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Thursday, April 29, 2010

1/20: A Motion Picture

Update: Watch the 1/20 trailer.
Other update: read about our first film fest, or all 1/20 news.

I'm finally allowed to tell the title for the movie that I've been working on, and there it is. The title, I mean: "1/20." (We've been saying it out loud as "One-Twenty," but if you want to be a real geek about it, you're welcome to use the "slash.")

The title doesn't give away all of the movie's secrets. It doesn't even reveal that much about the purpose or the theme of the film (although, if you read it the right way, it might).

I'm not really sure where to begin, so I'm just going to do a little interview with myself about it. If you want to see my older blog posts about the movie -- about 1/20, I mean! -- just look for the label the secret movie (by clicking on those words, I mean). And if you have any other questions, just put 'em in the comments section. I'll try to say everything I'm allowed to.

How did this happen?
A producer read my book Never Mind the Goldbergs and really liked it. Then he read all my other books. Then he asked if I could write a screenplay. I told him I'd never done it before, and he said that was okay, he'd never made a film before either. So that was that. A director (expereinced!) was brought on, and he had his own idea of what movie we should make. Then we enlisted a talented (and also experienced!) production company, who were like the Oompa Loompas, but without all the creepy undertones. They were just that damn good.

What's it about?
This is where it gets tricky -- how much I'm allowed to say, I mean. Two girls are stuck in the suburbs, beating their heads against the wall, and they decide to run away to Washington, DC. There's a little bit of science fiction. A little bit of a love story. A little bit about how to break up with your best friend.

You mean it's not Jewish or punk?
It's not Jewish -- well, not flagrantly. None of the main characters are -- all the characters are collaborations between me and the director and the actors, and I think we all squeezed a lot of our spirituality/religion/punkitude into them. Ayako, who plays the lead character, is the kind of brilliant that shatters glass from miles away when she's angry, and spreads love pheromones to people two counties away. She's this demure, soft-spoken girl who -- literally five minutes into the film -- emerges into something fierce and savage and beautiful.

It's pretty flagrantly punk, though. You'll see as soon as I'm allowed to show the movie poster -- Ayako's hair is an art piece. An art piece that's 18 inches tall.

Where did the idea come from, anyway?
I lived in D.C. for five years, from when I was 17 until I turned 22, moved to San Francisco, and decided to be a poet. It was a weird five years -- I became Orthodox, was homeless for a bit, became a coffee addict, got off coffee, spent a lot of time alone wandering around huge empty boulevards. You haven't lived till you've been alone at the Lincoln Memorial at 4 a.m. Of course, you also probably haven't come that close to being abducted by a psycho and disappearing off the face of the earth, either. D.C. is a beautiful place, but it's also frightening. It's where I learned how to be an adult.

Have you seen the movie yet?
I've seen a rough cut, and I've seen about two minutes with film. It's beautiful. Gerardo del Castillo, who directed the film (he's the only one whose name I know I'm allowed to reveal), is a genius. If he made thirty-second TV commercials, prime-time audiences would be jumping to their feet and giving a standing ovation five times an hour.

Where did you film?
All over the place. Most scenes were shot in Queens, Manhattan, and upstate (well, semi-upstate) (well, Monsey). Some great stories came out of that, mostly involving Ayako's mohawk and Hasidic Jews. The last week of filming was all in D.C. proper. I missed the last day of filming, which was on Thanksgiving and at my favorite location in the city. But I got to be at the White House scenes, which was way worth it.

What's your favorite part?
That would be telling.

Fine, then. Biggest surprise?
Melinda, who did the art direction and props. I didn't even consciously realize there would be an art director. But when I wrote about what Ayako's character's bedroom should look like, I was basically fantasizing -- it was my bedroom if I knew way more about electronics and graffiti art and hacking Christmas lights than I do.

What's next?
Filming was completed in November. Now the movie's getting all professional-fied: The film is being cut and edited in Barcelona. The actual sound is getting mastered in London, and they're working out the soundtrack. And we're trying to get a distribution deal, which sounds like nothing, but it's apparently the hardest and scariest part of this whole enterprise.

And, most of all, drumming up support. Talking to people. Letting you know how good 1/20 is going to be once you're watching it in a theater (it will be amazing, I promise) and letting the Hollywood Industry Folks know that there are people who want to see it. That a movie doesn't have to have naked folks or guns or blue naked people with guns...sometimes, that all it takes is a lot of heart.


Unknown said...

I'm watching it!

Marie said...

I can't wait to see this! Sounds amazing!!

PunkTorah said...

it also helps that Can!!Can is in it :-)

matthue said...

If by which you mean, it makes the movie...

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