Skip to main content

Filmmaker Spotlight: Director Jonathan Ade of ItsOkayItsOkay


This week's Filmmaker Spotlight focuses on writer and director Jonathan Ade, whose film was showcased at the AT&T center as part of NewFilmmakers Los Angeles. Learn about his film, ItsOkayItsOkay as he discusses  making the film, lessons he's learned and where you can catch him next.

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

I’ve been working with my DP and creative partner Alexander Paul on the Meditations for the past three years. Each film takes us about a year to make, usually because we slowly accumulate the necessary resources and proper time to execute each project in-between our regular day jobs. That’s why it takes so long.

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

Too many people. The production couldn’t have come together if it wasn’t for the help of a number of really crucial folks, especially Henry Lange Jr. at Raising Hope and Mike Carter at Panavision. And of course, we have a tremendous support network of friends and family who have contributed financially to make this project happen. My parents are especially important in this regard.

On the production end of things, the film couldn’t have been made without the hard work of Cassandra Siemon, our production designer, who led a team to build three sets in five days. Her many sleepless nights were the only reason we were able to shoot in the first place.


How does it feel to have your film part of the NewFilmmakers Screening at AT&T Center?

Wonderful. Our previous Meditation, Supper, screened at NewFilmmakers almost a whole year ago, so it feels both like a tremendous homecoming and (hopefully) something of a tradition.

What inspires you?

A number of things. Film, of course, but also a lot of long form non-fiction, poetry, theater, clowning. I’m currently enamored with a series of live events put on by Henry Hoke in Los Angeles, called Enter: Text, which is a kind of art installation meets literary reading, in which the participants find unique and intimate ways of engaging with the audience. It’s really made me think of the way a space changes your relationship to a work, no matter what that work happens to be.

Who are your influences and who do you admire?

On the film side of things, it’s interesting because there are people who I admire that don’t (consciously) influence me, and there are people who influence me that I don’t necessarily admire. Ha! They’re not always one in the same.

The aesthetic of honesty runs deep in a filmmaker like Kelly Reichardt, the single most underappreciated filmmaker working today. Virtually everything I’ve tried to do in the last few years is, in one way or another, some loose, vain approximation of what she does expertly well. For similar reasons, the filmmaker Charles Burnett remains a solid foundation for what I admire about filmmaking, and Killer of Sheep remains my favorite movie.

Strangely, I think I’ve become influenced against my will by some of the work I’ve done as an editor. Through a matter of necessity, I’m frequently a video editor of promotional videos, sizzles, and trailers. And though I’ve downplayed the significance of working in this field (as I said before, it’s felt like a matter of necessity than a burning desire), I think fast-paced editing has sharpened my instinct for saying more with the bare minimum, at whatever pace.

What lessons have you learned from the industry so far?

I’ve learned that something that’s hard doesn’t get easier just because you’ve been at it a while. And occasionally, you’ve got to remind yourself why you’re doing this, and get centered and renewed. This is more important than hard work. It’s so easy to get lost, but when you spend a year or so working on a project, you need a lot of reminders along the way.

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

Going back to my answer about Enter: Text and thinking about spaces, I’d very much like to create a film for a particular kind of space. I’d like to work with an interior designer to create an installation of a small living space (think of the strange world of the IKEA showroom) and create a film to be exhibited only in that space. I think that would really interesting. Like a 1970s teenagers bedroom, and the film is a Super 8 projection on his ceiling. Viewers would have to lie in bed to see the movie.

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

Gosh, it’s always a tough slog. I wish I had a single experience to give you, but, unless you’ve been exposed to some awful traumatic event, in Los Angeles its usually not one thing. It’s a series of things, threatening to break you down every day: a thoughtless comment by a producer, a director chewing you out on set, an editing note that asks you to make a video “more better”, the general thoughtlessness of a few that makes you feel like thinking critically is an endangered mindset. Feeling alone. That’s what’s so tough. It’s easy to get isolated.

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

A fellow filmmaker, Julian Higgins, said that the pre-production, for a director, is not preparation to execute a plan so much as it is the cultivation of instinct. That’s stayed with me for a while. I may have even cited this last year. It’s a great mindset, an important distinction.

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

Read, be thoughtful, be serious, be daring. If you’re not taking a risk artistically, you’re simply not doing it right. You have a responsibility to stretch your medium.

Where can we expect to see you next?

We’re filming our next movie in June, so perhaps in a year’s time. More information at LayInWait.com.

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

Our next film, LayinWait.com, or find us on Facebook. We’re currently fundraising and could use all the help we could get! We’ve been working on that project for well over a year now.

Anything else you'd like to add?

Thanks very much!

For more information, visit: http://www.newfilmmakersla.com/



About the Author

Formerly an editor at Demand Media, writer at Citysearch, The Examiner 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.
Questions, comments or suggestions?
Follow Twitter.com/ChristyBuena   

Popular posts from this blog

2017 EXXXOTICA Expo Dates and Locations Announced

Riding high off its most successful event to date in Edison, New Jersey, the EXXXOTICA Expo presented by MyFreeCams is already looking forward to 2017 with a trio of events planned around the country. In addition to its longstanding shows in Chicago and New Jersey, the show’s producers are pinning a new city on its map — Denver, Colorado for EXXXOTICA Mile High.


EXXXOTICA’s debut in the Rocky Mountains has been in the works for years, and event organizers couldn’t be more excited to bring the show to Denver. The 2017 show schedule kicks off in grand style with EXXXOTICA Mile High, March 31 through April 2, 2017. The show will be taking place as a full hotel takeover at the Crowne Plaza Denver Airport Convention Center.
With nearly 100,000 square feet of exhibition and breakout space, EXXXOTICA Mile High will not only feature hundreds of exhibitors and the top stars in adult, as well as seminars and performers, but the hotel will be transformed into the hottest hotel in the country wi…

BEAUTIFUL RIGHTS Gives Women’s Rights Some Real Lip Service

Beautiful Rights is here to give women’s rights some real lip service. This new, cause-driven makeup initiative, founded by renowned makeup artist and product developer, Kristen Therese Leonard, was created to ensure that women’s rights continue to be given their share of voice in our country’s future.

As we enter into 2017, real concerns regarding women’s rights are upon us. Beautiful Rights was created to remind every woman to speak up, and that the responsibility lies within each of us to protect the rights we’ve fought so hard to acquire.

Beautiful Rights will promote women’s rights by donating 20% of all sales (not profits) to organizations that support our causes, such as Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, Emily’s List, Lambda Legal and Legal Momentum. The 20% contribution is set as a reminder of the fact that women in the U.S. still get paid 20% less than men for doing the same work.

Not only will Beautiful Rights fuel great initiatives, it will also provide women with top-of-line…

Sword Art Online the Movie -Ordinal Scale Releases March 9, 2017

Aniplex of America Inc. announced today that the nationwide release of the highly anticipated feature film Sword Art Online the Movie -Ordinal Scale- will take place on March 9, 2017. Details on theater locations and tickets for the nationwide release will be announced at a later date on the official homepage (www.sao-movie.net/us). Sword Art Online the Movie -Ordinal Scale- will be distributed by ELEVEN ARTS in the original Japanese audio with English subtitles.
About Sword Art Online: The animated TV series Sword Art Online is based on author Reki Kawahara’s light novel in which the protagonist Kirito fights to survive in the mysterious next-gen VRMMORPG called “Sword Art Online.”
Since the first volume of the novel was published in April 2009, the series has proved extremely popular, with cumulative sales exceeding 12.5 million units in Japan and 19 million worldwide, spawning two TV anime adaptations, video games, comic books, and merchandise.
Story of Sword Art Online the Movie -O…