By Saskia Wilson-Brown, September 14th, 2010

As part of the upcoming ‘One Hundred Mornings’ run at the Downtown Independent in Los Angeles, Cinema Speakeasy, CineFist, Downtown Independent Theatre, and  Slamdance Film Festival have come together with the WorkBook Project to jointly curate a short film program to highlight new independent directors. What follows is the fifth of six director profiles.

JACK DANIEL STANLEY


Jack Daniel Stanley is a short filmmaker, and a short filmmaker par excellence.

Subsumed by the format, he has gleefully and prolifically explored his unique blend of horror, tragedy, comedy and – often – tragicomedy, releasing his films exclusively online long before there were panels on the topic. He amassed, in this manner, a (very) substantial audience. Moreover, this support base helped buoy a unique career path that was perfectly in sync with the emerging era of shifting distribution strategies.

But: Jack wanted to come out of the online closet, as it were. He wanted to connect with audiences in person. Thus, he did away with his self-described “festival-phobia” and in 2008 began his foray into the festival world. He writes about this frankly on his Myspace page: “I’ve let most of my films languish on the internet to the point that most fests will no longer be interested in them [...]. Probably, to be frank, I let them expire, so to speak, due to a fear of failure or fear of success or, most likely, a little of both.”

In actuality, this timid excursion turned into a raging success, with premieres at Slamdance, SXSW, Tribeca, and a slew of other festivals that would make any indie auteur green with envy.

Internet film never looked so cinematic.

In anticipation of his upcoming screening in support of ‘One Hundred Mornings’, we caught up with Jack for a question and answer session. In his unique, honest, terse manner, he divulged a little insight into his trajectory.

What are the biggest issues you’ve faced, as a filmmaker?

The biggest challenges I’ve faced as a filmmaker are too personal to talk about and have to do with my own growth.

The next tier of challenges  have to do with finding my own voice and feeling confident with that voice – saying it my way [and] finding the film that really comes from within me amidst all the clutter of what other people are doing and the way they are expressing themselves.

How do you typically distribute your short films? What has worked, for you?

I’ve given then away for free online, and this has helped build an audience. Recently I’ve partnered with IndieFlix for online and brick and mortar distribution and plan to self distribute an anthology of my genre work soon.

How do you define success as a filmmaker?

Finishing a film. Finding a way to make a film. Not getting evicted or going to jail in the process.

CineFist & WorkBook Project present:
‘Unawakening
Written & Directed by Jack Daniel Stanley
Produced by Barry Green and David Jimerson

Friday 17 September
7:30 and 9:30

Followed by the WorkBook Project Discovery and Distribution Award winner ‘One Hundred Mornings’.

Click here for screening tickets
Click here for his site
Follow him on Twitter @JackDanStan


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