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This past week got word from Yonsei University that they have me signed up another year – Sept. 2011 to Aug 2012.  So we’re in Korea one more year.    I hope to find the energy and will to make one film here between now and then, likely some kind of portrait of Seoul.  And perhaps a narrative something too.  Marcella, once she gets back, intends to do a serious bit of learning on how to do pojagi, a beautiful Korean type of patchwork sewing that looks, owing to its often if not always minimalist design, deceptively simple – but it’s not.  I have some thoughts on collaborating with her on a few pojagi inspired things.

Pojagi piece

And this past week I applied for and received the nod to take a try with Kickstart at funding a film to shoot from autumn 2012 to around same time 2013.  This will be a final essay-film on America, wrapping up the series which began in 1973 with Speaking Directly and pursued further with Plain Talk and Common Sense (uncommon senses) in 1985-7.   The new film would followup on those, trying to figure out America today.  Curiously those two earlier films – despite  some dated rhetorical language, though accurate in most ways,  feels to me a little trapped in its times – seem to have pretty much poetically pointed to where we are today.   The tentative title for the new one will be Unrequited.   I expect to travel, slowly, a full year, perhaps a touch more.  Along the way we’ll be shooting, visiting friends, hopefully doing screenings and a few workshops (to help pay for it all), and blogging.

Jon, 1972, in Speaking DirectlySpeaking Directly

I haven’t quite decided what to propose for Kickstart – what to offer, how much to try to raise, or quite what the description of the work would be.  I anticipate a sprawling thing – maybe 3 or even many more hours long, perhaps divided into distinct sections which can stand on their own, and also work in tandem.  It’ll be shot in HD, and I hope largely edited along the way.   So I thought I’d do a little check this way, or ask some advice.   So here’s some thoughts for my proposals for the Kickstart project.  I’d like some feedback or suggestions so if you have any please post in the comments or write me directly (see website www.jon-jost.com for email address).

Frame from Plain Talk and Common Sense

After providing a description as best I can of something amorphous and unclear – though it is clear it will be an elegaic film, rooted deeply in American history, but also a radical one, and probably tragic – I’ll offer some of these:

That those giving, say, $200, will receive DVDs of the previous films, and when it is done, of the last one.  Given I usually sell these for $30 + $3 shipping, means I send $100 worth of DVDs, and get another $100 to help cover the costs of making this last hurrah.

Of course, anyone helping fund the film gets listed in the credits.  I want once in my film life to have a credit list like the one in Avatar, or any big CGI animation film, where it seems like an entire army is listed.

And, as some people like to be social etc. I thought I’d offer to drop by if nearby – with the proviso that I and Marcella can stay a night or two (camp out in the back yard, whatever…).  And, if anyone desires they could collaborate a little by pointing out interesting local things, be it a real local cafe, tourist oddity, landscape thing, or perhaps a local person who’d be interesting to talk with, perhaps interview, or whatever.  I.e., any help in finding and getting a foot in the door of anything locally interesting – culturally, politically, socially.   A kind of grass roots bit of media-making.

And, as one section of the film is likely to be portraits of Americans, if there, I can shoot whomever, and whether it is in film, or on blog, or some other outlet (feasible installation work later), their portrait could find a place in the project.

Grandpa and Gramps, from Plain Talk and Common SenseIndian cemetery, South Dakota

If anyone has any thoughts or suggestions on this, I’d be interested in hearing them.  I likely won’t kick Kickstart into gear for a few months, wanting to check how to perhaps make it work best for this film.  So there’s ample time for fine tuning.  Also I am interested in contacting anyone who might be able to help organize meeting up with various people – economists, sociologists, historians, political observers, or just interesting plain folks doing whatever they do – to begin now to correspond and perhaps for the film to do some shooting with them.   

If anyone reading this is institutionally based, I am also looking to sell DVDs of the two films to schools – a hundred such sales would go a long way toward financing this trip and film.  So if you can help get such sales, kindly do.   I’ll probably try for some grants and see if some Euro television might be interested, but I am skeptical about getting any funding that way.  To be honest, while it might just be paranoia, I have felt for some time I am on some kind of discreet American blacklist, one that likely extends into such things as grant-giving areas.  My “radicalism” is likely the reason.

Last shot of  Speaking Directly

[To contact with information, purchases or anything else, please do so via my website, http://www.jon-jost.com.  PS: In the last week I was invited by John Gianvito (Profit motive and the whispering wind) to participate in an omnibus work on America’s 10th year in Afghanistan; no pay, of course.  Of course, I accepted. ]

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