Am happy to announce that (after Deaden and American Muscle) I am re-visiting the vigilante subgenre for the third and last time with EVA, a film that I wrote and that I will direct. I have to say that it was my most challenging script within that genre as it deals with a very real and ugly reality (the sex trade). I wanted to explore the subject matter in a responsible way while at the same time delivering the thrills action/violence wise. So it was a bit of a balancing act.
Moreover, this had to be the most appalling research I ever had to do for a script. In fact, lots of the horror on the page was inspired by true events that happened to real life sex trade victims. Yes truth was more disgusting than anything I could have come up with. Find below the promo one-sheet for EVA and its short synopsis! The poster was created by 3 Demon Entertainment and the model is the lovely Melanie Mark Coleman. The film is now in active development (I have some key pieces, missing one more to get it off the ground). I am proud of the script and it will make for one hell of a drama/action flick. I have a couple of bites on the project at the moment – lets see where they lead. To be continued!
Synopsis: At 16 years old, young Eva was kidnapped, drugged and forced to sell herself by sex traffickers. 10 years later, after a life of all too frequent physical and psychological abuse, a now 26 years old Eva is addicted to drugs and is completely dead inside. That’s until an encounter with a “John” goes violently wrong and sends her to the hospital…near dead. A month later, Eva finally recovers and for the first time in 10 years, she is free of her captors and the substances that had such a hold her. Once back in the world, she only has one thing on her mind: vengeance against those who robbed her of her life. And with the help of a mysterious stranger, she goes about attaining her retribution in harsh and brutal ways.
Hey all, even though directing is my main passion at the moment, getting a film off the ground takes the time that it takes. Hence I am not abandoning acting by any means. I’ll always have a soft spot for it and kicking onscreen ass! I recently revamped my acting/stunt reel for the new year, give it a whirl below! Hope life is finding you all well! God bless! JF
After its theatrical, VOD and DVD release, my directorial debut THE SHELTER, starring Michael Paré (Eddie and the Cruisers, Streets of Fire) is now be available (in the USA) on RedBox TODAY (February 7, 2017)!
I gotta say it; I’m really happy that The Shelter is getting a wider reach in North America via Redbox, with the main reason being (and I know this is gonna sound f-ing pretentious) that I had “something to say” with the film in terms of the human condition. Again, the most rewarding aspect of having made this movie thus far has been the people who have contacted me to let me know how after watching it they entered a state of self-reflection…
In related news; the film will be shopped at the upcoming EFM (European Film Market) in Berlin starting February 9. For distribution queries or to set up a meeting at said market, E-MAIL Uncork’d Entertainment HERE!
I founded Arrow in the Head in the year 2000 (this was my first review…lol), alongside my hombre JoBlo aka Berge Garabedian (thanks again for the opportunity man), when I was a young horror-loving punk and when the internet was still the Wild West. I did everything myself on the site till about 2005 when it got so big that we had to hire a staff to back me up. Up until now, I was the main “reviewer” on the site. On that, I did miss a lot of horror films last year for varied reasons, which brings me to this article: after 16 years, I am stepping down as the main theatrical/new-releases reviewer for AITH.
Although I do have mix feelings about it (it will be kind of odd and maybe refreshing to see new flicks and not HAVE TO write about them afterwards) I decided that this was the right time to do it. Throughout the years, I have balanced working on the site while pursuing my cinematic aspirations (I have been screenwriting or/and acting in films like 100 FEET,DEAD SHADOWS or AMERICAN MUSCLE). But it’s having directed my first feature THE SHELTER (coming to Redbox on February 7 BTW), which prompted me to call it a day. I completely fell in love with the process, it invigorated me, and am now focusing my energies further on that career path. And to be honest with ya, since last year, reviewing new releases, just didn’t feel “right” anymore. When it doesn’t feel right – it’s time to call it quits.
With Derek Mears (Jason Voorhees), Nick Principe (Chromeskull) and R.A. Mihailoff (Leatherface)!
On that, I will always be on the site behind the scenes, and in the name of keeping my voice on it, I have decided to still give out my two cents and chump change on the occasional old movie (like I recently did here). Why? To educate younger readers about cinema and maybe bring attention to fine films that some of you may have overlooked. I also may start a column down the road, I have a nifty idea (yes, it is nifty), we’ll see. And of course, when I get my next feature off the ground (I got 5 that are being looked at right now, one will set-up sooner or later), AITH will be ground zero for me to share my (mis) adventures in filmmaking.
In closing, I would like to thank all of you who have supported my ramblings on AITH for all them years – I’ve felt lots of love over time and enjoyed interacting with many of you, debating what we all worship: GENRE CINEMA. I also want to thank the haters who were key in my evolution too, as they taught me how to handle fair/harsh/unfair criticism. A key trait to have in this biz. Ya know, I still get the random e-mail from folks saying that they “grew up with me”, or “went into the film biz because of me” or that they fell in love with horror because of my keyboard drivel. Shit, I’ve even had high profile filmmakers re-cut their films after reading my early Fest reviews. Kind of nuts when I stop and think about it. So yeah, I think in terms of this field – one that I undertook by accident (creating/running a site and reviewing films were never goals of mine, they just happened) – you can’t get any better than that. Now time to conquer other mountains! Thanks again for all the support and the positive energy over the years. Back at ya mofos and mofettes!
Hey all! I am proud to be sponsoring a BOXING GALA (streamlined by renowned Boxing coach Daniel Guerin) that will take place on February 11, 2017 (7:30PM) at Billings, High School in Chateauguay (210 MCLEOD, Châteauguay, QC J6J 2H4). I will of course be there in person.
The purpose of the show (with over 7 exhibition fights already locked in) is to showcase to young people (hence why the event is set within a High School) that Boxing is a positive path to take in terms of one’s life as it builds discipline, self esteem, encourages healthy eating habits and reaching top notch physical condition. And it’s also a fun and exciting sport to be a part of.
You can also expect CONTESTS to take place during the event with cool prizes, like a pair of Boxing gloves autographed by former IBF middleweight Champion DAVID LEMIEUX and Boxing Brand RIVAL t-shirts, among other things. The tickets for the events are 15$ in advance and 20$ at the door. You want to attend, E-MAIL ME. If you want to donate some coin to help us finance the event please do so via the BOXING GALA PAYPAL (email@example.com). Anybody that donates 12$ or more will get an autographed THE SHELTER Postcard (see it below) from yours truly sent your way by mail as a THANK YOU.
In closing; in my opinion, events like these are important. They can actually make a dent (no matter how small) in terms of guiding the next generation in the right direction and providing them with the “tools” to make a the world a better place down the road. Last I checked we freaking need it which is why I am involved in this and investing my coin. Cheers to you all and God bless! JF
“Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him.” – John Paul II
Although the world around me seemed to go totally bat-shit crazy (the older I get, the less I relate to our society – I think that’s normal… right?), I had one major professional let-down (a film role that I was sure I had locked but lost due to politics…) and that death/near death was rampant in my inner circle (my uncle died, my aunt died, my dog died, two family members almost died…), 2016 wound up being a solid year for me personally and professionally.
I grew a lot as a human being, got close to my family again, started seeing life in a new light, solidified my spiritual path (which sent me on pilgrimages and lots of diving into books and shit soaking in knowledge…) and switched gears (for the better) as to the man I want to be. I also finally started reaping the rewards of my hard work. Yeah it felt good and definitely gave me the moral boost I needed to keep digging deep and going for my goals no matter the cost. Amidst doing what I love (traveling, being in nature, training, hiking, kayaking, hanging with close friends aka family like Berge, Deke, Elaine etc.) here are my top moments of 2016!
So that’s pretty much it! I’m personally very excited for 2017! Professionally, I have EVA and THE PRIZE (two films that I will direct) that are heading in the right direction in terms of getting off the ground. Am also diving into HERETIC today, a screenplay that I am writing with Karim Chériguène (it started off as a short by Karim, one that was so damn good, that it begged to be a feature). Think Apocalypse Now but with Templars! Am very excited about that one and already have some production pieces locked in Spain for it. It’s my new passion project! Meaning I’ll kill myself to see it through.
I also anticipate in traveling further this year and establishing myself even more within the film biz. Lots of new cards were handed to me in 2016 and I’m gonna play them the best I can this year. No matter how it goes, I am now better equipped to deal with what goes down, which will make the process easier for me. I see hardships differently, take on obstacles differently and view life as a whole differently. Get in the ring 2017! You’re mine.
Am I now back from Los Angeles where we had THE SHELTER premiere (peep the QNA video below or here) and yes, that event and the film’s domestic release on VOD have definitely acted as a “victory point” for the film and for me personally. It’s finally out there after a two-year battle to get it done. Phew! On that, for me the fight is not over. Still got to sell the film foreign, still have to make my money back and want to broaden the film’s reach in terms of the type of audience that I think should see the movie, but more on that down the road.
A lot has come out of The Shelter’s release. I’ve never been interviewed this much in my life (Thanks Clint Morris for your hustle), the film got a slew of solid reviews (and yes the LA Times one was a highlight for me), The Academy of Motion Pictures (Oscar baby) put the script in their library, I’m starting to get known outside of the horror niche and personally the most rewarding thing of all is the folks that have expressed to me how much the film moved them or/and made them think. That was the point of that one, hence mission accomplished.
I want to take a moment and thank some of the key people behind the picture. Thank you to Producer Donny Broussard who came in early on the project, hustled with me through the hurdles and busted his ass to get me all that I needed to shoot this puppy. Couldn’t have done without you! Thank you Bobby Holbrook (and the Holbrook Multi Media team), who gave me all that he had during production and then stayed with me in the trenches during the baffling “technical-warfare” laced process that was Post Production. We went through some serious (and un-explainable) obstacles and one mammoth let down but Bobby fought with me till the bitter end.
Also a big thank you to Executive Producer and hombre Berge Garabedian for believing in the film and being my rock throughout this emotional roller coaster ride, always kicking me in the ass when I started to feel defeated. And of course a huge thanks to star Michael Pare who took a chance on a first time director and went all out for the movie. Every positive review in terms of his performance is MUCHO deserved. I couldn’t go on without thanking my pal Writer/Director/Author/Great cook Eric Red (who gave me solid tips during Pre and Post) and his wonderful wife Meredith Red. Both of them had my back throughout this journey and it was much esteemed. PS: Shout out to my amazing cast and crew! The crew was a well-oiled machine, my cast rose to the task, no way this would have happened with lesser talented people, specially taking into account the short production time we had. Pat yourselves on the back!
I’ve learned and changed a lot in the last 2 years. This undertaking acted as tough love Producer school, my persistence never got this tested before ever and I am proud to have pulled through, I loved every second of directing and am in love with the process, I grew spiritually and as a man; learning to forgive, to be humble, to not let the haters affect me, to react to obstacles in a rational fashion and to find the positive in the low blows instead of becoming cynical – cause yeah, this business will do that you, turn you into a bitter f*ck… if you let it, and I did for a while, but I have since evolved.
The Shelter’s release has acted as a first firm step on a new professional path, one that I am eager to explore and exceed in. New doors are opening, new film projects are shaping up and I am grateful for that. Thanks to all of you that have supported me and are still supporting me in my endeavors, I honestly could not have done it without you. Every positive e-mail, PM, tweet etc. fuels me to keep on going! Much love and God Bless! John
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.
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