Tag Archives: paris

My 2017 in short and my top personal moments!

2017 was a challenging yet rewarding year in the sense that although things didn’t go the way I wanted them to go film biz wise, by the time the year was over, I had some solid foundations laid out, I connected with talented/hungry people and am pumped to build on top of that come 2018.

This year, I’ve also re-dipped my toe in the Montreal Film Industry. I had left it behind  after my last local production left a bitter taste in my mouth in terms of the avalanche of BS that fell upon me.  And it was groovy to partner up  on a film prod with locals again. I did a lots of traveling too (as usual) which expanded my horizons culturally and spiritually and also gave me the “breaks” from the battle that I needed to keep coming back to it with replenished vigor.  And my film The Shelter locked further territories (still have some key ones to nail down) and opened up new doors for me.

On the negative side, I spent more time at the doctors this year than I like (bum knee, messed up foot, ear problems) which interfered with my training.  Moreover the Boxing Gym I used to train at burned down (arson) and I know it doesn’t sound like a big deal, but I loved that f-ing place, the vibe  was right and I enjoyed the people I trained with. It kept me sane and I have yet to find a suitable replacement. So it was a huge bummer for me. So for now, am just weightlifting and hitting the bag at home. But I so miss sparring and the camaraderie I had at that Gym.

The loss of this Gym affected me way more than I thought it would.

Moreover, I lost 4 of my cats this year (they went outside and never came back), which broke my heart, specially Jon Snow (below) whom I loved the most .

Now the first 8 months of the year were trying. I believe in the old adage: you pose actions – you get reactions. But in the film biz it’s you pose actions, you get strung along, and it can take years to get the proper reaction. But the tail end of the year spun that around for me out of the blue and just kept on giving. Am starting 2018 with lots of options and that’s a good place to be. Nothing is done, but I am just happy that my my hard work and constant pushing got me on the playing field. You can’t win a fight if you’re not in the ring.

I walked through bigger doors within the film industry this year, made more prominent contacts and things fell in my lap out of nowhere (which never happens to me). I made new friends in the biz as well, with many that I now consider to be brothers and educated myself further in terms of editing, film sales and the art of crowdfunding/social media know-how (my last, last resort  – good to have in your back pocket).

Losing this guy broke my heart. One of the most affectionate and cool as f*ck cats I ever owned.

As an aside, one thing that I recently realized that I’ve been doing unconsciously is teaming up with peeps that are cut from the same cloth as me.  Folks with strength, a sense of honor, loyalty, biz smarts and that are driven to succeed and achieve like motherf*ckers. Am starting to have a very strong circle around me. People that I’m stoked to work with next year and I’m mucho happy about that. You’re only as good as the folks that surround you. And one thing that I have been doing consciously this year – is leaping out of my comfort zone to try things that I normally wouldn’t for the better of the whole.

So yeah, I’m feeling good right now. Stronger, wiser with more knowledge under my belt.  I’m on the right path… so lets go 2018! I’m ready for ya! On that, here are my top favorite moments of 2017! In no particular order…

After years of talking about doing it, my bro Berge and I finally hit Amsterdam and went NUTS down there. NUTS! Loved it! The varied settings, the partying, hanging with my brother, the broads, and finally switching off for a week to  just “be” was much welcomed. An effortless trip. What a great time!
Took a trip to Rome (my second time there) and for a guy who is fascinated by Christian history, man was I spoiled! I explored the countless sights, got blessed by the Pope, enjoyed the night life and got so much out of it on a whole. My fav place to visit was Saint Paul’s Cathedral Outside the Walls, the resting place of St. Paul, hence the pic! The energy there was palpable. I didn’t want to leave!
Got to hit Paris again, see some friends, biz contacts, meet new people (like the great Julien Seri) take in the sights and hanged with bro David Cholewa and his wonderful family. Paris always does good by me! In my perfect world it would be yearly thing! It almost is at this point.  Viva Torrente!
Finally got a new dog after the passing of my girl Toby. Although he’s a freaking handful (part Lab, Part Golden, part Husky) and is now huge for a puppy (80 pounds at 8 months old), it’s a pleasure to have Caesar be part of the family. And yeah I got him right after Rome – which explains his name.
Got to go to Australia for 3 weeks and helped produce (and acted in) a Medieval action film called THE SIEGE with hungry as the wolf actor/producer Paul Allica (pictured).  It was a rewarding experience, it was enthralling to be on set, I saw it as good training ground for my Templar film Heretic, I learned more about action directing from Master Paul Adreovski and gained further experience on every level. I left there  feeling fulfilled and with a handful of brothers in my heart (Siege actor Marc Natoli and I are already working together) – You can’t ask for better than that!
I got to spend some time in Bruges, Belgium this year. Gorgeous, peaceful and a still very Medieval (much to my pleasure) city. I’d love to get married there some day. And I was so happy when I found a Templar site known as the Basilica of the Holy Blood. Hypnotizing  place, filled with a transfixing vibe. LOVED IT. And I saw finding the place by accident as a sign, being that I am developing a Templar film. Yeah I’m THAT guy 🙂
My end of year trip to LA was a success personally and professionally! It was AWESOME to spend time with my bro Eric Red and his lovely wife Mer, (and their doggies),  got some big meetings under my belt and got to see some of my friends out there like this f-ing guy Paul Sloan.
Spent some time in Philadelphia this year! Eric Walkuski and I got an Award for our work on my site Arrow in the Head (Eric W is the Managing Editor on it). But the highlight was getting f-ed up with Eric and just cutting loose with the lad. Even though I’ve known him for eons, I felt that I got to know him more on this trip.  It was also gnarly to meet some people whom I’ve been talking to online for years and finally get to interact with them in person. You bet booze and arm wrestling went down. Fun times!

So all in all, although not as evened as I hoped it would have been – 2017 was a solid year for this guy. Trying for the first two thirds, which went down smoother by all the traveling that I did, and the last third made it all worthwhile with all of the opportunities that arose. So am riding on that last third, going into 2018.

I’ll leave you with a little video that I like to listen to at the end of every year. Give it a try! May pump you up! Happy New Year everybody! Wishing you all health, success, serenity and happiness. God Bless! JF

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrby feather

I look back at my 2015 and I raise my gloves, ready to take on 2016!


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.

1
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 gonzo. But the man fought and with the help of my family's support he rose back uo and lived further...
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.
IMG_2278
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 has its world premiere at Firghtfest in the UK. The critcis loved it - the public was half/half. It was a great moment to share with exec producer Berge Garabedian,
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 🙂
1 (2)
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. I did photography and second unit directing/camera work. Although it was easily the lousiest set I had ever been on, it solidified my brotherhood with Eric Red. We survived this and remained hombres -we can survive anything. And for that and the experience - I was grateful...
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…
The Shelter, which is a film that addresses spirituality or lack of, has been responsible for an eviloution in my own faith. Hence after Sitgges, I spend a week in Barcelona, and my borther Gnzalo Lopez and I woukd up havong a pilhramege. We visited an old church or old monestary every day for 7 days. Once all was said and done, I was a new man. Love you Gonz, till the next time!
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.
Last but certainly not least; I was very happy to see that A Night of Horror programmer Dean Bertram respj nded so mcuh t The Shelter, enogh to screen i at his prestigious Fetsival. The crowd dug t and star Mcuhgael Pare won a career achievemnt award for his work n teh film. Twas a good ending for The Shelter in 2015
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
the-plitt
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 can't swim alone anymore...too old. I still have her work-out though. Use it or lose it.
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:


My National Anthem for 2016!

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrby feather

Dead Shadows! Why the film means so much to me and pics of cast/crew Paris signing!

DS-FC-2

Hey all! I’m back from Paris, France and I am happy that I got to support the French release of DEAD SHADOWS in person. Of course its home country was the last to distribute it, but hey better late than never. I will personally always look back at DEAD SHADOWS fondly. The flick means a lot to me for many reasons and allow me to share with you the main one: You see, at the end of 2009 I had a near stroke. It was one of the scariest moments of my life and it acted as a trigger for changes I HAD TO make. At the same time, the end of 2009 was when the film market bubble burst and the movie projects (i.e years of work) I had going went tits up. So all that to say, I was not doing too well. It took the bulk of 2010 for me to change my lifestyle and get my health, drive and my mind back on track (hardest year of my life thus far).  And although I had made some major headway come 2011, I was still dealing with leftovers of that awful night, something I was still learning to deal with: random anxiety/panic attacks.

With Producer/Director David Cholewa.
With Producer/Director/French brother David Cholewa.

So in 2011 when Director/Producer David Cholewa asked me to play John in DEAD SHADOWS, the film resulted in me getting back on the “film biz horse” after basically taking a year and half off to heal and rebuild myself. I hadn’t acted in anything since the near stroke, apart from a short stint on a webseries (which I did right after said life uppercut, thinking it would help me psychologically – it did not, – I was a scarred and overweight mess). Hence at the time, I perceived DEAD SHADOWS as the kick-off to the NEW beginning I was striving towards and I was right, it was and I haven’t looked back since. What doesn’t kill you… you know the rest 🙂

On that, a big thank you (s) to David Cholewa for involving me in this adventure, to Sylvie Cholewa and Laurie Cholewa for their kindness and hospitality (ratatouille!), to the cast/crew that were a pleasure to work with, to Producer Julien Dunand for also having me onboard and to the peeps who have supported the picture. Here are some pics from the signing in Paris (at the Metaluna Store), which also acted as a sort of reunion for us! It was great to see everybody! A little older, a little wiser – still hungry! With the film having had its home turf wide release; I can now say with a straight face that my DEAD SHADOWS ride is over. Lets get that sequel going! 😉

With co-star Fabian Wolfrom.
With co-star Fabian Wolfrom.
With my nemesis in the film Rurik Salle!
With my nemesis in the film Rurik Salle!
With co-editor Cesar Ducasse!
With co-editor and Tennis champ Cesar Ducasse!
Thank you DEAD SHADOWS! Hope to work with all of you again in the future!
Thank you DEAD SHADOWS!
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrby feather

Behind the scenes pics from Dead Shadows!

With David Cholewa’s DEAD SHADOWS getting its Blu-Ray North American release via SCREAM FACTORY on April 29, 2014, it got me feeling all nostalgic about my time on set. So allow me to share a couple of behind the scenes pics from the shoot with yall! See them all below! Dead Shadows stars Fabien Wolfrom, Rurik Salle, my sorry ass and Blandine Marmigère. It was written by Vincent Jule and produced by Julien Dunand and David Cholewa! You can order the Blu-Ray HERE! It was my first time acting in France and hopefully not the last! I had a blast!

Rehearsal with co-star Fabien Wolfrom.
With Director/Producer David Cholewa and Producer Julien Dunand!
Got my wardrobe on. I miss that hoodie...
Getting my mike on.
Ready for a take!
Waiting for next set-up.
Helping Fabien Wolfrom do chin-ups!
Waiting for set-up, zoning in.
Ready for take 1! I had lots of fun with this scene!
In between takes with David Cholewa. I closed my eyes cause he's just too good looking! 😉
Order Dead Shadows here!
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrby feather

A look at the Scream Factory Dead Shadows Blu-Ray!

David Cholewa’s DEAD SHADOWS is finally getting its north American release via SCREAM FACTORY on April 29, 2014 (two days after my b-day)! I play badass John in the film. The disk will contain a Making-Of Special Effects Featurette, Deleted Scenes Interview With Director David Cholewa, Theatrical Trailer and Teaser Trailer. It will be available in its original French Language and with an English dub. NOTE: That is not me doing the English dub on the film, so you wanna hear my sweet voice? Watch the subtitled version. Dead Shadows is about:

Dead Shadows tells the terrifying story of Chris (Fabian Wolfrom), whose parents were brutally killed 11 years ago, on the same day that the Halley’s comet could be seen from earth. Tonight, a new comet is appearing and everyone in Chris’s building is getting ready for a party to celebrate the event. As the night falls, Chris discovers that people are starting to act strangely. They are becoming disoriented and violent and it doesn’t take long before they begin to mutate into something far beyond recognition! In a fight for survival, Chris tries to escape from his building with the help of a gun-toting tenant (John Fallon – Death Race, Saw Ii) – but will they make it out alive?


GET THE MOVIE HERE

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrby feather

Dead Shadows to screen at the Utopiales Film Festival in Nantes, France!

David Cholewa’s Dead Shadows will screen at the upcoming  UTOPIALES FILM FESTIVAL in Nantes, France on Saturday November 10 at 9PM (ideal time, not too late, not too early). Dead Shadows stars Fabian Wolfrom, Blandine Marmigère, badass Rurik Sallé and myself as tough guy John.  CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS! Here’s the film’s synopsis, and the trailer below!

Dead Shadows tells the terrifying story of a young man, named Chris (Wolfrom), whose parents were brutally killed 11 years ago, on the same day that Halley’s comet could be seen from earth. Tonight, a new comet is appearing and everyone in his building are getting ready for a party to celebrate the event. There’s even an apocalypse theory going around. As the night falls, Chris discovers that people are starting to act strange – and it seems to somehow be connected to the comet. They are becoming disoriented and violent and it doesn’t take long before they begin to mutate into something far beyond this world. In a fight for survival, Chris tries to escape from his building with the help of a gun taunting tenant named John (Fallon) – but will they make it out alive?

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrby feather

My thoughts on the French premiere of Dead Shadows at L’Etrange Festival!

Last night was the French premiere of DEAD SHADOWS (a film I acted in) at the L’Etrange Festival in Paris. I was there to support the screening and I loved the experience. After introducing the film (SEE THE VIDEO BELOW) to an enthusiastic and packed crowd (screening was sold out) with my brothers in tentacles (producer Julien Dunand, actors Fabian Wolfrom and Rurik Sallé, screenwriter Vincent Jule and director/producer David Cholewa), the flick finally kicked in and from my end it went swell. Peeps laughed at all the right spots (lots of my improvised lines got some giggles), clapped at some of the kills and the crowd stayed till the end and even clapped at the end of the final credits. After the screening lots of the audience members came up to me to shake my hand and tell me they dug my shit. So for me, yeah, that was a very positive screening.

What did I personally think of the film? Well I was on set, I lived it, was part of it, so I can’t be objective AT ALL. The flick was quite the battle to pull off. So fucking ambitious, so little money, so little time. With that, it came out better than I thought it would and it’s pretty much as good as it’s gonna get. It is flawed but I find the film’s lack of pretension and what it pulled off with so little time and coin very charming. It’s a B Movie akin to the ones we got in the 80’s. Where it lacked in means it made up in heart.  On a personal level, I liked my performance in it (which is always good) and dug the chemistry I had with the young lead (Fabian Wolfrom) and the bad guy (Rurik Sallé). So all in all am proud of the film. All I need.

In closing even though it’s the beginning for the movie (as it hits more festivals like Sitges in October and locks its impending worldwide DVD distribution) for me this screening acted as a semi ending. I will of course still report on the movie and keep tabs on it. But the screening gave me closure. A big thank you to the whole cast and crew for their hard work! And a special gracias to director David Cholewa and Producer Julien Dunand for hiring me and involving me in their crazy adventure. I loved working in French, adored Paris and I hope Dead Shadows will be the first of many. And of course thank you to L’Etrange Festival for giving the film such a lavish showing. I had a freaking blast! Onward and forward!

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrby feather

Date and time for Dead Shadows French premiere! I’ll be there!


And we got a date and a time! David Cholewa’s Dead Shadows French premiere will go down at the upcoming 2012 L’Etrange Festival on September 10 at 8:00PM in Paris, France. I can also confirm that I will be there in person to support the film and the talent behind it. I missed the Cannes market screening, I won’t miss this one!  Here’s the film’s synopsis, and the trailer below! Booya!

Dead Shadows tells the terrifying story of a young man, named Chris (Wolfrom), whose parents were brutally killed 11 years ago, on the same day that Halley’s comet could be seen from earth. Tonight, a new comet is appearing and everyone in his building are getting ready for a party to celebrate the event. There’s even an apocalypse theory going around. As the night falls, Chris discovers that people are starting to act strange – and it seems to somehow be connected to the comet. They are becoming disoriented and violent and it doesn’t take long before they begin to mutate into something far beyond this world. In a fight for survival, Chris tries to escape from his building with the help of a gun taunting tenant named John (Fallon) – but will they make it out alive?

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrby feather

Dead Shadows goes home! Screens @ Etrange Festival 2012

DEAD SHADOWS gets a home screening! David Cholewa’s DEAD SHADOWS will screen at this year’s L’ETRANGE FESTIVAL in Paris this September. I of course play badass John in the film. Now, we don’t have the exact date yet but I’ll keep yall in the loop. Once again I will try to be there in person to support the film (which I haven’t seen yet). I couldn’t wing its Cannes screening, hopefully I’ll pull off this one. On a personal note; it’s always nice when your hometown gives you some support and recognition for your hard work; more often than none, unless you’re a HUGE star or part of the home clique, you’re ignored while the rest of the world gives you your props. So I am happy for the French cast and crew of DEAD SHADOWS… felicitations les mecs et na-nas! Well earned!

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrby feather

Dead Shadows at Sitges 2012!

Well this is good news; David Cholewa’s DEAD SHADOWS will screen at this year’s SITGES FILM FESTIVAL ( my favorite film Festival… period) as part of the Extreme Midnight section.  Last time I was there with a movie was in 2008 with RECON 2023 and 100 FEET. So it’s a long overdue. Not sure if I will be there in person yet ( a bit too early to tell) but am definitely shooting for it! Lets see what life has to say about that! Time to brush up on my Spanish either way! Dos putas por favor! Ya see! Getting better already!

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrby feather