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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

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Three ways The Shelter experience has changed me…

shelter-ogo

As you may know my directorial debut THE SHELTER has locked domestic distribution and will be released in North America this coming November in theaters and on VOD via Uncork’d Entertainment. I haven’t commented about it here yet, because being that this is my Personal Blog, I wanted to wait until I had something further to say than “ We locked it, thanks to everybody who helped make the film happen and everybody who supported me” (which I do earnestly mean by the way). So I finally came up with something. Here are three ways how the challenge that was THE SHELTER has bettered me as a person.

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.
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

fallon-1

 

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I am now attached as a Producer on Eric Red’s No Man’s Ridge!

I am happy to announce that I am now attached as a producer to Eric Red’s next film No Man’s Ridge; a terrific project that deliverers the goods on all counts. No Man’s Ridge is about:

A helicopter soars over the forests in the remote Wyoming wilderness of No Man’s Ridge area. Inside are five heavily armed and formidable hunters all dressed in militarized camouflage fatigues and face paint. They have state of the art high-powered rifles, heavy caliber handguns, crossbows and hunting gear. The extreme hunters are there to bag a Bigfoot— the ultimate hunt for the ultimate trophy. The hunters wear hat cams with compact high-resolution HD cameras to record the hunt. They also have gun cams for their rifle barrels, bow cams and portable trail cameras to put on trees. In the far reaches of the wilds, the people are dropped from the hovering chopper by cable into deep forest, fifty miles from civilization. When the five hunters see an actual giant BIGFOOT walking through the woods a half-mile away, it seems like the creature doesn’t have a chance—but it’s the other way around.

This will be the DEFINITIVE Bigfoot movie. More news on the film soon!

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