Hey people! I was recently interviewed twice, talking about THE SHELTER, screenwriting and my future film projects. Excepts and links below! It should also be said that with THE SHELTER’s domestic release around the corner, you can expect to hear me yapping some more in the near future As always, thank you all for the continuous support.
Horrorfuel: “The film wouldn’t be as good without Mike (Pare). I feel very blessed to have had him play the lead. He’s a monster actor. So much talent. I am very happy that reviews so far have pointed out his performance as one of the best of his career. He fucking earned it.” – READ THE ENTIRE INTERVIEW HERE
Menegetti’s Script Development Blog: “Getting a film off the ground is very hard and time consuming. It’s lots of work and it can take a very long time. So if I’m going to invest years of my life into trying to make a movie happen – I have to respond to it on an emotional level as much as I do on a commercial level. I have to love the shit out of it.” – READ THE ENTIRE INTERVIEW HERE
I’ll speak for myself here; with its long takes/classical directing style and old school cinematography (by the great Ken Kelsch); ERIC RED’s 100 FEETstarring Famke Janssen, Ed Westwick, Bobby Cannavale and yours truly as Jimmy was always meant to be a big screen experience. Alas, the movie was finished when the film market collapsed and distribution as we knew it went tits up, hence it wound up straight to TV then DVD.
On that I am elated to report that Writer/Director and my compadre ERIC RED will be hosting a double bill 35MM screening of 100 FEET (and his classic BODY PARTS) at Alamo Drafthouse in Denver, Colorado on Thursday October 27th 2016 (GET THE INFO AND TICKETS HERE)! So many of you will get the opportunity to witness it on the big screen, the way it was meant to be seen in the first place.
I look back at 100 FEET with much fondness as it was a first for me on many levels.
1- I played against type (nervous/insecure tech dude)
2- Finally got to be in an Eric Red film, which was along term goal of mine.
3- I acted alongside two acting powerhouses (Janssen and Cannavale). My cherry got popped!
4- I had to deliver an “exposition laced” quasi monologue (I basically set up the rules of the movie) and make it sound “organic”. Never had to that before (or since). To this day I remember my lines
5- Learned so much watching Eric Red at work. I’m a better director today for it.
It was also on that set that I met Michael Pare (who wound up being the lead in my directorial debut The Shelter), visited Eastern Europe for the first time (the flick was shot in Budapest) and also learned the hard way that downing a Coca Cola is not the best thing to do right before acting in a scene (duh) being that one needs to be relaxed to act, Coke did not “relax” me…lol!
To celebrate the film’s big screen showing, I decided to dig up some obscure BEHIND THE SCENES shots from the film for y’all! Tap them below! 100 FEET goes full circle. I am happy!
Producing: When it’s “your movie” and you’re responsible for everything, even other people’s mistakes that go down under your watch – it’s an all new ball game. I had co-produced before on other people’s movies, mostly pre-prod/prod stuff, but that was NOTHING compared to what I had to go through on this one. Once the shoot was done it was obstacle after obstacle after obstacle and to say I learned so much the hard way would be an understatement. As I type this, 2 years since we wrapped, I’m still going through hurdles when it comes to the bureaucratic nature of making a film (Note: hurdles have since been conquered). On that, even though I wasn’t smiling the countless times I got kicked in the face for the last two years, I can now safely say that I am happy all of these challenges went down as I will bring that knowledge and a stronger shield to my next picture. Every director should know the ins and outs of producing a film IMO – you got to understand the machine fully to operate it to its max! So although it put me through the ringer, almost broke me and tested my tolerance level like mad – the knowledge I got out of this experience was priceless. They didn’t teach me that shit in film school that’s for sure! And yes I have an all-new respect for the Producers of the world.
On set talking a scene out with Michael Pare.
Change of reaction: One can be strong, but after taking hit after hit after hit, you start to lower you gloves and begin to react to curve balls in a bitter and discouraged fashion. Through making The Shelter, I had to learn to “roll with it”, to see the positive in the negative “like gaining knowledge by way of hardships” and to have faith that every misstep, every sucker punch was for a greater good that maybe I didn’t see at the time. The amount of Festivals that turned me down, people who I thought would back me up but didn’t, the two forward – ten steps back rinse and repeat routine – I was focusing on that drivel instead of: The Festivals that did take us on, the people that have been there with me through thick and thin or the progress (no matter how little) that was achieved. So I am grateful for that, as that change in “reaction” is now something that I try to apply in my everyday life. I’m not perfect at it just yet, I slip now and again, but I am now even more self aware, hence when I get hit, I make a conscious choice to try to NOT react in a negative way, to take it on the chin and to see the positive within the dire situation instead. Looking back, getting discouraged or bitter only made the battle harder than it already was – nothing was gained from reacting in that fashion. NOTHING. Lesson learned and applying it is still a work in progress. One thing is for sure, I am a much stronger and evened out person due to it.
Spirituality: I was raised Catholic for the bulk of my life – had to pray at school – all that jive. But my problem with organized religion has always been the evil that men did in its name (and in terms of Christianity, totally negating what Christ was all about in the process, but that’s another convo). Hence, none of it is black and white for me – it’s grey. THE SHELTER sent me on a new route though. Being that the film does sport Biblical inspired elements; I did lots of research on the subject matter. Through that, I became fascinated with the history behind it all; hence I started devouring books outside of the usual tomes, like the Hebrew Bible for example or the writings I could find by the “Church Fathers” (ancient Christian writers also known as the Apostolic Fathers). Today, when I travel (specially in Europe), I visit old churches and am completely fascinated as to the beauty before me and the history behind said locations. The many texts that I have since been introduced to coupled with the countless left field happenings that befell me throughout the writing and post production process has guided me a in a direction i.e. what works for me spiritually – my own path if you will. And it’s a trip to walk it! At the same time, I now have a new kind of hobby and I am having lots of fun researching and discovering.
And that’s pretty much it, what I have gained from all of this thus far. It’s been a rock and roll two years that’s for sure! Thanks for reading! John
Hola! As we strive to bring you some wonderful THE SHELTER news very soon (I know I’ve been saying that for a month now, but shit takes the time it takes i.e. much longer than anticipated); I felt like sharing with y’all one of the first pieces of feedback I got about the film, in the name of giving you an idea as to what you’re in for.
The thoughts come from French Producer/Director JULIEN DUNAND, whom I worked with on DEAD SHADOWS in 2012. The lad also produced/directed BIG JOHN (2006) and DU SANG SUR LA NEIGE (2013) and produced NWR (Nicolas Windig Refn).
“I finished watching The Shelter. Not only do I think it’s a good movie but it might even be a great one. I probably need to see it again in a few months just to be sure. All I knew before watching it was that it was some kind of a haunted house flick. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
The Shelter is a reflection about Christianity and redemption. It stands on its own as an independent film. I was taken completely by surprise. I never thought it would be what it was. As a Christian catholic, I completely got what you were trying to say. The film has real power, and I don’t mean the images. Yes the shots and frames are quality, and the overall work on visuals is very good. So is the excellent sound design. But I never paid too much attention to technique. Because visuals to me are concrete, almost mathematics. If you have decent money and a good crew, it’s not that complicated to have good camera work. I’m not saying it’s easy –just that it’s controllable. On the other hand what isn’t, is soul. The will to express something.
One thing I’ve learned in this business over the past 10 years is that it’s very easy to make a bad movie. And it’s even easier to make an average one. Directing is having something to say. I see plenty of brilliantly shot movies all the time, but they’re dull and useless because they have nothing to say. They are soulless. So they just exist out there in the middle of thousands of other ones and no one will ever remember them in 6 months. So what’s the point of making them? Making a first film can be so hard that if you don’t have anything to say, don’t do it. It’s just not worth it.
A true director is someone who has his own eye (le regard in French). And having an own eye means having soul, putting your heart and guts on screen. Expressing something. In the end it’s all that matters. It’s all that counts. It’s all that’s remembered. And I felt you did that.
It is also obvious to me that religion at some point played an important part in your life. All these images are very reminiscent to me of the early works of Martin Scorsese, from Means Streets right up to Cape Fear, but also of Abel Ferrara’s Bad Lieutenant (Thomas’ character has a direct link with Harvey Keitel’s character). Who gets to ask for redemption? At what price? Under what conditions? The Shelter confronts these issues with power and force. It’s meaningful.
I tend to get emotional about all of this but the most important thing I want to say to you is this: You have something here. So what ever you do next, don’t fuck it up! Congratulations John!”
Hey all! ESCAPE FROM THE DARK DIMENSIONS (a screenplay that I had the pleasure of working on as co-writer and a film I’m slated to act in – it’s in the same vein as BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA btw) is being shopped around at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Writer/Director David Cholewa (who’s prior feature DEAD SHADOWS was distributed in over 25 territories and screened at the Sitges Film Festival) and Producer Sidney Chiu will be on hand pushing the project. They are presently in the process of attaching name talent to the film. Check out the synopsis and one-sheet below! I had lots of fun with this one, it’s a crazy ride! Kill it boys!!
“When best friends Gabe and John meet up at a local bar to discuss plans for Gabe’s upcoming bachelor party, they never expected to get caught in a battle between good and evil. After running for their lives to escape the clutches of a psychotic vigilante cop named Largo, with a serious axe to grind, along with his furious henchmen, they seek refuge in a decrepit old community center where an unspeakable act has occurred. The brilliantly deranged mathematician and master of the kabbalah, Rabbi Sandoval, has perfected a formula to open a portal which will destroy creation itself. All the Rabbi needs is one more sacrifice to complete his evil scheme. Now, Gabe and John are forced to make common cause with Largo, and two of the building original inhabitants, an old blind man, Isaac, who is more than he seems, and his young daughter Tsofia , to fight their way up through the floors, each of which is protected by a supernatural guardian more terrifying than the last, and somehow prevent Sandoval from finishing the ritual and opening the seventh portal. Will they be able to stop the ultimate doom and make it back to the world they know? Or has time really run out?”
The fine folks at ICONS OF FRIGHT (thanks for the support guys, much appreciated) just took a look at THE SHELTER. You can read an excerpt below and check out the entire review HERE.
“THE SHELTER is most definitely the smart man’s horror film, putting more effort into giving its viewers a character study of a man, lost and broken and forced to face and overcome the past mistakes that caused his life to spiral out of control. It’s great to see Pare shine again, he really gives a powerful performance, one that is broken and jaded, yet damaged and full of pain in ways that we as a viewers seek to put together.”
And I was also interviewed by Punk Globe recently and didn’t plug it here yet.
Hence here is an excerpt!
“We had a fairly smooth shoot. But post-production proved to be very challenging. A lot of weird technical things kept happening, which slowed down the film’s progress considerably. It got to the point that we all started to think that we were messing with things that we’re not supposed to be messing with. I can almost write a book about the very strange things that happened around The Shelter; mostly during the writing and post-production stages.”
I have been hustling hard for this film (which I now affectionately call: “My Vietnam”) non stop for a bit now – on that, I am starting to see the light i.e. looks like the constant effort is starting to pay off. More news soon!
Hey guys and dolls! You can feast your retinas on a new clip from THE SHELTER below! I hope you enjoy it! A new review of the film just surfaced on SCREAM HORROR MAG as well. Here is an excerpt
“Whilst Fallon’s film will probably polarize most audiences, as it boldly goes where most films daren’t – relating a somewhat incongruent tale that does anything but spoon-feed viewers; in my book, that’s the epitome of the kind of films people need to be queuing up to catch instead of the spate of Hollywood horrors that don’t even try to get the audience’s grey matter muscles flexing.”
As for where the film is at. I’m presently hustling further Festival screenings, working on getting the film seen by more people (am expanding the audience I am targeting) while seeking worldwide distribution for the film. You can e-mail me HERE for inquiries!
The last time that I wrote a screenplay on spec it was THE SHELTER and to be honest, the trial and tribulations that I have had with that film in 2015 nipped my creative streak in the bud for the bulk of the year. In short, handling the producing duties after the shoot killed the screenwriter in me. Now although I’m still carrying/pushing/hustling THE SHELTER (and with some help, FINALLY overcoming the obstacles that have plagued us); I’ve rediscovered my creative streak and am now in the midst of writing my next spec script EVA (working title, or maybe not).
After DEADEN and AMERICAN MUSCLE, I’ve always wanted to round up my “revenge” trilogy (as a writer anyways) with a female protagonist. I have been thinking about Eva and her story for a long time and I am now having a blast finally giving it life on the page. I’m relishing writing a strong, intelligent and damaged female lead character, the story that I have is unique within the subgenre and yes, there will be blood – lots of it. In between taking THE SHELTER home, setting up my next film as a director THE PRIZE, fulfilling my duties on a writing job for hire, a new project with Dead Shadows director David Cholewa and now EVA, my 2016 is off to a solid start. Off to the Pub! Got some writing to do.
It was on this day last year in 2015 (on January 17) that ex Army Ranger, Fitness Model, Body Builder, Motivational speaker, Actor on the rise and thrill seeker GREG PLITT passed on. Now I’ve never met Greg in real life but his death hit me like a ton of bricks none the less. Much like many of his followers out there, Greg’s videos spoke to me, moved me, educated me and inspired me. They did years ago when I found some of them on YouTube and they helped me climb out of the gutter I had dug for myself and they did even more in 2015.
You see, prompted by his passing I went to his site and I got so much out of it in terms of learning (fitness, nutrition, supplements), inspiration and motivation. You’ve been gone a year Greg, but you still live on through all of us. I can only speak for myself and say a heartfelt THANK YOU for all that you’ve given me and still give me. And thank you to the Plitt family for keeping his legacy alive via updating his website and Facebook Page. In honor of Greg, I share with you this MOTIVATIONAL MP3(download it here), trust me when I say this: if you need a good morale boost, this will do it (I listen to this on the subway all the time). I am also sharing my fav fan made Plitt video below and finally I urge you to JOIN HIS SITE if you want to know more about training, nutrition, achieving goals, his philosophy etc. I’m actually going to ski a mountain today in his honor. God bless you brother! Your legacy lives on!
At Greg Plitt’s place of death. Had to do it. Pay my respects…
Looking back at 2015, all I remember off hand are two things: 1- Greg Plitt died out of no where on January 17 of 2015 (a man who helped me get back on track via his site/videos years ago. His passing prompted me to go back to his site and once again he helped a lot this year) and my film THE SHELTER, which took over the bulk of my thoughts and efforts. The film resulted in some positive things like cool festival runs, positive reviews, meeting new people, making new contacts and new opportunities arising.
Work hard – play hard. Always.
It also came with its fair share of hardships (that I will go into when all is said and done some day – I may write a book ) and some trial by fire i.e. gaining further knowledge as to the current state of the film market through my mistakes. Shelter aside, I actually had to look back at my 2015 pictures to remind me of what else I did that year and yeah, I had yet another groovy year of doing what makes me happy: training, nature, my friends, traveling and challenging myself.
Top of my head here are some of my favorite personal moments of 2015!
Tackled one of the biggest mountains I have ever scaled. What a rush. I want more!
My dad got hit with larynx cancer early this year. I was sure he was a goner, but the man fought (respect) and with the help of our support, he prevailed. Happy to still have him around.
In Paris, France with the Dead Shadows cast/crew for an autograph session. It was so cool to see everybody again, to be in Paris, a city that I love, and to spend time with the Cholewa clan aka awesome people.
The Shelter had its world premiere at Frightfest in the UK and we got lots of solid reviews out of it. It was a great moment to share with exec producer/buddy Berge Garabedian, Seeing old friends (Richard Cosgrove!) and drinking Trooper Ale were also big pluses :)
Spent even more time at the lake house. Can’t go wrong when your time is all about nature, training, reading, exploring, writing and the water.
Although the Sitges Film Festival The Shelter screening didn’t go as well as I wanted it to for varied reasons (image problems on our DCP being one of them), I got to hang with my brother Mike Hostench, hit some fly parties, appreciated the setting once again, had fun with Rurik Salle and met new great peeps like Julien Seri and Pascal Sid. VIVA SITGES!
Eric Red and I worked on the same set together for the first time time since 100 Feet. This time I did second unit directing/camera work and took on set pics. Without going into details; the war that was this set solidified my brotherhood with Eric. And for that and the experience – I was grateful…
Streamlining The Shelter, which is a film that addresses spirituality or lack of, has been responsible for an evolution in my own spiritual path. Hence after Sitges, I spend a week in Barcelona with my bro Gonzalo. We wound up having a pilgrimage of sorts and I found it very rewarding.
I was very happy to see The Shelter screen at the prestigious A Night of Horror Film Festival in Australia. The crowd dug it and star Michael Pare won a career achievement award for his work in the film. Twas a good ending for The Shelter in 2015
At Greg Plitt’s place of death. It was very important for me to pay respect. He inspired/motivated me so much all year, it was the least I could do. It took hours to find the exact spot of his passing. Was worth it. RIP Legend.
In terms of negatives, I’m not one to dwell on those cause, well, what will that achieve? Nothing. I’ll just say that the odd energy around The Shelter gave me a run for my patience, maximum effort often led to maximum frustrations as opposed to results and knives stabbed in my back here and a severe “misjudgement of character on my part” there should be noted… nothing new at this point, people are people. Lastly, my 14 year old dog is on her way out (going deaf, blind and very old) it’s coming and I am bracing myself… such is life.
My dog Toby can’t swim alone anymore…she’s too old. I still have her work-out though. Use it or lose it.
I feel very positive in terms of 2016 though (just got back from a stay in the wilderness – that always sets me right)! The Shelter will screen at a handful of Festivals and will lock distribution, am pumped to get my next film The Prize off the ground, I’m starting boxing again (after dealing with a stubborn tennis elbow in 2015 that got in my way, I finally healed it), I’ll be part of handful of exciting projects (as a writer and actor), already have some traveling on the horizon, mother nature is always in my plans and I will focus on awakening by creative side again, specially when it comes to writing for myself. Producing The Shelter in 2015 kind of numbed by creative juices, I won’t let that happen this year. That’s it in a nutshell! Welcome to 2016 people! I leave you with my 2016 National Anthem: