My Memories Have Escaped Me

A while back I did this short to the song “I don’t Remember a Thing” by Paul Kelly. I’m not wild about the song to be honest, but I liked the idea of an amnesiac learning that he did some messed up stuff the day before. Because of the long chorus, I had a lot of freedom on how to fill that in, so I went and had fun with that.

This was also the first time I got to work with some people I’ve now grown close too. So I’m pretty thankful for that. Especially Catherine for letting me abuse her (carefully) in many ways until I found what I wanted.

Room 131

We wrapped production around 10 pm tonight/last night for “Room 131”. This was my last production with the 4381 crew, and I’m thankful for my time with everyone and to have been able to help out on set as a key grip. Here’s a random pic I snapped of our prop/set decor of Mary. Looking forward to the watch party on Thursday.

 

Room 131 is officially locked down!

We just wrapped “Room 131” and while this was technically the last production I’ll be working on for a bit, I will certainly miss it and working with genuinely amazing people! See you guys soon!

Poor Herman Wrap up

This is just one of many of the BTS photos from the set of “Poor Herman” that I had the amazing pleasure of working on. Horror, violence, and pure talent.

CALLED UP | My First Short Film

Hi, everyone!

It’s been a long time coming, but I’m excited to announce that my first short film, “CALLED UP”, is finally out! I directed and produced this project, along with co-writing the script. A lot of work was put into this, and it’s been a very fun process, despite any difficulties that many have come along the way. I feel a weight lifted. I’m normally incredibly self-critical, and I personally know what could have been done better in the result or in the process, now, but I’m just grateful and proud of our work. I’m just glad the result of all of our time and efforts can finally be seen.

This story, this production, these people that helped me bring this to life–they all mean a lot to me. A special shoutout to Andro Salazar, who’s a familiar face in 4381 and stars in this film as Aurelio.

“CALLED UP”–After the passing of their best friend Aurelio, two friends play one last game with him at their favorite baseball field.

A story about joy, coming of age, and moving forward.

I hope you enjoy this piece.

A Story From A Song

I wanted to share this video I made based on the song Banks of the Ohio by Olivia Newton John. Thank you to everyone who helped on the production!

 

 

CoogTV: The Last Visit

After losing a production day due to a possible COVID-19 exposure, we shot a horror film in a total of 15 hours (two shoot days). This was my second time producing and Leandro Salazar’s second time directing, but his first true directing gig as he was directing solo. The crew was amazing and we all put our hearts and souls into pre-production and production work, so despite the setbacks and things out of control, the shoot itself went so smoothly and I’m so proud of everyone and to have gained this experience. This is definitely one of the most ambitious projects CoogTV has ever done, and I’m thankful for how much effort and care was put into this to ensure it was as professional and efficient as possible. The talent in the picture below is A1.

Desert Hearts and Visibility

“My only clear memory is arriving. The rest is a blur. An absolute blur.”

It’s 1985: The push for gay rights feels stagnant. Aids is still “the gay plague,” ignored by the Reagan administration and taken seriously only in pockets of the U.S.. Slurs are commonplace, sexual education is limited, and, needless to say, it’s a difficult time to come out. It’s in this year that Desert Hearts (dir. Donna Deitch, 1985) is released – a criminally underseen American romance that deserves recognition for its craft, performances, tenderness, and defiance during a time of immense, sweeping homophobia.

The backdrop is Reno, Nevada, circa 1959: moments of silence on a dusty railroad are taken over by the distant squealing of tracks. A train saunters into the frame, crawling to a stop. Vivian (played by Helen Shaver) carefully steps off to see Frances (Audra Lindley), an older woman with a Southern charm, despite living in the Northwest. She’s arrived here to establish residency – after six weeks, this move will make her divorce swift. The distance, in theory, makes it less painful.

They set off in a truck to Frances’ guest ranch, where Vivian is staying before she finalizes the split. On the ride there, a dot forms on the desert horizon further down the road: a car speeds down the opposite side of the highway and jolts at their side, switching to reverse. Cay (Patricia Charbonneau) drives alongside them, backwards, shouting niceties at Frances and taking a welcome note of Vivian.

Vivian’s presentation and personality are a stark contrast to her new surroundings. She’s an English professor from the New York North her demeanor is suited, her attitude tact and proper. Straight-laced and decidedly straight. Throughout her time on the ranch, she doesn’t shy away from letting the emotional weight of her marital affairs be known. Still, she refuses to be vulnerable.

On the other hand, Cay wears her heart on her sleeve; she projects herself the way she likes, sleeps with whoever she wants (men, women, and swingers alike), and says what she means. She recognizes the loneliness in Vivian and becomes fixated on the idea of seducing her. The relationship between the two blossoms as they grow closer together, through cracked smiles and whip-smart dialogue (“I won’t take off my robe.” Well, we all have to draw the line somewhere.“)

The chemistry on display here is intoxicating. Whenever Vivian lets go and loses herself in Cay, it’s mind-melting. It’s like the film freezes and they’re each left entirely aloneindividualized, seen through each other. It’s so cathartic that it feels like voyeurism.

This becomes the place – in each other’s arms, away from their surroundings (though Cay would be much more content if they acted outwardly and held it on their sleeves). The two continue to meet. Frances inevitably catches wind of their relationship: “You people,” “sinning,” and “never understand it” are thrown around willingly, and Vivian’s time on the ranch, along with her relationship to Cay, is put in jeopardy. Cue the rest of the film.

While watching, it becomes apparent that there isn’t much support in their surroundings. The men are a negative presence entirely. Every man we encounter feels like an obstacle – the closest we get to a positive contribution is one half of a couple that Cay has sex with, who, bare minimum, genuinely listens to what the two have to say after asking about their lives. Otherwise, they leer, judge, and treat the two like objects. None have good intent in their interactions; they all assume that they exist for them.

Later on in the film, Vivian walks up to a gambling table at the casino where Cay works. Immediately, she’s pulled in by a wealthy, stump-nosed man who wants to “teach her the game.” She wins; he tries to congratulate her with a kiss. Cay, while tending the slot machines, is grabbed at, touched, and catcalled. At home, Vivian is pursued unconsentingly in her own room by Frances’ son. The family she stays with is judgmental and openly critical. Support is only found in smaller spaces from other women.

In the Casino locker rooms, Cay and her best friend Silver (Andra Akers) recount the long work days and make a point to check in with each other. Solace, still, is limited – the two work under the thumb of a male manager who constantly ogles his femme coworkers and continuously pursues Cay. Wherever they go, they’re bothered. Their existence and expectations are held to heteronormativity. Their only escape is in private. The relationship that forms between Vivian and Cay feels genuinely defiant and sacred.

This is an intimate story of love painted across rolling, dusty hills and pink sunsets, driven by a need for self-discovery. A film emblematic of both its time and now, Desert Hearts showcases the difficulty of projecting oneself openly  and acting as you are in a heteronormative environment. The complexity and tenderness of its characters are served graciously through the film’s meditative pace and the curated words that Cay and Vivian share with one another. It’s bonkers how well everything works together and how such complexity is found in something that, on paper, is straightforward.

The context of its release as an explicitly queer narrative emboldens what is already a fantastic film. Desert Hearts is a dream worth your time – and if the rawness of its romance isn’t enough, the smiles, timelessness, and sparse Nevadian scenery absolutely will be.

(Available on the Criterion Channel)

Crimson Spite

I had the pleasant ability to work hands on with fake blood for the first time myself… and can I say it is a mess! Post shoot was a 3 hour cleanup by myself to rid the house of the blood stained footprints and splash marks from the *shower shot*. I’m a big fan of how it looks however, this being just a small taste of the song story project being edited right now! Keep tuned in!