanian Comedian named “Pobrecito”. He was a legend in the seaside port of “Puerto Olimpico” He is a legend in Spain. He died a very untimely death…the result of a severe beating and….well I think it’s too graphic to discuss to this audience. But look for it. I am thinking about bringing in Ryan Yurada a fine Italian editor from Trieste Italy and Scott McGuckin, a well-known spirit Distiller from Doheny Ireland to Co-Produce. (this part is all an inside joke dear readers. Nothing here is factual)

Comedian in Spain they ran into while on vacation.

http://www.tjff.com

 


Stoked and Broke

Posted by on May 4, 2011 in Flimed | 1 comment

Stoked and Broke
Newport Beach Film Festival 2011 / Stoked and Broke

Newport Beach Film Festival 2011 showing Stoked and Broke

KORDUROY.tv

Newport Beach Film Festival

 

Film Festival onlooker

Looking for Stoked and Broke

Stoked: as Urban Dictionary states: is to be completely and intensely enthusiastic, exhilarated, or excited about something. ( for my non-cali audience )

Film Festival attendee

Women Stoked she found the correct film to watch

 

Broke: if you live in this economy you know very well what that means.

 

Stoked and Broke

Can you imagine trolling around with a make-shift rickshaw filled with surfboards, camping gear, and bare necessities, all while the sun is beaming down your back and the surf is a flip flop’s throw away?  Yes – Cyrus Sutton and Ryan Burch manage 30 miles on foot, not down the coast of Costa Rica, Australia or South Africa, but through their own back yard – San Diego, California.

 

(Spoiler) The twist is: They’re both broke and find inventive ways to support their travel, from selling legal herbs to selling hand-made t-shirts.

 

This isn’t the typical surf movie with the huge waves, punk rock music, and the ever-so-present size 1 bikini babes surrounding the “surfer”.

 

It’s more than that. I mean much more… The film being 58 mins (not a spoiler) was comparable to any emotional roller coaster you could have in a two-hour feature.  Forget the main storyline,  the sub-story line showcases while having the time of your life there is a price to pay.  For instance, Steve Ferguson, a knee boarder, who lives in his VW van, is weary on where to park every night. He finds himself very stoked on surfing at the right time but reality hits hard seeing any bright future ahead of him.  It’s a dialy battle whether or not to spend food money because it could cost him the next time around.  That’s where the movie took a turning point. As Cyrus narrates, “Hearing Steve’s life showed me there is a limit to the vacation.”

 

Yes, you’ll have the incredible scene at Black’s Beach and the endless skills Ryan Burch showcases with a foam board.   But don’t under estimate Cyrus’ humble description of his own style of surfing. Let me say… “The only reason why I started surfing was seeing Cyrus surf”.

 

No more spoilers… I can mention another heart felt storyline but you’d have to buy a ticket and watch the movie.

 

Thank you Newport Beach Film Festival for showcasing this one of a kind movie and to Leslie Feibleman for hosting and the passes.  ( the perks for being a writer )

 

Flipflopsneeded with Leslie Feibleman

Leslie Feibleman (Lt) and Flipflopsneeded (Rt) at 2011 Newport Beach Film Festival