Category Archives: Articles

Tom Green’s Webovision & LA Doc Premiere

Hello from the 20 Years of Madness team—we hope you’re having a great summer!!

We’ve got some exciting news! Today, August 7th, from 5-6PM PST (8-9PM EST), our producer and doc subject Jerry White Jr., along with fellow doc subject Jesus Rivera, will be appearing on Tom Green’s LIVE Webovision show! Tom will be showing clips from the doc and getting into some shenanigans with our guys. Tune in live on YouTube—and call or video Skype if you want to ask any questions on the air!

http://www.youtube.com/tomgreen or http://www.tomgreen.com
Call only during the live show at (818) 556-1549 or Skype: WEBOVISIONLIVE

UPDATE! In case you missed the show live, here it is in its entirety:

Webovision

Tom will also be joining us this coming Monday for our LA premiere! We’re screening at the ArcLight Hollywood as part of the Slamdance Cinema Club. This is ONE NIGHT ONLY and should not be missed! Tom will be moderating the Q&A with both cast and crew from the film!!

Slamdance Cinema Club Presents
20 YEARS OF MADNESS
Monday, August 10th, 8pm
Hollywood ArcLight 6360 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, California 90028
https://www.facebook.com/events/400975510107801/

Tickets are available here:
https://www.arclightcinemas.com/movie/arclight-presents20-years-of-madness

ArcLight Screening

As always, thank you for your continued support. We hope you tune in to see the guys and, if you’re in LA, come out to see the film on the big screen!

Slamdance, Reviews, and More Screenings

2015 is off to a great start for 20 Years of Madness! We’d like to share just a few highlights with you…

Slamdance

Our World Premiere at the Slamdance Film Festival was an amazing experience. We were selected to be the Opening Night Documentary and we sold out both of our screenings! And we’re proud and humbled to announce that we received the Slamdance Jury Honorable Mention for Documentary Feature. The Jury had this to say about our film:

“Reminding us that it’s never too late to chase your dreams, 20 Years of Madness is brimming with stunning cinematography, eccentric characters and a heartfelt story about the desire to do something great while confronting the reality of failure.”

But the best part about our time at Slamdance was the wonderful filmmakers we met and the new friends we made. We’re honored to be a part of such a passionate, eclectic, and inspired community! And we’re very thankful to everyone who made the trek to Utah to help celebrate and support our film!

Park City Madness

Cast & Crew of “20 Years of Madness” pose for a portrait at the Village at the Lift Presented by McDonald’s McCafe during the 2015 Sundance Film Festival on January 25, 2015 in Park City, Utah. (January 24, 2015 – Source: Getty Images North America)

The Reviews Are In

Since our premiere, reviews have started to pop up online and in print. What are they saying? We’ll let you see for yourselves (hint: so far, so good). We’ve been updating our reviews and interviews on our website, here: 20yearsofmadness.com/press.

However, we do want to highlight one particular review by the venerable Hollywood Reporter. Frankly, we feel getting reviewed by this publication is an accomplishment in itself, but to get such an excellent review…we’re speechless!

’20 Years of Madness’: Film Review
Generation X faces its teenage ideals head-on in 20 Years of Madness, a clear-eyed and poignant documentary that explores whether you can go home again…

Future Fests

We’re excited to be bringing 20 Years of Madness to more cities (and countries) throughout this year and beyond. While a number of festivals have not officially made their announcements, here are a couple we can tell you about now:

Freep Film Festival, March 20th, 8:30pm
Our made-in-Michigan documentary will have its Michigan premiere in just a few short weeks. And there will be a special screening of Episode 15 of 30 MINUTES OF MADNESS after the doc! We can’t wait to finally share the film and show with the Motor City!

Cleveland International Film Festival, March 28th, 9:35pm & March 29th, 4:30pm
The Rock and Roll Capital of the World will be screening the film just one week after our Detroit premiere. In its 39th year, CIFF is a must-attend fest and we’re thrilled to be going!

Both of the festival links above have information on how to buy tickets and how to attend the fests. If you’re in Michigan or Ohio, come hang out with us and see the movie on the big screen!

That’s all for now, we’ll just leave you with one final image: our official movie poster, with a few laurels included for good measure. Thanks and we hope to have more good new to share with you in the near future!

web-poster-laurels-1

How Filmmaking Saved My Life

 By Jeremy Royce

Jeremy On Set

12 years ago today I stopped being a methamphetamine addict. I didn’t look like a character from Breaking Bad. Only two years prior I was a straight-A student, on track to graduate from high school at the top of my class. I was the awkward looking kid with glasses who sat in the back of the room, turned in his homework early and tried to stay out of the spotlight. I was a quiet, introverted teenager. My mother taught me to distinguish between right and wrong. I knew that drug addicts lived in gutters, crazy and deranged. They sapped society and most importantly, they were dangerous. I wasn’t any of those things. I didn’t have anger-management problems, and I didn’t grow up on the wrong side of the tracks, but in my sophomore year of high school my life changed.

 

YoungJeremy

 

At sixteen I left home to escape a difficult family environment (for reason which I won’t go into here out of respect to the people involved). I enrolled in a new school, got a job, and within a year I was living in my own apartment. I would go to class in the morning, manage a retail store in the afternoon, and work as a projectionist at the local movie theater at night. I couldn’t relate to the people I went to school with. I was an outsider and my only friends were outsiders too. They taught me that a gram of crystal meth allowed me to work sixteen hours at two jobs and still have the energy for a social life. The little time I did go to school was spent in the video production class. My first short film played at a local festival and when I sat in that darkened room, filled with strangers, and saw my work on the screen, it felt like nothing I’d ever experienced before. It was validation. I had always loved movies, but It wasn’t until then that I realized cinema offered something more than entertainment. It could be a reflection of me. Even though I was a runaway, drug dealer, barely surviving, seeing my work on the big screen gave me a sense of purpose. I was hooked on something other than speed, but quitting nearly killed me.

 

SpeedJeremy

 

Twelve years ago today I was admitted to a hospital. My throat was so swollen I could barely breath. I hadn’t had anything to eat in three days and I was severely dehydrated. This was the fifth time I had been sick in four months. All those nights without sleep had finally caught up to me. By the time I was out of the hospital and back on my feet, I had missed so much work that I couldn’t pay rent and my lease was up. I was $18,000 in debt from the hospital bills and all of my friends were drug addicts. In that moment my life could have gone in many directions. Thankfully I’d seen a glimmer of hope, reflecting back in a darkened room. I had always loved movies, but in the face of death, I realized storytelling could help other people find their reflection too. In the subsequent years, I got clean, and appealed for independent status with the state. I qualified for financial aid, and got my BA in film production. I went on to get my MFA from USC in 2012. While there, I discovered a group of filmmakers that reminded me of myself and my friends when I was a teenager. 20 Years of Madness emerged from the same desire I felt all those years ago, to tell the stories of outsiders trying to overcome the limitations they’ve been faced with by a life out of their control.

 

20yom_vhstape

 

The lives of most people suffering from drug addiction, mental illness, homelessness are much more nuanced than we have time to consider. Cinema gives us a chance to explore those nuances. It’s my goal to fight against stigma, because one small moment could turn an overachieving teenager into a drug dealer and it’s our job to make sure they don’t get lost if that happens.

We’re Halfway There!

We are halfway through our kickstarter campaign—time for an update! First of all, we’d like to thank all of our generous backers so far. We’d also like to thank our friends and family for helping us spread the word about our fundraising efforts. We’ve been releasing bonus videos from the doc and it’s been great seeing all the shares on Facebook. If you haven’t seen our video releases, here are a couple of our favorites.

What is 30 MINUTES OF MADNESS? This video pretty much gives a definitive answer.

Watch our doc subjects go all out while filming a skit for 30MOM.

With just under two weeks to go, we still need your help to spread the word. We’ve now raised over $4000 from 69 backers, but if we can’t raise an additional $11,000 we’ll lose all of your donations. We’re making a mark though; last week we were Indiewire’s Project of the Day and got backed by Kickstarter Staff. We’ve been reaching out to press, plan a reddit AMA, and TONIGHT we’ll be in Echo Park premiering the new episode of 30 MINUTES OF MADNESS.

Thanks again for your support. And if you want to see more bonus videos and special announcements this month, head over and like our Facebook page.

http://www.facebook.com/20YEARSOFMADNESS

VHS Post MTV

VHS 3 Stack

In 20 YEARS OF MADNESS, we follow the 30MOM crew as they make a new episode of the show. Producer Jerry White Jr. decided to shoot the whole thing on analog video, primarily using a free VHS camera he was given, as well as others picked up for cheap on ebay and craigslist. While this choice was met with initial skepticism by many of the cast, no one can argue that the new footage “looks like 30 MINUTES OF MADNESS.”

And the number of people embracing VHS keeps growing! We posted a few days ago about Oscar® nominated director Alejandro González Iñárritu shooting on VHS for a recent experimental film and now the folks at the Raindance Film Festival have compiled a top ten list of modern-day VHS music videos. The only thing we don’t get is how they overlooked White Limo by Foo Fighters! OK, that was three years ago, but it still feels as modern as a retro music video shot on an archaic format can!

For the full Raindance list, check out 10 Best VHS Style Lo-Fi Music Videos.

Choosing Madness

Andrew Scream

“The potent mix of creativity and madness is imposed on writers and creative artists by the randomness of a genetic dice roll, but many artists with healthy minds choose to accept the Faustian bargain and induce madness with drugs to reach new summits in their art.”

Creativity, Madness and Drugs, a guest article by R. Douglas Fields on Scientific American, explores an idea that we’re endlessly fascinated with: that madness, whether temporarily self-induced by drugs or a diagnosed permanence, is often integral to the creative experience.

“But there is a critical distinction separating artists who endure mental illness and create art from those who take drugs to create. The creative work of an artist who overcomes their mental illness—often by turning to art and literature to help them cope—is an inspirational personal triumph. But the creative work of a person who induces mental imbalance pharmacologically is the product of a drug.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

Creativity, Madness and Drugs by R. Douglas Fields

VHS on Purpose: Embracing the Analog Aesthetic

Jerry VHS Selfie

30MOM director Jerry White Jr.’s VHS selfie from the episode 15 shoot

20 YEARS OF MADNESS features a lot of VHS footage shot in the 90s, culled from hundreds of hours of material, but our doc also highlights modern-day VHS video shot for the new episode of 30MOM. And show director Jerry White Jr. isn’t the only one embracing the so-called “consumer” and “obsolete” format. From Tim & Eric to Harmony Korine, VHS refuses to die.

One of the latest directors to embrace VHS is Academy Award® Nominated director Alejandro González Iñárritu (Babel, 21 Grams). He chose to shoot his recent experimental short “Naran Ja” with the same cheap VHS camera your parents still have in their attic (or basement). In an article at nofilmschool, Iñárritu waxes poetic about the medium:

“VHS texture is for digital what grain used to be for film…Digital and most film stock is so sleek now, that everything looks very plastic and unnatural. We have lost the skin of the images. Cameras reproduce reality much more sharply than my eyes can see and that’s why it looks fake…I thought this $39 VHS camera reproduced and exquisite, moshy-moshy, beautiful, horrific greeny-yellowish skin that triggered my emotional memory of TV series from the 70s. I loved it.”

While the short won’t be for everyone, it’s clearly not intended to be. “Naran Ja” is nevertheless confident in its exploration of movement and location while being a thorough contemplation of content transcending media.

For the full article, see:
Alejandro González Iñárritu Goes VHS with His Experimental Short ‘Naran Ja’ at nofilmschool.

Tools of the Trade

Making a documentary is a lot of work… but it’s getting easier and more affordable all the time. Long gone are the days of 16mm film mags, bulky sound recorders, and flatbed editing. Telling a good story may not be any easier but affording good gear certainly is. Those crazy cats at PBS have crunched the numbers and put together an interesting info-gram showing what film equipment is common on a documentary set today.

Check out the link here.