Friday, 15 March 2013

Jules Stewart interview with Mingle Media TV

Experience. Passion for Storytelling.

For the past 25 + years Jules Stewart has worked in TV and Movies as a script supervisor, representing the writers on set, sitting next to directors and DPs (director of photography) taking notes and ensuring the continuity of the project is sound.

For K-11, she moves over a chair to the director’s seat and brings the story to life. Stewart co-wrote K-11 with Jared Kurt who came to her with six pages and this story idea. The collaboration began with research and understanding the “real” place this film would be set in. There were no hidden agendas, no political statements, just telling a story.

That’s where many projects get de-railed.

Too many times the script or story starts out with one voice and vision, but not K-11, it was not designed by committee where others start injecting their voice and before you know it, your story is no longer yours. Stewart told me that she had the movie funded three times but two of them fell through. It wasn’t until meeting with some investors from France that she found the right partners. Their only requirement was that she stay as close to the script as possible.

Add up her experience and her artistic bent and you’ll understand why it was only natural for her to make the jump to be in full control as a director.

During our conversation, Stewart shared that she had some very good teachers. In fact, if you look at her IMDb credits, you’ll see some very impressive projects from dramas to action to comedies and family films proving that she’s had the “on the job training” to be a successful director as she’s worked with some very accomplished filmmakers over the years.

Shot in Continuity Order.

What does that mean? Most film or TV projects are shot out-of-order because you may only need to be at one location for a day with two or three actors so it makes sense to group them together and shoot the scenes out-of-order to keep costs down. But K-11 was shot in twenty-two days in continuity order which is unusual. The benefits were that the cast knew where the story was going and could go with the flow of the scenes being shot. Plus most of the movie is set in a large room where 46 people had to work together to tell the story as directed by Stewart. As you watch the movie, you’ll see how the camera almost plays the role of one of the inmates and you’re seeing their POV (point of view) as the story unravels.

There is a story within a story here. One where Goran Visnjic’s character Ray Saxx, a very successful record producer gets put in jail for a “187″ (murder) but is so strung out on drugs that he doesn’t know where he is. That’s when D.B. Sweeney’s character LT. Gerald Johnson, a shady sheriff’s deputy, jumps in to take him to his special ward inside of the LA County Jail, the one designated for gay and transgendered male prisoners, K-11.

Once in K-11, the audience sees life behind bars, not good or bad, just a slice of life during the time that “Ray Saxx” is inside. There is truth to this side of the film as Stewart and Kurt’s story shows the inmates as they go about their business, from “Mousey,” expertly played by Kate del Castillo, who runs the ward to “Butterfly” played by Portia Doubleday (who also delivers a stellar performance) a delicate character who morphs as the world around “her” (sorry, not into spoilers)…

Raw. Real. Not Heavy.

When I started watching the screener, it was on my second computer and as usual I was “working” on my other one when I had to stop, rewind, and just sit back and be in the audience. At first, you’re startled by the realistic setting, reminding me of “scared straight” episodes where it’s raw and real and you wanted to get out of there. Then you are pulled in and follow the “camera” to watch the events unfold. Personally, this movie had me feeling a range of emotions from relief, (that feeling of never being in that situation and thank god it has never happened to me) to frustration, to fear, to satisfaction. It started dark but left you light at the end. Unburdened, if you will, but still haunted by the situation that won’t change.

As much as I’d like to say this movie is for everyone, it’s not. It wasn’t meant to be for everyone. That’s okay with Stewart. She just wanted to tell a story, no hidden agenda. Is it a good story? Yes, it is. The movie delivers the vision and voice of the story. When you put time into creating a story and then tell it your way, and are pleased with your work, that’s all that matters. Remember the saying “art is subjective” and keep an open mind and just listen to the story.

K-11 is directed and co-written by Jules Stewart with Jared Kurt co-writing and stars Goran Visnjic (Red Widow, Beginners, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), Kate del Castillo (La Reina del Sur), Portia Doubleday (Youth in Revolt), D.B. Sweeney (Hard Ball), Jason Mewes (Clerks), Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister (The Dark Knight), Tara Buck (True Blood; Justified) and Cameron Stewart in his feature film debut.

K-11 Opens in 15 Cities and on Video on Demand March 15th 2013

Los Angeles: Laemmle’s NoHo Theater, March 15 -22
New York: Cinema Village, March 15 – 22
San Diego: Digital Gym (Grand Opening), March 29 – April 5
San Francisco: Roxie Theater, March 22 – 29
Columbus: Gateway Film Center, March 15 – 22
Denver: Starz Film Center, March 22 – 29
Tempe: Harkins Valley Art, March 15 – 22
Daytona: Cinematique of Daytona, March 23 (Special engagement)
Detroit: Cass City Cinema 3/15
Fort Lauderdale: Cinema Paradiso 3/15
Stroudsburg, PA: Living Room Theater 3/15

Find more details on watching it OnDemand here.

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