Saturday, January 14, 2006

FUTONMAKER at LDS Film Festival

My first real introduction to documentary filmmaking was FUTONMAKER, a film about a black man in Baltimore who finds faith in Jesus while making futons. It was 2001 and I had just gotten off my LDS mission in Venezuela. My best friend John got me a "job" at Fell's Point Futon. I say "job" because I wasn't technically hired, John just paid me under the table. While we were there, John shot a documentary about one of our co-workers, Melchizedek Todd. In the first cut, which was feature length, I played a role in it as well as some other futon workers. Since then, John has re-cut it and focused more on Mel's life. This new short has been accepted to the mega-big LDS Film Festival later this month. It'll be competing against Sundance for audience, but who cares? Its a good little short and I'm proud to have been a part of it.




Bryan said...

That's rad. I had no idea it would be playing locally

SAM I AM said...

I've seen futon maker and it is boooring! The video has no direction it just meaders on and on and on. Plain and simple, you can't simply string some crappily shot footage of some down on his luck dude making futons together with some even crappier interviews that totally lack any sort of focus and call it a documentary. There's this one part where there's this kid being interviewed and he talks about how he first kissed his wife to be while sitting on a futon. It's just pathetic. It was really sad to see someone try to stretch what should have been a five minute short into a feature length doc. If anyone wants to learn how NOT to make a documentary check this one out, but be warned you better drink a couple of Red Bulls.

If you want to see how a real documentarian works his magic, check out any one of Errol Morris' fine flicks.

Steven Greenstreet said...

Sam I Am, Futonmaker IS a short film. 15 minutes actually. You probably saw the original cut from 2 years ago. And I would argue that it's not boring. It just demands the attention of someone smart.

It was also the first documentary I've ever made (directed by John Kinhart, though). That was 5 years ago.

What documentaries have YOU made that I could watch and critique?

By the way, have you noticed the positive reviews from The New York Times, Variety, and TV Guide on the cover of my documentary THIS DIVIDED STATE? Yeah, do you have any of those?

Dawn Lapre said...

Steven, If "futonmaker" WAS a feature length documentary, but now IS a documentary short, then which is its best form, the feature or the short and why specifically? I guess what I am wondering is what specifically didn't work in the feature to cause those who worked on it to widdle it down to 15 minutes?

Sam I Am, common sense tells me that when you talk about a film to someone who was involved with that film, you should steer clear of words like "boring", "crappy" and "pathetic".

John said...

How bout that. 1 of the 15 people at MICA who saw the original cut happens to come across this site. Well, 'Sam', I completely agree. I hated that cut, but it was my first venture into filmmaking. Usually not a filmmaker's proudest moment. That's why I continued to film Mel and look for a story. And when I got one, it was 4 years later and I had the experience to make it a more appropriate length.