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Exclusive Interview with Writer and Director Jonathan Ade of “Meditations: Supper”

Tell us a little bit about your project and how long you’ve been working on it.

"Supper" is the second in a thematic series of "Meditations" films that our team started making about three years ago. The idea behind "Meditations" is to illuminate everyday moments of life, dramatizing scenes that, on first appearance, don't appear worthy of such treatment. In "Meditations," the moments drive the story, instead of the other way around. I would consider them tributes to the every day.

“Supper” is about two teenagers that discover artifacts from the 1940s. As they dress in the outfits of the time period, they begin to playfully assume elderly identities. When they go out to dinner in full costume, they encounter an actual old couple who came of age during World War II.

Is there anyone you'd like to thank for helping out with this film?

Yes, too many to thank in this forum, but most notably the numerous individuals that made up the fabric of our financing. Money turns the machine, even for small independent films. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank my parents for their support through this whole process.

How does it feel to have your film part of the New Film Makers Screening at Sunset Gower Studios?

A great honor, and an exciting opportunity. Our film was locally produced in Los Angeles, so this is the first screening that many of the people who worked on the film can attend.

What inspires you? 

What it is
I know not,
But with gratitude
My tears fall.

Who are your influences and who do you admire?

My influences are diverse, multidisciplinary and in some cases, fairly contradictory. But doesn’t that make for the best kind of influences? These are my unqualified but highly enthusiastic recommendations: Charles Burnett (filmmaker), Matsuo Basho (poet), JD Salinger (writer), Orson Welles (filmmaker/actor), Walter Murch (editor), Billy Collins (poet), Charles Chaplin (filmmaker/actor), Walt Whitman (poet), the Maysles Brothers (documentarians), Andrei Tarkovsky (filmmaker), Stan Brakhage (filmmaker) and George Orwell (writer).

What lessons have you learned from the industry so far?

It’s a lot more diverse than you realize, and while there is plenty of rejection and closed doors to be found, it’s also surprising to find friendly, good natured and spirited collaborators that WANT to do good work. It’s a good reminder that you’re in a community, even if it is a fully camouflaged community.

If you could collaborate with anybody, who would it be?

War photographers, I think, would make interesting cinematographers. Also, it seems to me that digital sensors have become the new “film stock”, and I’d be interested in experimenting with sensors that, like b/w film and reversal, have specific aesthetic uses for specific situations. That is to say, not one sensor to rule them all.

What is the toughest experience you've ever had to overcome?

Every film you make is the hardest experience of your life if you take artistic ownership of it. As Charles Burnett once said, when asked about artistic control over his films, “It’s not a matter of control. It’s a matter of responsibility.” I feel similarly, and so every struggle is far more personal, and every reward equally so.

What is the best piece of advice someone has given to you?

An extremely intelligent and trusted friend of mine, (who’s, quite honestly, the most talented director I personally know), said that the purpose of a director's preparation is not to execute a plan, but to cultivate an instinct.

What advice would you give to new filmmakers starting out in the industry?

There's a great quotation from Ira Glass floating around the internet, which you might have seen. I'm paraphrasing, but essentially it says that we spend a lifetime developing a critical ability, and so when we're starting out in creative endeavors, it's easy to get discouraged because we have this highly refined taste yet poorly refined ability. You begin to judge your work through this distorted lens and it can really be extremely counter-productive. Just know that good work takes time, and it can't be judged against what anyone else is doing.

Oh, and do not wait. That's probably the most important of all.

Where can we expect to see you next?

Our team has just finished shooting the third Meditation in the series, "Meditations: ItsOkayItsOkay," our most ambitious yet. It tells the story of a sick little boy that must make the long journey down his own hallway in the middle of the night to wake up his father. We spent well over 10 months in preproduction, built three standing sets and filmed only a single weekend. We're currently in post-production for that film.
And after that, my DP, Alexander Paul, and I are working on a more narrative-based short film. We've just entered pre-production and are looking for fundraising partners as we begin our most ambitious project yet.

Let our readers know where they can find more information about you and your projects

Anything else you'd like to add?

Thank you very much.

Want more info?

Visit the NewFilmmakers LA Official Website at for more information.

About the Author

Formerly an editor at Demand Media, writer at Citysearch, The Examiner, LA Youth Newspaper and proofreader at The Los Angeles Daily News, Christy Buena decided to start Disarray Magazine because she missed writing what she wanted. From hiring writers, to contacting publicists and making assignments, Christy is responsible for the editorial strategy of Disarray Magazine. Get to know the team of talented contributors.
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