Independent Theater packs the house with comedy, drama of NON COMPOS MENTIS: or Jerry Powell & the Delusions of Grandeur
The newly remodeled Independent Theater (251 S. Main, downtown Los Angeles) is doing quite well if premieres and attendance are any indication. It was standing-room only last night (12-27-11) with a crowd lined up from the red carpet walk to the outside sidewalk for the premiere showing of NON COMPOS MENTIS: or Jerry Powell & the Delusions of Grandeur.
Inside the two story theater self-taught underground filmmaker and musician Director/Writer Mike Cuenca wiggles his way through the elbow-to-elbow movie goers and stars to lead the select cast and crew onto the red carpet.
There were no cheap tricks in this low budget movie ($500), which was shot in 31 days. To hear the behind the scenes stories from Director Cuenca and lead star Joe Halter makes it sound more like an old western movie that was filmed in the desert rather than a comedy drama.
“The biggest challenge was shooting the movie in a month with a budget of only 500 bucks,” said Ceunca on the red carpet. “But even more grueling was wearing sweaters and sweating in heavy jackets in the summer time while shooting a winter scene. It was awful, but it was worth it.”
NON COMPOS MENTIS: or Jerry Powell & The Delusions of Grandeur is a crime comedy produced by Blvd. Du Cinema in association with Ammo Photography. Mike Cuenca’s second feature chronicles a series of vignettes based around Jerry Powell, a low-level thief with memory distrust syndrome. On the edges of sanity, Powell finds himself chased by a gang of criminals as he attempts to deliver a mysterious package for a known money-launderer.
Cuenca’s first feature-length film is Scenes from Oblivion, a youth-in-quarrel/semi-comic drama reflecting his Cuban-American upbringing and love of punk rock music. He is also the creator of punks, mods and rockers web Series Oblivion which he co-writes, edits, produces, directs and acts in.
Cuenca has taken a break from Oblivion to focus on a set of three loosely connected black and white movies, the first premiering last night (12-27-11) NON COMPOS MENTIS or: Jerry Powell & The Delusions of Grandeur. The second film titled Zora in Desire has already started filming this month. The third, As the Crows Fly, to begin production in spring 2012. The three movies are being shot by Los Angeles and New York based photographer Amberlie Bankoff.
Cuenca’s growing body of work addresses such themes as personal identity and freedom, absurdist philosophy, and punk ideology with a dose of slapstick humor. He cites his major influences as Woody Allen, Jim Jarmusch, the Marx Bros, and the French New Wave.
The Independent Theater is a clean, well kept up facility and has a snack bar and lounge on the first floor. I highly recommend this movie and the theater for an intimate cinematic experience. If you really want to treat someone to a unusual but entertaining movie take them to this film now showing downtown.
The full movie trailer can be viewed at: http://vimeo.com/31038690 or http://blvdducinema.comand a slide show of the select cast and crew can be found at: http://mayocommunications.com/, more TV interviews at Youtube.com/mayopraccounts.