Tag Archives: Documentary

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.

 

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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.

20 YEARS OF MADNESS Trailer

MEDIA ADVISORY | For Immediate Release
Contact: Jeremy Royce, 20yearsofmadness@gmail.com

MADE IN MICHIGAN DOCUMENTARY “20 YEARS OF MADNESS” PREMIERES TRAILER

DIY Documentary Tells The Story Of The Eccentric Creators Behind A Bizarre Mid-90s Metro Detroit Public Access TV Show As They Reunite After 20 Years To Make A New Episode In An Effort To Reconcile Their Teenage Dreams With The Reality Of Adulthood

LOS ANGELES20 YEARS OF MADNESS follows Jerry White Jr., creator of the Metro Detroit 90s cult Public Access TV Show 30 MINUTES OF MADNESS, as he returns to his hometown of Rochester, Michigan to make a new episode for the show’s twenty-year anniversary. The show included a ragtag cast of outsiders who routinely played offbeat and crazy characters. What they couldn’t have predicted was that the wild and unhinged lifestyle they embraced on the show would eventually become a reality for many of them later in life.

Jerry, now 36, a graduate of Oakland University and a recent MFA grad of USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, never stopped believing in the show and the potential of its collaborators. As we follow him back to Michigan, the film explores the bond between childhood friends, now struggling in adulthood, after life has failed to provide many of them with the opportunities for which they had hoped. As Jerry gathers everyone together, he is forced to confront years of resentment, rebuild burnt bridges, and balance challenging personalities in the hope of reviving a once thriving creative community. 20 YEARS OF MADNESS explores the importance of friendship in artistic collaboration and how it can be used to overcome and transcend the labels and expectations placed on us by society. And while film’s subjects lives have not turned out the way they envisioned in their youth, they learn it’s never too late to be what you might have been.

The film is directed by California native Jeremy Royce and mentored by Acadamey Award Winning documentarian Mark Jonathan Harris. For more information about 20 YEARS OF MADNESS and to view the trailer, visit: www.20yearsofmadness.com. For downloadable press materials visit www.20yearsofmadness.com/press.

Self Medicated

Self Medicated

A documentary covering the events of the Antagonist Movement over 2013. From street to gallery see the new wave in art from the last American art movement.

Documentary film director Ethan Minsker of the Antagonist Movement has a lot in common with our doc subjects. He has a long history with DIY filmmaking, zine creation, and Public Access Television and has known many of our gang for 20 years! He met Jerry, Joe, Dan, and the other 30MOM crew through mail correspondence in the mid-90s while they were doing their zine, “Hoofsip.” They’d trade videos through the mail as well as contribute to each other’s zines—Ethan fronting the long-running “Psycho Moto Zine.”

This week, Ethan released the trailer for his latest documentary, “Self Medicated.” The film explores a year behind the scenes of the Antagonist Movement, a group of artists based in NYC, but with a global reach. The trailer opens with a line that feels like it’s speaking to us directly:

“Sick of watching documentaries on already rich and famous artists?”

Why, yes, thank you! Though we’re a little jealous since we can’t use that line for our film now. Well played Ethan. Check out the trailer and links below!

Trailer: Self Medicated the movie from Ethan H. Minsker on Vimeo.

For more info, check out: Antagonist Movement and Self Medicated

20 YEARS OF MADNESS 2013 Year in Review

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Wow, a year goes by fast! We’ve been working our asses off on 20 YEARS OF MADNESS and it keeps getting better and better. Here’s just some of what we’ve been up to in 2013:

• January 1st: Brought on our incredible editor, Jose Santos.
• February 1st: Added our talented and industrious producer, Kaveh Taherian.
• January–May: Poured through 350 hours of 30MOM archival footage and the 150 hours of doc footage we shot in 2012.
• January–April: Edited the 500 hours of raw footage into the first cut of 20 YEARS OF MADNESS.
• April 24th: Completed the first cut of the doc (four hours long!).
• April 29th: Released the 30 MINUTES OF MADNESS Mix Tape Vol. 1.
• June 14th: Screened a trimmed-down rough cut for 18 of our most trusted LA filmmaker friends and got their indispensable feedback.
• July 21st: Flew back to Michigan for 2 weeks of pickup shooting.
• October 14th: Completed the sixth rough cut and started courting film festivals.
• December 16th: Shot new interviews with the LA cast to augment the latest edit.

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We made a ton of progress in 2013, but 2014 has even more in store for 20 YEARS OF MADNESS. Here’s what we’re looking forward to in the coming year…

• January: Handing off the cut to our immensely gifted composing duo, Sam Jones and Alexis Marsh.
• February 1st: Worldwide release of our brand spanking new trailer.
• February 1st: Online premiere of 30 MINUTES OF MADNESS episode 15 for our Kickstarter backers.
• February 15th: Launch of our shiny new website courtesy of our esteemed colleague Tom Roof.
• April: Complete picture-lock of 20 YEARS OF MADNESS.
• April: Hand off the locked picture to our brilliant soundies, Kim Patrick and Baihui Yang for sound design.
• May: Final Mix at Skywalker Sound and color correction.

We still have a lot of work to do, but we’re confident 20 YEARS OF MADNESS will live up to all of your wildest and weirdest expectations! And there’s much more in store for 2014 that we can’t divulge just yet, so keep your eyes on our website and Facebook page for all the latest and greatest.

As always, thank you for your support and enthusiasm for this film!

¡¡HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

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