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 Post subject: THE MAKINGS OF YOU - film
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 11:18 pm 
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Heath Ledger backed film set for release next year


The first feature film to emerge from the late Heath Ledger’s artistic collaborative The Masses is close completing filming in the US this month.

Ledger co-wrote the film The Makings of You with Matt Amato, a love story set against the backdrop of boarded up homes in deprived areas of St Louis, USA.

Amato wrote the screenplay and is director of the movie, with Jay R Ferguson, who plays Stan Rizzo in TV series Mad Men, in the lead role.

Australian entrepreneur Ron Creevey, a 47.5 per cent shareholder in The Masses, said the film, dedicated to Ledger, has a strong Australian connection and he hopes to launch its general release at Bondi Beach in Sydney next October.

“There were many plans in place for the Masses when Heath passed away and from there it was a case of rebuilding and getting the right time in place to execute and push this film out,” Creevey said.

“It took around five years to get it to the point where it is now, but it just needed to be right, and I think from Matt’s side he wasn’t in the frame of mind until about two years ago when he started to pick up the pieces. Now he’s running at 100 miles an hour and it’s just about finished and we are very excited to get this out.”

Creevey, who founded mobile media company YuuZoo in 2006, has just launched digital media company Moment Media, which owns mobile website developer local.mobi.

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 Post subject: Re: THE MAKINGS OF YOU - film
PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2014 7:22 pm 
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St. Louis filmmaker influenced by love, the city and Heath Ledger

By Lynn Venhaus

Nothing happens until two people fall in love — then the whole world changes.

That’s the story writer-director Matt Amato, of St. Louis, wanted to tell in his feature debut, “The Makings of You.”

The film opens the 23rd annual Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival at 7:30 Thursday at the Tivoli Theatre, with a reception beforehand at 6 p.m.

Dealing with self-discovery, love and loss, this unconventional tale concerns lonely middle-aged Judy, played by Sheryl Lee of “Twin Peaks” fame, and Wallis, played by Jay R. Ferguson, who is Stan on “Mad Men.” They share a dissatisfaction with their lives and, as they are attracted to each other, struggles arise.

The film is dedicated to the late actor Heath Ledger, who helped shape it. He was one of Amato’s best friends, a business partner and former roommate during their early years in L.A.

After the screening, producer Jack Richardson and stars Grace Zabriskie, who plays Judy’s mother, and Ferguson, will join Amato for a discussion of the film.

“Storytelling — that’s all I’ve ever been interested in. Love, or the lack of love, people all over the world can relate to — feeling lonely. The nature of real love is different than romantic love. This is a love story for both men and women,” Amato said.

“I hope the audiences find the characters interesting. I like to create characters that the audience can project themselves into. I want people to feel this.” he said. “These characters were in my mind. I was curious about who they were.”

After establishing an acclaimed career as a commercial and music-video director, Amato came back to shoot during the summer of 2013. He currently lives on Cherokee Street in St. Louis, re-energized by possibilities.

“I thought I’d be here two months. I’m still here,” he said. “I’d like to grow some roots here as a filmmaker. There are a number of projects I’d like to work on, there are more stories I want to tell.”

The city has inspired him, particularly the Mississippi River and its cultural effect. Mark Twain’s “Life on the Mississippi” was a guide, too. In his film, he used the summertime heat and urban surroundings to enhance the story.

“The cinematography turned out more beautiful than I could have imagined,” he said. “The city created the right mood. We gave over to it. The barges, tugboats, river hunters — we started meeting people where the river is their life. It gave great resonance to the story. In Wallis’ shop, there are beautiful objects that river hunters find on the bottom.”

Brick is another enduring image. He quoted his favorite local author Harold Brodkey, from “First Love and Other Sorrows: Stories.”

“There is a certain shade of red brick — a dark, almost melodious red, somber and riddled with blue — that is my childhood in St. Louis. Not the real childhood, but the false one that extends from the dawning of consciousness until the day that one leaves home for college. That one shade of red brick and green foliage is St. Louis in the summer. The winter is just a gray sky and a crowded school bus and the wet footprints on the brown linoleum floor at school. And that brick and a pale sky is spring. It’s also loneliness and the queer, self-pitying wonder that children whose families are having catastrophes feel. ”

Amato cast five professional West Coast actors in the main roles, but used locals for small parts.

“Many people lived and worked in these places. We loved these people, real salt of the earth,” he said.

He also used his dog, Vancouver, whose true rescue story is described by Wallis in the film.

Amato, 47, has the eye of an artist, soul of a poet, mind of an intellectual and heart of a dreamer. A man of unlimited ideas and thoughtful discussion, he said his work with musicians all these years has influenced his work methods.

“My job is to get them comfortable on camera. They are non-professional actors. I believe every man and woman is a star.”

He wanted to avoid romantic clichés, and is pleased at the job his actors did.

“They have such strong voices. They gave their characters a life of their own, had such depth of feeling,” he said. “I would like to revisit these characters someday.”

He was also complimentary of his crew, who bonded over Sunday family dinners at his parents’ home.

“Everyone loved Mom’s cooking. When we worked late, we’d have Amighetti’s sandwiches waiting for us. They brought us Ted Drewe’s. My parents were on the set every day. They were our Angels,” he said.

When he was growing up in St. Louis, Amato’s love of the movies was influenced by his grandparents and his mother. “She always knew good entertainment.” After seeing “The Black Stallion” when he was 10, he became aware of a cinematographer’s effect on a movie.

“Like how other kids can recite baseball statistics, I could tell you what movies cinematographers made,” he said.

While attending St. Louis Priory School, he studied photography. Upon the recommendation of a teacher, he turned a short story into a play. He went on to study filmmaking at Columbia College, but only for a year.

“I had three incredible teachers during that time who had a great influence on me. I just wanted to work on movie sets, so, I left school to be a PA (production assistant) on the big budget movies that were streaming through Chicago,” he said.

While living in L.A. with artist Andrew Campbell, they acquired a roommate, actress Lisa Zane. (Billy is her brother.) She had worked on a TV show in Australia called “Roar” with an up-and-comer, Heath Ledger. She offered him a place to stay in L.A., and that’s how Amato met the 17-year-old charismatic Aussie actor.

In fact, Amato is responsible for Ledger’s breakthrough role in “10 Things I Hate About You” (1999). The script was written by a friend of his, he recommended Heath, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Ledger joined him as a business partner in The Masses, an art collective and production company that Amato co-founded with Jon Ramos in 2002. Ledger was drawn to the creative energy and the opportunity to expand his art, and later purchased a building to center the operation, so that their big ideas could take root.

Ledger was caught up in the Hollywood whirlwind once “The Patriot” made him a movie star, but wanted to step away from it to do his own projects. He came to Amato after “Brokeback Mountain,” and told him: “Let’s make movies together. I like the way you work.”

Ledger connection

He and Ledger began writing this film in February 2007. Cast as The Joker, Ledger went off to film his Oscar-winning role in “The Dark Knight,” but remained passionate about this story, originally set in Brooklyn.

“He is still a guiding light for me. He was confident that the project would live,” he said. “With low-budget filmmaking, you don’t have time to rehearse with actors. He acted out every scene with me. He was so smart, and funny, and contributed very specific little things to the characters. He was right on in his suggestions.”

We Are the Masses thrives today, but was devastated by the loss of Ledger, who died of an accidental overdose of prescription drugs in January 2008. They landed on their feet when Australian investor Jack Richardson supported keeping their mission alive.

Amato heard the tragic news while he was filming a Bon Iver music video in Eau Claire, Wis. He channeled his grief into a 10-minute tribute film shown at Ledger’s memorial service in L.A.

Amato, still reeling, put “The Makings of You” aside, and resurrected it a few years ago. “His belief in it made me want to continue.”

For now, he feels the pull of the river and is soaking up the city vibe on the eclectic Cherokee Street. And wants to honor his friend Heath’s creative energy.

“I hear his voice every now and then. When people die, there are reminders of their energy. This serves as a great reminder,” he said.

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 Post subject: Re: THE MAKINGS OF YOU - film
PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2014 8:54 pm 
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More articles.

“We were partners at The Masses, and we were intent on making this movie,” he said of Ledger, who died in 2008. “I feel like I’m carrying the torch. I hope he loves this movie.”

http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/st- ... m-festival

http://www.stltoday.com/entertainment/m ... 43d54.html

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