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S c r e e n LIFE his spirit alive. About one a year seems a manageable balance with working on other people’s films in order to keep home and hearth together. Last year’s project, a short titled Step-A-Head, came from a dream about a three-headed god who wanted an art director to create a universe. At the time, Jonathan was working on Midnight Special, the Jeff Nichols film, but the image haunted him: a creative type forced to create under an impossible deadline. Step-A-Head launched onto the festival circuit in time for Jonathan to team up with Cory again to make a short titled Pilgrims. Adapted from Brad Land’s second book, Pilgrims Upon the Earth, the film comes at the perfect time: Land’s breakthrough book, Goat, detailing horrific hazing at the hands of a fraternity, has just been adapted into a film starring James Franco and Nick Jonas. Jonathan describes Pilgrims as “a major departure for the SuperKiiids — incredibly depressing.” He chuckles. “Cory took the script to the UCLA screenwriting lab — then we got a grant through the South Carolina Indie Grants program for $25,000 to make a short film.” Jonathan directed the film and notes that growing up in the Carolinas in the late ’80s/early ’90s prepared him perfectly for the project. Punk rock was starting to spread into more rural parts of the country, speaking to the anger of disaffected youth outside city centers. He tells me quite seriously that “Spartanburg, South Carolina, was quite the blossoming punk rock scene. There was plenty of anger there.” I give him credit for getting that line out with a straight face, and we both break up into hysterical laughter. Having a budget was a nice change, but all the usual problems of filmmaking were still present: scheduling, location changes, weather and exhaustion. Currently Jonathan is making his first stop-motion animated film, Neko Kaburi. “Neko Kaburi, the English equivalent is to be ‘a wolf in sheep’s clothes’. But the hilarious Japanese version is to ‘wear a cat-like mask while conducting yourself in a suspicious manner’,” Jonathan says, grinning. He first saw this script when he was planning a feature length live-action production. Now it has morphed into an animated short. “I’ve made a couple of attempts at creating the world and the style elements that I see in the film, but this one is the closest I think to an actual Western . . . it is very similar to the opening of Once Upon a Time in the West.” There is something very alluring to Jonathan about stop-motion animation where everything is very controlled. Weather is not an issue, actor and location scheduling ceases to concern the production team. “You just work with elements that you’re given,” he says with a knowing chuckle. b Gwenyfar Rohler spends her days managing her family’s bookstore on Front Street. The Art & Soul of Wilmington

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July 2016 •



July Salt 2016  

The Art & Soul of Wilmington

July Salt 2016  

The Art & Soul of Wilmington