Luke’s Mother-in-Law Interviews Jason Momoa (and Reviews the Joshua Tree Film Festival)
Got questions? Martha Boyd has all sorts of answers. A desert-dweller, self-proclaimed crazy cat lady, former LAPD officer and widow to a Green Beret, she’s seen and heard things crazier than you’ve imagined. And is ready for whatever odd questions you have, so bring them on!
Okay, guys and gals, over the weekend I took one for the team. It was a hard job/rough assignment, but I did it. I got hugged by Jason Momoa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. Photo attached for proof. He is really tall and god what a hunk!!!!!!!!. All of my lady friends are like, you did it – wow. Where else but out in a dusty parking lot in the middle of Joshua Tree do you get this to happen. I walked right up to him, said “Hi, my name is…” and he shook my hand and said how about a picture. Oh yeah, like I’m going to turn that one down. Hey, I’m an innocent little old lady! His lovely wife was a few feet away, kids were at a relative’s house doing a movie night. He had other friends and family with him and was quietly waiting in the parking lot as not to interrupt a movie screening which had not finished. He was taking time with each and every person who came up and said hello. So Robot Mom did the very happy dance Saturday night.
After the pictures, Mr. Momoa was nice enough to answer a few questions for me
Have you been scanned for Aquaman toys?
JM: Yes I have – there will be collectibles.
What advice would you give to a young film maker who wants to get into the business ?
JM: Have a good story to tell, like the kind you can tell around a cam fire without all the bangs and booms in a lot of movies. If you have a good story that catches the imagination, you will make a good film.
I’m used to seeing Aquaman in the cute orange shirt and green tights. So far we have seen you in armor – not that that is bad. But will we see some orange and green?
JM: Well, there might be some bit of orange and green. A bit of respect to prior work, but I think he is meaner now and upset – look at what has been done to our oceans. That’s his world that has been polluted.
I understand you will be in 2 films prior to Aquaman: Batman v Superman and Justice League. Any comments?
JM: Well, we will see. I really can’t say much on that right now.
What brought you to Joshua Tree and the Joshua Tree International Film Fest?
JM: Well, I have family and friends in the area and have always liked coming out to the area. We filmed some of Road to Paloma in and around the area, used friends’ houses etc. This desert is so beautiful. When we learned of the festival I felt that it would be a great place to show the film. And now I am getting an award from the festival – wow. I’ve never won anything before.
So how about that, guys. I think I did good on this one. He was so nice and easy to speak with – a gentleman to say the least. It was an honor and pleasure to speak with him if only for a few minutes.
Now, on to other events at the film fest. The fest had a lot of growing pains this weekend. At the awards Saturday night, the founder did say that if anyone was unhappy with the event to contact the box office – this was very nice of him and he deserves respect for this offer. There were lots of first-year problems; please note this was nothing to do with the quality of films shown or any of the film makers or sponsors of the event. Sponsors and local business stepped up to the plate when things started going wrong. The volunteer staff were nice and polite under pressure, but he could have used more staff. Also more signs to mark locations for events. Being a local, I know were most everything was, but an out-of-towner would have had issues in some places. Also up-to-date time posted schedules at venues would have been helpful, especially with all of the changes. As you know it is hard sometimes to find volunteers and this appears to be the case. But darn they hung in there. There were a lot of tech issues which hopefully will not happen next year. Yes, the founder, Eric Quander, has said there will be a fest next year and that he has learned much from this year.
So I was at the opening “Red Carpet” event. The suggested dress was “desert chic,” okay; it was right on the web site and you are going to a party. Please a note to the girl who came in a tank top, raggy Daisy Dukes and 99 cent store flip flops this is not what you wear to a party. Some of the guest came like they had just finished slopping the hogs and gotten off the tractor. On the other hand there were a majority of the guest who looked like they understood it was a party. The opening was held in a local business called the Joshua Tree Trading post. It is an interesting shop with a lot of local art and treasures. The event started at 6 p.m. and granted, I did leave at 8 p.m.; not sure how long it went but I had early things to do. There were maybe about 40-50 people in attendance at the height of my time pretty much when pizza was served. Pie for the People (sponsor) provided the pizza – I had the spicy chicken – yummy. About a ½ hour into the event I went to the bar to purchase a soda or water. My water had run out as it was warm in the building and over 90 outside. There was no soda and no water – they had run out. They did have beer, wine and mixed drinks – $3.00 to $6.00 range. I don’t drink when I have to drive home and am working on an assignment. I was offered a glass with ice from the ice chest – they tried. Anyway, I plopped down at a table to see what was going to happen. The only way I met any filmmakers at the opening was a lady at my table saw filmmakers she knew and brought them over and made the introduction. The fest set up no interviews – item for next year: give the press some info on who, when and where to get interviews.
The lady who introduced me to the first film makers was Lakita Campell, who is the director of MoldingHearts.org. / moldinghearts.com. They are al local 501 (C3) group which helps the homeless in San Bernardino Co, primarily in the desert areas with housing, life skills etc. Ms Campell introduced me to Molly Pickett (producer) and Sean Ramey (writer) of White Collar Stoners.
White Collar Stoners (2014) is about an astrophysicist and friends who make an annual trip to Joshua Tree for “Tokesgiving.” This is billed as a comedy with a message. You can watch the kickstarter video online. Anyway while in Joshua Tree, they learn 2 asteroids are going to collide and they have to save the world. The film was by a group of young filmmakers who did this with a $50,000 budget. They got some from kickstarter, a wonderful $15000 private investor and then there own funds. Per Molly you can watch the film on Vimeo. They were showing this film at 10 p.m. on Friday and 4 p.m. Saturday. I told them that I would be at the 4 p.m. show.
Well, here is where we start running into issues. I get to the local for the 4 p.m. on Saturday. There was to be a 3 p.m. showing of a short. There was no one at the location. So I go inside the store where the screening was to be and asked if I was in the correct place behind their shop in the “Starlight Courtyard.” The guy behind the counter asked me where that was. I said I was told it was behind your store and there is a screen and chairs set up in the patio area. He side “I have never heard it called that”. Now, they have only been showing fest films etc in the “Starlight Courtyard” for 6+ months. Anyway I wait in the heat until 3:30, and I am in a ghost town. So get in the car and head over to the festival office, where I look some pics of the merchandise and asked about White Collar Stoners. I was told that there were no screenings at the courtyard and my movie had been moved from 4 p.m. to 4:20 [of course]at a shop called “Ricochet”. As I was already parked I walked.
“Ricochet” is a cute vintage shop on Hwy 62 in Joshua Tree. The screening was in the backyard of the business. So I go out back and another screening was in progress of a movie called “45 RPM” which was not on the schedule for this locations. There were five people watching, one of which was the filmmaker. So I watched the end of this movie – I had seen it before and it was good. My film makers arrive and after the TV was shut down from “ 45 RPM” no one could get it to work again. They tried for ½ hour with no luck. Now, mind you, it is over 90 degrees, and we are on folding chairs with a small sun cover hoping to watch a movie on a small living room size TV sitting in the sun with glare issues. I have included a pic of the TV. We gave up and they were promised another screening at a different place at 8 pm that night – that did not happen either.
While waiting to see if the TV would come to life I completed speaking with the White Collar Stoners crew and then got to visit with the lovely owners of the Sunnyvale Garden Suites in 29 Palms. They were also sponsors of the fest. They were a bit disappointed at this time with the fest and had been running up against the tech issues during the day, but they hoped that it would improve and noted that they did have fest guests staying with them. They also noted that they had sold 100 tickets to the show for Sunday and that the film was going to have to be split into two showings as both venues were rather small. They were worried that not everyone who bought a ticket would be able to see the movie. Anyway, I have been on their property in the past and can say that it is very nice with a spa and lovely patio area. The rooms are suites with kitchens. You can check them out at sunnyvalesuites.com.
Next event on my list was the “Black Lotus Awards.” This was to be at 5;30 red carpet with the event starting at 6:15 at a place called “The Station.” Old gas station that has been renovated. So I arrive at 5:15 as I am press and what to get all that I can for you guys. I found an open gate to the rear patio area and saw a few people just hanging around. I found one of the event volunteers and asked about the awards. “Oh, it has been moved to “Joshua Tree Excursions.” The owner of this site was told the awards were cancelled so we are shutting this site down. Really?????.
So back in the car and drive a few blocks to “Joshua Tree Excursions.” This wonderful business had air conditioning and due to all of the missed screenings said that they would stay open for as long as it took to make it up to the filmmakers and patrons who were here to see the films. The owner did not care if he had to be there all night. You can check them out at JoshuaTreeExcursions.com. They do hiking tours, corporate events, private parties etc all in the beautiful setting of Joshua Tree.
The awards are now set for 7 p.m. So to entertain those who have shown up so far – about 6 of us and 2 are LA times reporters – the fest staff tries to show a couple of short films. Well, again, we have computer issues which kill about 30 minutes. Finally we get a couple of shorts, one was called “Beverly” which was from London. We are also told there is to be a screening of “Tangerine” right after the awards as the actress has to get back to Los Angeles. However, guess what – the file with the movie is found to be damaged and will need to be reloaded. The lead actress in “Tangerine” is Mya Taylor. Ms. Taylor is a beautiful transgender actress and her film was a hit at Sundance and to be released by Magnolia Pictures. Ms Taylor also received an award this evening. The award was presented by Thomi Clinton director of the Transgender Community Coalition located in North Palm Springs, CA. They can be contacted at www.TransCC.org. Ms Taylor gave a great acceptance speech which I am sure will be one of the many that she will be giving.
So we are still waiting for the awards to happen. During this time I spoke with another displaced film marker – actually a brother/sister team from Ireland and Vermont. There company is Circeo Films . The film they were showing is She Sings to the Stars. This is the story of a Native American grandmother who lives in the desert with her half-Hispanic grandson and an aging white magician. A tag for the film is “Magic! Do you believe anything is possible?” You can check out more about this film at www.shesingstothestars.com.
We are now past 7 p.m. – the new start time for the awards. Well this is when I decide to go outside as I am tired of sitting and waiting. This is when I find Mr. Momoa standing in the parking lot. Now, no one from the fest told me he was here or available for interviews etc. I’ll remind you I did review Road to Paloma several months ago when it was shown in Joshua Tree, and had requested an interview with Mr. Momoa. So being the mom I am I went out into the parking lot and introduced myself. You have already read the results.
Sunday, the closing day, was a bit better.
Please remember that these tech issues were not a part of the film makers – everything I saw was interesting and well put together. The local businesses and sponsors did a fantastic job and thus I have mentioned those I had personal dealings with. I sincerely hope that next years fest is much improved as the founder has promised that he will do the best to fix the issues that popped up this year so that they do not happen next year. Hopefully those who attended this year see that it was first year growing pains and that the films were a wonderful event for our area. I hope that they will give it another look next year.
Next week I’ll get back to your questions. Feel free to leave me some more below, or email directly to boydappraisal at yahoo.