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-Interview by Nic Brown-


Head shot photos courtesy of William Spangler:

http://www.roseislandphoto.com

Jason Crowe didn’t set out to be an actor, but once he started he knew that working in film was what he wanted to do with his life. Now Jason and his friend TJ Moreschi have started their own independent film company: Feathered Italian Films and they’ve hit the ground running with award winning short films, music videos and their first feature film THE LEGACY. Jason and his creative partners have big plans and now he’s going to talk about them, how he got started in film, and why professional wrestlers love Feathered Italian films!

Nic - What is Feathered Italian Films and how are you involved with it?

Feathered Italian Films is an indie based film company here in Louisville, Kentucky created by myself and my best friend TJ Moreschi. He's the "Italian" part of the group. :) Created almost 8 years ago as a theater production company, we really had no clue as to what we were doing. We were just having fun. Now perhaps 2 years ago we shifted our sight more towards becoming professional film makers. After winning a few awards with short films/videos, we decided this was the time to take the next step into feature film. Our team now consists of awesome talent including TJ, myself, Roni Jonah, Jennifer Convery, James Tackett and Jeff Mitchell. Basically we are a passionate group dedicated to creating quality entertainment for everyone to enjoy.

Nic - Moving from theater into films is a common story for many actors, but I’ve not heard of it so much for production companies. What is the biggest difference for you and what is the biggest challenge in doing film as opposed to theater?

Well for us there wasn't a HUGE difference between maintaining a theater production as opposed to film. More or less it comes down to marketing and money. With the theater we were working in we had everything within reach and the college helped fund some shows. We mostly did productions for friends and family and that was that. However when we decided to do film we knew that the only way to succeed was to get people interested. Which of course means money. Money to get the right equipment, actors, props and material for flyers etc.... Film pushed us to a new level when it comes to public interest. Finding innovative ways to get the public interested with out going broke in the process. Admittedly it's still a work in progress but thanks to the cast and crew of our projects people are starting to come around.


Nic - Jason, I understand that Feathered Italian Films has just completed its first feature film: THE LEGACY. Can you tell us something about that?
 
Well The Legacy was a bit of an impromptu to film. It all started as Roni (Jonah) and I were hiking at a local park. Roni looked around and said "You know, we could make an awesome slasher movie that takes place in the woods...." Thus The Legacy was born. Roni and I came up with the story on our 30 minute drive home. The next day I was calling up all the actors I knew. A day after that we were ready to go... except I had yet to write the script. We knew the concept and had it a cast but no script! Which now is hilarious but at that time I was like "Wait a second, what did we just do?" So I wrote the script in about 2 days, and we started filming soon after that.

This being my directorial debut in feature film, I was a bit nervous. Add the fact that we basically created and cast an entire film in 4 days and perhaps you can understand my sudden sense of panic. Then Roni tells me that her friend, professional wrestling legend Al Snow, was interested in working with us, which turned my panic into sheer terror. Before it was 48 hour project among friends for fun. Now it was real! With legit professionals, and people were looking to me to make it happen.

In the end everything turned out great. The cast and crew were some of the best and most creative people I have ever worked with which made the whole process that much easier. I am still in the editing process on The Legacy and we are starting to work on our second feature "Hell House". Which I guess makes me a glutton for punishment. :)

Nic - It sounds like you’re not wasting any time. So tell us a little about HELL HOUSE.

 

No we're not wasting any time. Once we get rolling it's hard to say when we will stop. HELL HOUSE is our baby. It started as a contest entry for Fright Night Film Festival's short film contest. We created a short entitled "Hell House" that we created within a 48 hour process. It nearly killed us. However we LOVED it. We watched what we created in such a short time with just a hand-held camera and shop lights and thought "Man this is pretty cool. Wonder what we could do with real cameras and time." So after The Legacy we started to work on the script for Hell House and extend it into a feature film. Working the concept "if some one was murdered inside a haunted house would anyone ever know or would they just think it was part of the show?" The entire story of the film is FAR more involved. Almost too involved because I keep confusing myself and to who is doing what to whom and why. :)

Luckily the folks at Hauntednetwork.com have been nice enough to let us use two of Kentucky and Indiana's biggest and best haunted attractions "The Industrial Nightmare", which is 60,000 sq feet of madness, and "The Haunted Hotel", perhaps one of the most frightening haunted houses I've ever been in. With their help and the help of talent such as professional wrestling legend AL SNOW, sexy female wrestlers Rockstar RONI JONAH and CYNDI "Bobcat" SNOW, 5 time MMA cage fighting champion DALE MILLER, ex playboy playmate ALEX DEL MONACCO, film stars STACEY DIXON, DANIEL EMREY TAYLOR (Return of The Swamp Thing) LARRY BUTLER and JIM O’REAR and all of the fine Kentucky talent including NATHAN DAY (Stash) I think we have a cult classic on our hands!

Nic - How did you get your start as an actor?

Well here's the funny thing. I didn't really want to be an actor. Don't get me wrong, I have always loved movies but being part of them was never something I aspired to... although I distinctly remember telling an old friend in the fifth grade that I was going to make a movie. I don't know why because I didn't plan on it but I remember saying that. Anyways my story goes like this....

My good friend Divinity Rose wanted to audition for the local theater company that was putting on "The Wizard of Oz." I had no interest in it but she did.... She asked me to at least go with her to support her, which I did. On the day of auditions she begins to plead with me to audition. "No" I said until eventually she broke me down... as women have the power to do. I walked up on stage auditioned just to appease her and then before I knew it I was cast as the all powerful OZ…. I caught the acting bug and I have been doing it since. Although I didn't really audition for film until, on a whim, I auditioned for "Dead Moon Rising." Ended up landing the lead in that and I have stuck with film ever since.... Now it's my passion. I love it and hope we can continue doing it for a long time.

Nic - You're a writer, director and an actor. Which of those roles do you find most challenging and which one is your favorite?

I am all of those and a film editor, which happens to be my favorite part. When I tell most people that they look at me like I am insane but editing has become my biggest passion. It's hard to describe, but when you can take pieces of a scrambled story, put them together by finding the very best parts and make a comprehensive film out of it it's amazing. Instant gratification. It's tedious work. You can watch one scene so many times that it will literally drive you nuts but the end result is worth every bit of it. I just recently won my first award for editing for our short 48 hour film, which we made in 20 hours, called DTA. That made me feel like all my hard work finally paid off.

As for the hardest, I would have to say directing. I have directed several community theater productions in the past but my venture into film was far different. When you're directing you have to know every little detail of what's going on. Not only within the film but with your actors, your crew, your budget, wardrobe, props and everything in between down to who is getting the coffee. To be the one person everyone looks to for answers can be very difficult, but as the director you make it happen. As a director you put yourself out there for the WORLD to see and then ask them to judge you.... However wonderful or harsh the judgment may be you have to be fearless and ready for it. You better be able to listen and understand in order to be better the next time around, which is always my goal... to be better then the last time.

I would say the most difficult part of directing is knowing that you hold everyone's dream in your hand. This is their passion. Their dreams. Whether it be for fame, fortune or just to say they were a part of it once; and you HAVE to respect that. They want the world to see them and it's up to you to make it happen. Basically they put their hopes and dreams in your hands and say "Here, help me achieve my dream. Help me make this happen." Which to me is the most frightening part of it all. I don't want to let anyone down. I want everyone one of us to succeed. As a director I feel that's my job. To make it happen...

 

Nic - So far you’ve been sticking to the horror genre for your work with Feathered Italian Films. Is that going to continue to be the case or do you plan to branch out into other areas such as drama, comedy or sci-fi for example?

 

Horror is something that I love and will continue to do. However we have a few straight comedies waiting in the wings that we are itching to do. But before those we are going to finish Hell House, start Hell House 2 (You heard it here first) and after that start work on a zombie comedy written by our very own Roni Jonah that I personally think will be our biggest hit and a good lead into doing our straight comedy.... As an actor I want to do a bit of everything so I may throw a drama in there if they will let me. Only time will tell.

The cast and crew of THE LEGACY

 

Nic - As a filmmaker, who are some of your biggest influences?

 

Personally I appreciate the filmmakers who start with nothing. I'm a fan of Robert Rodriguez for many reasons. I love his style of filming and his in your face action but mostly I enjoy the fact that he was just like us, struggling to make it work, to create something when everyone tells you it's impossible. If you read his book then you know what lengths he went to to gain a budget for "El Mariachi". It’s people like that that influence me. All my friends here in KY making film such as KY Filmmaker of the year George Bonilla, Archie Borders, Mark Poole, Cherokee Hall, Jacob Ennis, Greg Brock, Nathan Day, Chase Dudley, Jerry Williams, etc, they all influence me. We all share a passion and love for this industry and we do it for little to nothing.... It's people like that here and throughout the world that help keeps dreams alive and the world entertained. To all of those people out there doing what they love I say good for you. To all those who want to create on any level but have people telling you it's not possible, I'm here to tell you it is possible. Never stop dreaming, never stop believing and always move forward.

 

To Learn more about Jason visit one of these websites:

www.myspace.com/feathereditalianfilms

 

http://www.anubisdigital.com

 

www.myspace.com/ljcrowe



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