Grεεk Leak

December 12th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Zach here. Nandan got a new project going over the summer. He went to the guys he recently made a movie about – Nick and Tor of HAWAIIAN PUNCH – and asked them to make their own movie about him…a concept that must surely belong amongst the artsiest sequel ideas of all time. After a quick rundown of how to press record on the camera and audio equipment, they began shooting. In Greece this time. No idea what they came up with because my computer keeps freezing when I try to transcode the footage, but I did manage to get my eyes on couple of images. So I’m gonna leak one. I’m just gonna leak it out right here.
Picture 13
Behold, Newhard’s first movie franchise. Be on the lookout for this one and meanwhile brush up on the first installment below.

Slackjaw Rises

September 16th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink


Zach here. I’m in La Grande, OR right now and just two days away from the finish line of of Ian Clark’s new movie – A MORNING LIGHT. I’m acting. It’s fun. I can’t think of a better way to follow up my own project than to sit around for eighteen days looking pretty, not worrying about shit, and eating for free. Thanks, Ian. [UPDATE: I’m not in La Grande anymore but the fact that it was fun still stands.]
By contrast, however, August was a month fraught with uncertainty, tension, last-minute saves, and occasional high leisure. I’m referring to the production of SLACKJAW – the mildly political bromantic superhero origin dramedy I made with usual suspects Nandan, Rob, Brad, and Jesse – along with the indispensable help of several fine local yokels that I’ll introduce shortly.

While the project began as a complex excuse to restore the blog to former glory, things quickly spiraled out of control and the movie took over. We’re arguably not kids anymore, and even just a scant 35 continuous days of someone’s time/energy is becoming a lot to ask. That’s why I decided to skip a process that we in the industry refer to as pre-production and launched into shooting almost totally unprepared. Turns out it was a fucked up decision. Anyway, my point is that while I would have loved to provide a daily breakdown of our progress complete with pretty stills and fun anecdotes, it just wasn’t possible. That’s why I’m here now – to save face with a general description of what it was all like, and to highlight some of the individuals involved.
That’s Rob Malone checking himself out after a makeup test in his dressing room. At least one of Rob’s appendages appears in every single scene of the movie. He was the first person on board since at least eighteen months ago. He underwent a full-on Raging Bull-style transformation for the role, exploring and embracing the chill NW lifestyle. Bless him.
This is clearly Nandan. From our very first collaboration he displayed an unparalleled talent for putting the camera on a tripod and finding focus. And that was back then. This is Nandan 2.0. Observe the muscles and the effortless personal style. Look at that motherfucking Steadicam. Can you imagine how cool this movie must look?
The man on the right is Brad, looking timeless in his money print button down with the letters U, S, and A shaved/painted into the side of his dome. Brad produced the movie, but he is seen here reviving his brief role from THE INTERNATIONAL SIGN FOR CHOKING, which he also produced. He is always down for a cocktail and/or a deep thought no matter the hour or circumstances. In the above photo he is enjoying both after we shot our big Fourth of July sequence. On the left we have Ian Clark (mentioned above). Let’s get a closer look at him.
Ian is directing the movie I’m working on right now. He drove up from Portland just to hang out that day and found himself playing a key role in a handful of important scenes. Look at the dedication at play here. All in the span of a day, Ian submitted himself to a gross hot dog eating contest, multiple beers poured over his head, roman candles fired at his car, and – best of all – the haircut pictured above.
Here we have a classic behind the scenes image, with the camera looking high tech as ever. The more dedicated Newhard fans will recognize Kym (from YOU MAKE ME FEEL SO YOUNG) on the left, followed by Johanna and Martine. The three of them showed up on short notice one day and crushed their cameos. They are great. Fourth from the left we have Blaise. She had one of the larger roles in the movie. As is my custom, I cast her without any sort of audition or prior knowledge of her acting abilities. She exceeded all expectations and tore the role to shreds. I must have a demon watching over me, because I surely do not deserve this level of excellence. Hail Satan.
And here we have MaryJane. She is a punk singer/general performative genius. She appeared in a handful of scenes and every time she came to set we felt like frauds to have someone so rad hanging out with us. Check out that switchblade earring. You can’t write that.
In this corner, representing the corporate bro lifestyle, we have the Jesses. On the left is Jesse Ruiz, the Slackjaw MVP of handsome and high charisma. On the right is Jesse Rudoy, star of Nandan’s THE MEN OF DODGE CITY. Like Rob, Rudoy went deep method with his role – never shedding his fresh teal polo or ceasing his stream of improvised frat-grade witticisms. Not pictured is Alex Rivera, my since-day-one homie and critical third member of the movie’s bro-trio.
Speaking of corporate, here’s a taste of the movie’s high production value as evidenced by this sick sign my dad is holding behind the scenes of his brief cameo as a stock photo model. Psyched about that. Not pictured above but entirely worthy of thanks are people like Kanako, Peru, Chask’e, Kyle, Chris, Justine, Steve, Jahla/Kenny (who performed this beautiful music in one of my favorite scenes), and everyone who came to our shoots and delivered a line or simply walked/skated by in the background. Also thanks to Seth the campus cop who rolled by on a Segway while we were shooting in the Evergreen basement at night without permission (me wearing nothing but a sheet) and simply said, “Carry on.”

So that’s SLACKJAW. It’s a weird bird to be sure. I still don’t know how it’ll turn out in the end, but I needed to venture into strange territory and I thank all of the friends new/old who came with me. It was rarely easy and a few times it wasn’t even fun, but in accordance with Newhard law, we ended on a high note…
Screenshot 2014-08-25 15.59.15
The edit is well underway and I’ll probably serve up a teaser sooner or later just to keep myself pumped. [UPDATE: The edit is even more well underway and I made a silly teaser…]

Meanwhile, you can check out my previous movies on Fandor. I’m really excited about that. Also, if you’re in Seattle on Monday, Sept. 29, Brian Perkins’ movie SPEED OF SOUND will be playing Local Sightings at the NW Film Forum at 7pm. I acted in it and Brian is great. See you there or else see you here with future updates. [UPDATE: The screening happened and the movie was awesome. Look out for it.]

Surprise Guest Post

August 11th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Rob Here.  We’re currently in the middle of of shooting and we probably have had enough time to write a blog post, but we haven’t used that time to write a blog post. J.D. Amato is a close friend and  a post-production collaborator on several Newhard Entertainment Pictures. Last week while we were shooting/scouting a late-night location I was texting J.D. and asked him if he wanted to write a blog for us. He responded with this almost immediately.


Rob texted me to ask if I would write a blog post for the Slackjaw production. I’m tired so I’m just going to be honest. It’s the only part of my brain that still works late at night. I’m J.D. by the way. Now you know who is talking.

Right now my life is the Konami code. It’s the Konami code of the nineties: no internet, no handbook, no guarantee. Just a series of rumors from kids at lunch telling me that if I follow their instructions something special will be unlocked. Things have been a series of up-ups, down-downs, left-right-left-rights, and fuck what were the last two— select-start? I’m exhausted. I just spent the week in Los Angeles trying to articulate the kind of things I want to make. I just spent the week in Los Angeles. I just spent money to get from New York to Los Angeles and back so I can explain the kind of things I want to make. I loved it. It was the dream—but I still can’t remember if it’s select-start or a-b-a-b?

Slackjaw is still being filmed // Nandan, Zach, and Rob are three of my close friends. Not all three of them will believe this, but they are three people who always make me happy by just being around. A mix of inspiration and humble friendship. Zach thinks I hate him, but I don’t at all. I think Nandan and Rob know how much I like being around them. I see Rob every week, I see Nandan sometimes when I come home and he’s just waiting at my door to sleep on my couch, and I haven’t seen Zach since SXSW where he last thought I hated him. They are people I like to talk about.

I don’t know how Slackjaw is going // Every new project from Newhard could have a docu-biographical novel written about it. Some are cinematic successes, and some are just experiential adventures. I am envious of both. Slackjaw seems like it’s making up for the chasm between those two categories. It’s a film based loosely on an adventure. But, the team is back together and that’s what I think is important. There was an episode of Captain Planet where not all of the planateers could be there to summon Captain Planet so just a few of them put their rings together. The resulting Captain Planet was a fucked up weak moron. He had too much Heart and not enough water or something like that. This isn’t that Captain Planet. This is the full team. Full Heart, Full Earth, Full Water, Full Wind, and Full— are there any left? Truth? Fire? Imagine if one of the planteers could just set people on fire. That would really intensify the show. Is this the same crew from the other films? Maybe this is a fucked up Captain Planet?

I hope Slackjaw will be good // My guess is that right now Rob is either annoyed by someone or annoying someone. Rob seems at the heart of a lot of that kind of thing. Not because he causes it or attracts it, but because he is a beacon of truth. Nandan always appears calm and relaxed (I think they teach you this on your journey… what’s it called? your outing? Been three minutes still thinking of the word. Had to google it: Mission) but I bet he loses it sometimes. I’d love to see that. I hope he does. It can’t be healthy to not be furious sometimes. Zach has folded himself along a delicate line of complete non-chalance and high-stress. He seems to not care that he’s stressed out. That makes it easy to stop caring about your own stressors when you’re around him. I’ve always thought Zach would make a great archer or marksman in his old age.

Screenshot 2014-07-30 23.03.00

Slackjaw is already interesting // I always wish I was more involved in Newhard. I think the films they are making are films that will be written about at least in the footnotes of essays on modern cinematic movements. Eventually there will be mainstream directors that proudly present midnight screenings of Hawaiian Punch or The International Sign For Choking in revival theaters. I am impressed by them and they make me want to get my shit together.

I have a lot to do this week. A lot of my personal future hangs in the balance. I’m trying to be very Zach about it, but it’s hard for me. It’s been unusually cold at night. I have a lot of small projects I want to make and a lot of big projects teetering on the edge of existing. I have a lot of things I want to create and suddenly it feels like I need TSA agents to get all of the ideas into a line and make sure they don’t have bombs in their shoes or too much water. I don’t have any particular source of income and I have way too many sources of outcome. I’m not tired, which is usually a good excuse. I just have to get stuff done. I rearranged my bookshelf tonight because a friend said I had non-representative movies at eye-level and it made me look bad. I gave a bunch of my clothes to goodwill today. I got all of my travel clothes washed because I’m scared of travel bugs. I’ve been having very vivid dreams about my friends. I woke up this morning emotionally troubled by something I couldn’t remember. My therapist is going out of town for the month and I think that’s great because I could use the monetary relief. I have two dozen broken light bulbs on my desk and I keep telling myself I’m going to use them for an art project but I never do. I wonder how Slackjaw is going? Do they pay for meals for everyone? Do they pay their cast and crew? I wonder how much money Bummer Summer made.

Last week I was in Los Angeles talking about projects I want to make and this week Slackjaw is being filmed // I have never been one for codes, but now that I’ve spent a bunch of time on the menu screen trying to get the timing and buttons correct, I’m getting antsy. I wish I were making Slackjaw. But, instead I’m writing this blogpost from New York. Some people just play the game and skip the menu screen. They lose health, gain coins, die, get extra lives, and eventually make it to the end.  I always believed that these people experience the game more than everyone else. It can be frustrating and time consuming, but thats a part of it. One time I gave my apartment to Zach and Rob and Nandan when I was out of town. I came home to find them half-awake on my couch at 3am trying to beat a video game. They apparently hadn’t slept and Zach was adamant they finish the game. I went to sleep. Rob and Nandan fell asleep on the couch. At 5am I heard Zach quietly celebrate. He had beaten the boss. Lazaravic was dead. I wished I had stayed up and watched him beat it, but I was tired from traveling.

I should call Rob or Zach or Nandan and see how Slackjaw is going. Those guys work hard. Also, I don’t talk to them on the phone enough. Especially Zach who thinks I hate him. Why would I hate Zach? I wonder if Slackjaw will be any good.

J.D. Amato

Screenshot 2014-08-06 03.19.13

Dust it off…

July 17th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

From: Weintraub, Zach L (LNI)
Sent: Wednesday, July 16, 2014 8:44 AM
To: [names withheld]
Subject: Goodbye! (Cupcakes)
What’s up everybody? As Joyce just mentioned, this is my last day. Before I go I just wanna thank you all for being the chillest co-workers I’ve ever had. I was never stressed out or dreaded coming in and every day was consistently pleasant. So thanks! I think I really will miss working here. I brought in some cupcakes for you all to remember me by. Once they are gone you are free to either remember or forget me at your own discretion. I wish you all swiftness and accuracy.
Have fun! Goodbye!

Zach here. What happened? What year is it?

I’ve been buried beneath a Sisyphean stack of digital paperwork in the sunless corner of work-position CI58 on the third floor of the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries building in Tumwater, WA.

But today I woke up jobless – with the faint sense of a year having passed – to begin my shaky-legged ascent from the ashes with a hunger in my heart for former glory. Glory that we will document here.

Malone, Rao, Rudoy, Smith, and Weintraub are…

Where are we now?

December 5th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Zach here. We’re still around.

Three News Items

October 6th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Zach here. I have a few items to report.

Firstly, the Northwest Film Forum in Seattle was the site of a flawless Newhard takeover this past week during their annual Local Sightings Film Festival. The International Sign for Choking was screened to a packed house on opening night and followed by a rousing party that lasted until very late. I can report firsthand that illegal activity took place. Then, on Sunday, Nandan presented The Men of Dodge City to a sizable, receptive audience and wowed everyone with an Alain Robbe-Grillet reference during the Q&A. The movie went on to take top honors at the festival’s awards ceremony on Thursday night. I accepted the award in Nandan’s place and delivered a brief yet affecting address. After that, there was a closing night reception at which free beer was served.

Secondly, the AFI Fest in Los Angeles put out a press release revealing the programming of two of its sections. The International Sign for Choking was listed among the titles in the Young Americans section and will screen on November 2 at 4:15pm and on November 4 at 9:30pm. Tickets will be free and available in two or three weeks.

Lastly, our new movie has been tentatively titled You Make Me Feel So Young. With the exception of one final sequence, we finished shooting last weekend. A nearly completed version of the movie will screen as a work-in-progress during the Olympia Film Festival on November 12 at 5:00pm. Here is a brand new teaser that advertises the event:

If you’re in the area at that time, please come and share your thoughts on the movie.

Halftime Show

September 5th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Zach here. A month ago I wrote about how we were in the middle of shooting a new movie. Guess what?


It’s going alright, though (I’ve seen the first half so I can say that with certainty). And I’m still enjoying our new method of shooting in bursts despite the fact that it’s taking forever. Right now, Nandan is about twenty minutes away on an Olympia-bound train because tomorrow begins our third production period out of (hopefully) four. I figured that now wouldn’t be a bad time to share our progress, as well as some news about upcoming screenings.

Phase two of the shoot was generally pretty fun. And, in spite of the frighteningly last-minute producing that prompted my previous post (hilarious), things went smoothly. Highlights included the following:

We shot for the first time in one of our primary locations – the historic Capitol Theater, home to the Olympia Film Society. It’s really awesome inside and there are a ton of possibilities. So many possibilities, in fact, that we got a bit carried away and will probably be re-shooting a certain scene.

We shot our first scene with Kym, who has one of the main roles in the movie and is also the soon-to-be roommate of Justine and I.

My dad has a role.

We were visited by filmmaker Ian Clark, who appeared briefly in a scene that is almost certainly going to be cut from the movie. Sorry, Ian…and even more sorry to be informing you via blog. Shit is cold.

That’s all for now. Moving on, Seattle is about to get a major dose of Newhard at the end of the month. On Friday, September 28th at 7:00pm, The International Sign for Choking will open the Local Sightings Film Festival, hosted by Northwest Film Forum. Then, on Sunday, September 30th at 7:15pm, Nandan’s long-awaited Detroit project, The Men of Dodge City, will screen for the first time in any theater anywhere. We’ll probably be finishing up our shoot that week, so the screenings might serve double-duty as one of our notoriously numerous wrap parties. Get excited?

Let’s end with a second entry in my brand new, hastily conceived, “what it’s like to produce a movie” series:

What it’s like…

August 17th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

…to produce a movie.

The Calm That Is the Storm

August 8th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Zach here. When we last spoke, I was preparing for perhaps our biggest screening ever: The International Sign for Choking at BAMcinématek in New York. That place is the real deal. I saw Gena Rowlands do a Q&A there after A Woman Under the Influence. Peter Bogdonavich was the moderator. Anyway, our screening was a success. The place was packed. So many of my old friends came, a lot of new ones were there too and, most impressively, there were even several dozen strangers. Also, I was on TV in Spanish.

It may seem as though the movie was doing super well and then suddenly slowed down to a halt. I guess that’s kind of true, but we’ve already got three fall screenings lined up and all are very exciting.

But the real news is that we’ve been calmly and quietly shooting a new movie. I don’t have many details to tell – I don’t even have a title – but here are a couple of images:

We’re shooting one week on, one week off and editing during the breaks. I’m hoping that working this way will help us spot weak areas before it’s too late and figure out how to overcome them. It’s a technique we’ve always wanted to try, but haven’t ever had the luxury. This time, everything is being shot in Olympia and all of the cast/crew are local (except Nandan, who’s only one state away), so in theory we could just keep on shooting until we’re satisfied or until our energy runs out…whichever comes first. Wish us luck.

An anecdote. Earlier this week we shot a scene that involved the use of a popular medicinal herb known as marijuana. Always the consummate professional, I’d insisted upon what I thought would be an ineffective version of said herb. And yet, four takes and three joints later, lead actress/my girlfriend and I found ourselves locked in a spare bedroom (I said we were going to rehearse something new) frantically plotting to escape unnoticed. It was a low point. But then, two more takes and one more joint later…success! And bagel bar wrap party!

More updates to come! But until then, I’ve got something you can put on repeat. TISFC producer Bradley Smith just released a fiery hot music video for an equally sizzling new single from TISFC actors/friends OLGA. Check out this magic:


May 22nd, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Zach here. I hope that no one thought I was about to present back-to-back European/U.S. premieres and not blog about it. It took me two weeks to recover from the experience and to come up with an effective format for communicating exactly what happened. Since Brad and I spent the entire trip in uncomfortably close proximity, I felt it was only fitting that he have a hand in its retelling. So, we interviewed each other over the weekend.

But before we move on, I’d like to officially deliver some holy shit news that hasn’t been blogged thus far.

The International Sign for Choking will screen next month as part of BAMcinemaFest. In spite of the awkward name, this truly is a super elite, first class program and a major, unexpected honor for everyone involved with TISFC. It’s going to be a big boost for the movie, and “totally stoked” would be a feebly insufficient descriptor of my feelings about the whole thing.

And now, the interview:

ZACH: First things first. How hard was it to find weed in each city?

BRAD: At the start of our BAFICI to IndieLisboa to Maryland Film Festival run I was asked to work on “producing that chronic.” As a producer, I take my job very seriously.

I wanna back up a bit though. Pre-trip considerations…please describe the process and influences that informed your clothing and hair style choices in preparation for the trip?

ZACH: Anytime you go somewhere for less than a week, your physical appearance is crucial (unless you’re going here (sorry)). I’m not saying that you have to give a shit – because not giving a shit is an effective approach as well – but the fact is that really getting to know someone in such a short time is impossible, and so a big part of the impression that you make on people is gonna come from they way you look and carry yourself. With this in mind, I decided to shoot for the “new kid on the block” look. In one sense, I haven’t been doing this movie thing for very long and sometimes I feel too young to be taken seriously, so I felt that my best option was to just own that: bright colors and wacky patterns express eccentricity and my weird haircut says that I’m artsy, and yet kind of a loose cannon. In another sense, I literally just wanted to look like a member of New Kids on the Block.

Hopefully you’re paying attention, Brad. I’d like to see some bolder choices from you next time around. But moving on. Please discuss which elements of the trip were unique from a single man’s perspective.

BRAD: When home in Los Angeles, the routines of each day often obscure my ability to appreciate the constant chance of falling in love. I think it is always there if you are open to it. The added bonus of being on an international trip of course, is being surrounded by a new and different kind of beauty in each place. The walk. The style. The face. The eyes. As Carl Sagan said, “just think of the possibilities.” Making eye contact with beautiful strangers in a new city is intoxicating. It’s so honest and potent. When traveling while a significant other is back home, the connection stops there. But when single, you can walk around and take it all in, without preset limits on where each possible momentary interaction may lead. This in and of itself perpetuates a state of freedom and exploration very conducive to experiencing every moment, which I personally believe is the key to traveling. Each woman that passes by could become someone special, and that is a thrilling way to live. I fell in love with each city and its people, but I think someone spiked the water down in Buenos Aires. To quote a wiser man, “…all these Italian and Spanish genes have been stewing for generations. It’s like a science experiment.”

Baltimore’s most eligible bachelors.

Since you did have a lady holding down the fort back in the Northwest, I am wondering if you were somehow less distracted and got more out of the whole experience. Would you have any advice, or possibly describe your festival “strategy” in regards to how the average festival-goer could benefit from your experiences and pick from a busy program containing many worthwhile films?

ZACH: You know, I think that I could benefit much more from the average festival-goer’s strategy than they could benefit from mine. Mine is that I don’t have one. It’s just that catalogs can be so overwhelming. I’ll try to make a list ahead of time, but it usually gets left unfinished. So I take it day by day and will typically decide what I’m going to see as soon as I wake up. Also, I would say don’t feel obligated to see something just because you met the filmmaker. It’s a nice gesture and I do it as often as I can for good karma…but when movies have conflicting schedules, just go with the one that you straight up want to see more.

But if you meet either of these people, go see their movie no matter what.

What about food though? Could you describe your favorite meal of the trip and the circumstances surrounding that meal?

BRAD: Oh man, so many good ones. One of my favorites that you already mentioned in your previous blog post was Julio’s, and another was my last night in Argentina. It was such a lovely home-cooked goodbye with some of my favorite people…I would be lying if I said that notions of blowing off the whole festival tour and just parking it in Buenos Aires weren’t swirling in my mind. But if I had to choose I am going to go with a low/high combo. Low: my day walking Lisboa for six hours when I had a delicious Ali Baba’s shwarma for lunch and dinner costing me a grand total of six euros. High: I found myself in NYC for a couple days post-MFF, so I met with Nandan who was in search of chocolate’s upper limits. If you know Nandan or myself, you can bet we went big. Did I mention there was ice cream on the menu? Over two $14 sundaes, we talked of about alternative methods of transportation, movie distribution, and an upcoming GRACEBUNKGINPOP/Newhard co-production. It left me so full I felt I was in danger of passing out from the sugar high, and so I walked from Max Brennan’s near Union Square all the way to Greenpoint. I made it thankfully, and was also able to take in the city on foot as a consequence, which of course made me also fall in love NYC. So cliche, I know.

Can we get regional for a sec? All this international talk…I heard a new gem from you on this trip, and it seems Olympia folk like yourself use some pretty wild slang.  Define and relate your most relevant experiences to the following: swoop, disre, nut.

ZACH: That’s interesting because in the perfect scenario, all of those words would apply. If you’re swooping on some food in a restaurant then you’re automatically getting disre, and then post-swoop you’re obviously gonna get that grub nut. But I’ve gotta say, there was almost no swooping on this trip due to the amount of free food that was constantly being thrown at us. Actually, the only great swoop in recent memory was at BAFICI when I came up on that huge bag of discarded chinese food sitting next to the garbage in the hallway of the hotel. But the best instance of getting disre was clearly when we snuck a fifth of whiskey into that club in Lisbon, got caught drinking from it right out in the open, and then hid from the huge bald doorman when he came to 86 us. And this actually ties in with a great nut that we got. When the club closed we wandered outside and got separated. After a quick drink with a couple of colleagues at another bar, I wound up taking a cab to the wrong Holiday Inn (not realizing the mistake until going all the way up to “my” room) and then walking back to the right one. I had been in bed for just five minutes before you came pounding on the door and insisting that we go down to the free breakfast since it was 7:00am already. And of course that turned out to be an amazing decision because the lox were still just flowing at that point and boom: we got our lox nut. Must’ve killed like a half a pound each.

A shirtless Nandan illustrates what it means to “get disre” in Baltimore.

So, Brad, Did you even try to see any movies during all of this? If so, relate some of your standout cinematic experiences (movies, scenes, moments, anything).

BRAD: Best audience experience: watching Compliance at MFF and being unable to contain my laughter as parts of the audience audibly groaned and exhaled forcefully like a Swiss fucking watch every five minutes. The level of effect that the film had was really impressive, and afterward the conversation regarding the film roiled in all directions. Job well done if people can’t stop discussing the work.

Best audience experience (close 2nd): Yo, I don’t know if you guys know this or have seen a film in Lisbon, but whoever designed their theater seats needs to get a goddamn raise. I go to sit down for the first time and the thing starts descending, not rocking, not tilting, but a controlled fall like an actively deflating air mattress (popularized by Tiny Furniture, but enjoyed by all), and just as I am about to stand up because the chair has dropped about 10 inches by this point, and I am thinking it’s broken, it settles oh so nicely. It was so fun I stood up and did it again immediately.

Best nap: one thing people never told me about hitting the festival tour is how utterly exhausting it is to see 3-4 movies a day and drink all night. As you can imagine, this seemingly amazing combo of activities morphs into an unquenchable beast after consecutive weeks and eventually you have to pay the reaper. IndieLisboa was doing this cool retrospective of the Viennale’s 50th year by showing films they programmed in the past (I was excited I got to see Daisies on the big screen), and each film started with a one minute ‘trailer’ commissioned by the Viennale and made by one cool director each year. Well, I am really sorry Fassbinder, I was asleep before the one minute trailer even ended, only to wake up to an unbelievably odd Ray Charles-backed scene at the very end.

Films I loved: Kid-Thing, Tabu, Bestaire, Tchoupitulous, The Color Wheel, seeing The Day He Arrives for the second time…each one of these films I plan to steal from wholeheartedly in one way or another.

Most fun I have had in a long time: enjoying V/H/S while passing a bottle of Jack between six people.

Zach, continental breakfast: how to tour the world for cheap. Explain.

ZACH: Wouldn’t have thought that this would require an explanation, but alright. I mean, it definitely depends on the quality of your continental breakfast. We were really lucky on this trip. Every morning in Lisbon I was able to make these great toasted turkey and cheese sandwiches, wrap them up in napkins, and then stash them in the room’s mini-fridge until I was hungry again. Actually, I stopped toasting them when the napkin got all stuck to the melted cheese and I had to eat little bits of paper. But this isn’t good advice because if you’re really trying to keep it cheap then you shouldn’t be in a hotel at all. I know that in many US hotels it’s very easy to walk right in off the street and enjoy a continental breakfast, so long as you’re discreet about it.
Clearly on a very tight budget.

My final question to you is, if you had to pick the one alcohol-related anecdote that most effectively conveys the tone of the trip, which one would you go with?

BRAD: The biggest drag after coming back to the States is how early the bars and liquor stores close up. So post-amazing-dance-party at the Lithuanian Culture Hall, Turner Ross took it upon himself to secure provisions for the entire group of festival guests who still had thirst. Before there was any debate, he took off running to beat the 2am cut-off. I figured it would be nice to help him carry it back, so Nandan, Zach, and I ventured after him. I should have taken the mounted cavalry police, empty and waiting paddy wagons, and multiple cops on each corner with riot helmets as a sign…but we passed the warnings and entered into a crush of hundreds, thousands maybe, drunk and standing around as if all the clubs decided to throw them out at the same time to encourage some sort of awful incident (a horrible side effect of closing all the alcohol-serving establishments at one specific time). We couldn’t find booze or Turner, and decided to head back to the hotel. Soon enough I find myself separated from Zach and Nandan. They call me…

Zach: Where are you?
Me: At the Mcdonald’s, where are you?
Zach: We’re one block away, but we can’t move. [I start walking in his direction.]
Me: Why can’t you move?
Zach: We can’t dude. There’s trouble…
Me: What, did the cops close down the area?
Zach: No, there’s trouble and it’s heading your way.
Me: What?

Right at this moment, as if it couldn’t be scripted better, I get punched (or maybe a was rock thrown) in the back of the head. I stumble to avoid falling, and as I regain my footing I hear laughing, and immediately remember from my peripheral vision that five people all wearing the same color shirts had just passed me. Not wanting to engage five possible gang members (and who knows, maybe with weapons), I swallow my pride and start walking really fast towards Nandan and Zach. They proceed to tell me that the very same people who hit me almost attacked Nandan. As a side note here, how anyone could possibly want to be violent toward Nandan is beyond comprehension, right? We started back to the hotel with equal parts fear and bafflement. I felt deflated; we didn’t find booze, Turner was nowhere to be found, and all I had was a lump on the back of my head to show for it. And just when I was about to surrender to the bummer-ness of it all, Turner goddamned Ross bursts from the sea of people carrying multiple six packs of beer! And maintaining quite a stride…it’s almost as if he trains jogging only with alcohol in tow. He had a gleam of crazy in his eye that infused us all with high spirits. We reconvened with the rest of the dance party, drinking merrily in the hotel lobby until late.

How this anecdote relates to the whole trip or gives some sort of advice on what to do or not do while making the most of a festival run no one can be sure, but I can tell you this…run, don’t walk to the Maryland Film Festival. It was an unbelievably great end to an already great trip. It’s run by an amazing staff, stocked with amazing films made by some really great people. That, and that all is well that ends well.

And make sure to stock up before closing time when in the States.

This was a really dangerous car ride.

My last question to you is, what was the single most pleasurably odd yet noteworthy interaction of your travels?

ZACH: I can’t not give this one to Tim Morton’s lecture on time travel. It was in Baltimore on the last night of the entire trip, which was absolutely everything that a last night could and should be: enormously fun yet bittersweet in tone and with a few brief low points thrown in to keep it interesting. One such low point was at 3:00am in the crowded hotel lobby. The staff is forcing everyone out, and for a second it really feels like the night might be over. Suddenly there are whispers going around about taking it to the roof. Most of us aren’t even sure whether there is a roof, let alone how to get there, but things are desperate and everyone heads for the elevators. We get off on the 14th floor and it seems like a total bust. But then, after some searching, we find it. The air is the perfect temperature and the view is lovely. I thought I’d lost you, Brad, but there you are waiting for me with some booze. Turner Ross delivers a brief speech reflecting on the profundity of the weekend and what it’s meant to him, which really puts me in the perfect head-space. Later, I’m standing with a few others in a small circle. Tim is there, but he’s been quiet for a few minutes now. At an opportune lull, he launches unprompted into a time travel theory that I can only assume must’ve just occurred to him. Of course it’s hilarious, but during the talk I begin to feel as though I actually have uploaded the contents of my brain to timeless photon computers and projected them into the future…only to find out that everything is going to turn out just fine.
Tim “Photons Are Timeless” Morton waves goodnight.