Tuesday, June 27th, sometime around 7:30pm. Me and my friend Alanna await the premiere screening for Stitches, a two year in-the-making feature film by Joe Black, an up and coming writer/director that I just wrapped making a feature documentary about.
The location seemed a bit random, being a hidden theater tucked in the douche-confines of The Lorenzo building. You might remember the huge arson-fire of the Da-Vinci Apartments near DTLA back in 2014, which shares owners with The Lorenzo. Soon, I would finally understand where that arsonist was probably coming from.
As 7:45 came around, 15 minutes after the initial start, the eager crowd of about fifty still wait for the film to light up the big screen (most of them I believe worked on it), when Joe suddenly enters, and unveiled the shocking news: the Lorenzo management, for still unknown reasons, would only let ten people in the theater at a time, and would now not allow the screening to happen. The theater holds enough seats for about a hundred.
Of course, the audience was quick on their reactions, with mostly the elders in the crowd loudly calling bull on the sudden rule-changing. After we were booted out, the screening was relocated to Joe’s friend’s theater, and then relocated to Joe’s studio in Hollywood, where the audience decreased to ten people. I couldn’t help but think, now how indie-film is this whole situation? Later, my friend Alanna acknowledged what The Lorenzo did was another example of corporate interests stifling creativity and the arts.
The next day, I meet up with Joe at his Hollywood loft to finish editing the film. I asked to hear his thoughts about what happened the night before, the situation which he managed to handle like a pro, never getting mad with anybody.
Searching for the right words, he eventually gave this statement: “I’ve met some truly beautiful and extraordinary people in my life – those are the people I base my characters off of and cast in my films. So when I encounter people who are not that, it doesn’t really get to me.”
This is one of the many reasons that I wanted to interview Joe. He simply won’t quit.
Many still have yet to watch his films and find out who he is, but he currently has made more features (12) and written more scripts (around 450) than any of the other more established directors I know.
The inspirations behind his body of work are based on events in his own life, along with the films of Robert Altman, John Cassavetes, and Woody Allen. Obviously, his filmmaking has yet to stand on par with the likes of Love Streams, Manhattan, or Nashville. But the passion and ambition Joe pours into everything he has ever done is undeniable.
With this simple documentary that we’ve put together, I hope those who watch it remember to forget about what critics and audiences might say, and learn to just make the art you love and that best represents you as a creator.