Tag Archives: indie

Flashback: Director Joseph Lewis Discusses His Film “Tyler B Nice”

Cast of

Cast of “Tyler B Nice” (l. to r.) Tyler Jenich, Director Joseph Lewis, Emilia Richeson

by Legendary Lew

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the production of the Joseph Lewis feature, Tyler B Nice, the strange film about a party gone wrong. It’s gotten the critical acclaim of people like Andrew Bujalski and is really due for a discovery.

We present here comments by the director and TUGM co-founder Joseph R. Lewis. His statements from ten years ago still hold truth for those who want to get the best results in independent media.

Jean Claude Van Damme Just Gave All Media Creators an Early Valentine’s Day Present

No other human can grab nursing lion cubs from their mother get away with it

No other human can grab nursing lion cubs from their mother get away with it

by Legendary Lew

Action icon Jean Claude Van Damme continues to increase the stock value of his super-coolness.  Not only did he put in a well-received acting performance in JCVD and blow up social media with his split-legged Volvo commercial, he now wants to be in your videos and movies. Seriously.

In what I think is a terrific and brilliant move by both Van Damme and Green Screen, the muscle-shirted action hero performs short bits before a green screen–free for you to use in your own media projects.

You can watch the 3-minute sequence below with J.C. thrusting samurai swords, firing machine guns and spouting off one-liners. Talk about a fantastic gift!

“Scrapers,” a New Stoner Rom Com of Best Buds Releases Sneak Peek Video

scrapersThe Underground Multiplex is proud to present the first peek of Scrapers, a Capra Movie House production, directed by Jake Weisman. This preview takes the form of a short called “Bong Bong.”

In it, Hal (played by Dakota Loesch) sings his favorite song in the shower, a tune sounding somewhat close to the theme of Law & Order: Criminal Intent. He imagines himself and his best friend Mary (Sally Anderson) cracking cases in their own detective show on the eve of the #SaveBabyBenson episode.

Scrapers is a new Chicago indie, a romantic comedy for stoners who appreciate the importance of being best buds.

Take a hit off “Bong Bong”:

Mediatrocities #10– Free Media: The Manifesto of The Underground Multiplex

LewandSophie

Legendary Lew

by Legendary Lew

Joseph R. Lewis and I were very proud to give a presentation titled “Free Media: Mending Arts When All is Broke” Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at Chicago Filmmakers.

Around 90 people attended to listen to Joe and I discuss the history of how The Underground Multiplex got started and some of the basic ideas that keep this

joe-profile-pic

Joseph R. Lewis

organization going. This is an age where there’s very little money going around for the arts, so it’s imperative that artists learn a new paradigm by which they can have works created, published and distributed. It may seem daunting to be responsible for all these aspects but it can be done and we’ll tell you how to approach it.

Give a listen:

If You Want to Know What The Underground Multiplex is All About, Come to Our Series on Friday Nights in January

by Legendary Lew

Earlier Effort by Joe

Starting tomorrow night at Chicago Filmmakers, The Underground Multiplex will be presenting what will be, in fact, perhaps the most comprehensive overview of what we’ve been up to since our inception in November 2010.

Back then, director Joseph R. Lewis and I had this crazy notion that perhaps we should begin an internet media co-operative that focused on the greatness of independent underground entertainment. We further emphasized that Chicago had to be the main focus of our attention, as we believe (and still do) that the decentralization of entertainment, with the advent of the internet, can help bolster each different region’s importance in the arts. Spreading this idea could keep very talented Chicago artists home, instead of fleeing to NYC or LA for the temporary fix of finding work that immediately pays something.

Film genius Ernie Tarte will be there for Strike That Line! 1/24

Film genius Ernie Tarte will be there for Strike That Line! 1/24

Joe had already made a number of films for over a decade. One of those films, The Adventures of Miss Girl, gets its world premiere tomorrow night along with Sci Fi Sol, which makes its return to Chicago screens this year.

However, this Friday series–dubbed “Friday Night VOLUME“–will present a fuller menu of what TUGM has to offer. As we progressed over the years, we’ve learnedQUEEN B XOX to perfect (out of necessity) presenting a variety of experiences for little money. As will be the case with VOLUME, we’ll have films, vaudeville-type entertainment, a varied music soundtrack, live Q&A and live performances (including Dr. Dredd’s Wagon of Wonders and the first-ever live presentation of the radio comedy Strike That Line!

Please join us! Check this link for the entire line-up. Head over to Chicago Filmmakers to purchase pre-show tickets.

 

The Philosophy Behind My Approach to Facets Night School

FNS1This weekend marks the final shows of Night School presented at Facets Multimedia, which has served as the home of the most inventive midnight movie presentations in Chicago for 4.5 years. It’s been my pleasure to host a dozen film screenings during that time, including a feature-length film–Sisters of No Mercy— inspired by Night School.

Joe Lewis and Michael Smith have both written wonderful blog pieces about the demise of Night School at Facets. I’ve also read great comments from presenters Dominick Mayer and Joel Wicklund.

When Night School founder Phil Morehart brought forth the idea of having midnight movies at Facets, I immediately jumped at the opportunity. In the past, I had enjoyed thoughtful reviews of unusual rare films in such great magazines as Shock Cinema (to which I once contributed) and Psychotronic Magazine. I knew there was a great well of strange movie from which to draw.

The emergence of Night School came at a perfect time for FacetsNS2experimentation of how screenings could be formatted for independent theaters. Studios were changing to digital projection exclusively, leaving many theaters holding the bag with now outdated 35MM equipment and expensive digital changeovers. Netflix went through a nasty PR period of growing pains with the perception of unlimited streaming and the roll out, and then roll back, of Quixster, the video world’s version of New Coke. Blockbuster was evaporating from its video (and retail) dominance of the late 1980s and 1990s. All this was compounded by The Bush Depression of 2008, which threw hundreds of thousands of people out of work monthly.

From the outset, I knew that Night School had to be different from other movie series. Studios and movie chains could use their large wallets to entice viewers to theaters with larger spectacles, more advanced 3D capabilities, table-side food service and movie discount specials.

Courtesy Time Out Chicago

Courtesy: Time Out Chicago

This all seems fine for the bottom line, but the major point being missed by the chains and the studios was that they are not suited to cater to the needs of movie viewers at the community level. Sure, you can have chats online with people via Netflix about movies, but there’s also the probability you’ll never meet them in person. I used to joke about having film appreciation groups meet up at a local Redbox in the pouring rain.  And I’m very doubtful the studios will have cast members of new movies make dozens of public appearances across the country without them being paid lots of money for the trouble.

What Night School proved was that poverty-stricken creative folks can436 come up with a truly forward-thinking solution: engage with fans on a collective idea. Bring back variety with each show. Give viewers a spectacle without having to break a budget. Indeed, with a budget of exactly $0, you can actually accomplish a great deal. You can still jump out of a cake (Eat the Rich); have an interview with the mother of The Terminator and Lady Terminator (Lady Terminator); have Yor the Hunter from the Future show up for Q&A (Yor, The Hunter from the Future); have zombie whores dance and hand puppets sing (Sisters of No Mercy); uncover a lost Idi Amin toothpaste radio ad (Amin: The Rise and Fall); perform a live interactive radio skit (Wonder Women); have spectacular live music performances to such films as Haxan, The Fall of the House of Usher and A Page of Madness and more.

You can also meet and form a production partnership with an incredible talent named Joseph R. Lewis. Night School gave birth to The Underground Multiplex and the notion that you can rely on the genius of others here in Chicago to do great things. We have, thanks to the incredible presenters we’ve had over the years, the forethought of overseers Phil Morehart and Susan Doll and the hands-off policy of Facets Multimedia, which allowed the inmates to run the asylum one night per week. I’m grateful to Facets for allowing me the chance to change the way viewers experience movies.  Major unending thank yous to all the presenters, volunteers, projectionists and everyone who’s ever come out to see some craziness in action.

As our award-winning program moves on to different venues, The Underground Multiplex will continue its commitment to presenting great forgotten and underappreciated films with the ballyhoo, fun and zaniness the great city of Chicago deserves.

Lew Ojeda

RIP 2009-2013

RIP 2009-2013

Help Out the Onion City Experimental Film and Video Festival

Onion

There’s just six days left to help them out! Keep Chicago a vibrant locale for a diverse selection of cinema viewing. Go to their Indie GoGo link here.