The film was shunned by much of the mainstream film festival circuit. Do you think they were turned off by the brutal sexuality or that they just didn’t get it or are they a bunch of elitist prudes?
I’ll take all three for 500 Chris. No, seriously, let’s break that one down. I can’t make a sweeping generalization here, but here’s the truth as I know it:

Yes, I think some programmers were appalled by some of the sexuality in this film. I think that some programmers felt extremely uncomfortable about the idea of a woman in utter uncompromising, sick and twisted control, even if that’s part of some wild erotic deal, it’s a tough thing for some people to look at. That’s why it thrills me so much, not ’cause I get off on it, because it makes people squirm. It makes people hate the film or in some cases love it.

And this is only the beginning because people will have to deal with my material. I’m making new, innovative material and it’s for the audience. I refuse to treat an audience like they are stupid or like they live in some old fashioned society. Looking Through Lillian deals with the morays of unacceptable sex in a society that can no longer keep up with itself. Deny the reality of sexual deviance and you are a hypocrite. What was once taboo is becoming more and more acceptable. What I wanted to do with Lillian was make a film that was pivotal in defining something – something that the masses might find bizarre. But think of other things that are no longer bizarre, things that are actually commonplace now, think of when they were not.

As far as ”not getting it” – I could lay a low blow, but I’m not bitter. I’m in the arena and I’m damn lucky to be there. And for elitist prudes – I wouldn’t be Jake if I didn’t go here. Yes, it’s time for things to change. It’s time for the bullshit to end and it’s time for a new chapter to write itself. It’s time for people who have something passionate and new to say to have the goddamn platform to do it. Same old shit – waste of time.

What mistakes do you think you made in trying to get it on the festival circuit?
This was my first time out, so I would definitely say that in some miserable, exhausting way, I’m grateful. There is a learning curve on the festival circuit that you can’t find anywhere else as an indie filmmaker. You meet all kinds of people and you see all kinds of films. You see the struggle and you see your film in front of an audience. That’s the most critical thing – how does the film play for an audience? LTL was made for an audience. When Patrick Lynn saw this film, he said that was the key for it to live – win the crowd like Russell Crowe did in “Gladiator.” And that’s the thing – this whole industry is infested with bullshit and politics, but one thing will not deny you or the life of your film…the audience. Audience likes the film, you’re golden. Head of bullshit USA GOLDEN DOVE FILM FEST sponsored by every Hollywood player and their mother hates the film – DOES NOT MATTER. Head programmer Jo Shmo-jack thinks you suck – DOESN’T MATTER. What matters is what that audience feels.

We played some great festivals, but by far my favorite was Houston. Say whatever you want – we had a blast. Audience loved the film, we were treated like royalty and we saw great films up there. Nobody cared about politics and rubbing elbows. I mean think about it – what in God’s name does rubbing elbows and drinking scotch have to do with art?

You have 2 choices – live by the curve or invent your own. Stop waiting for the top five festivals to acknowledge you. If they do – great, you’re set. But that doesn’t mean you have distribution, nor does it mean you will make your money back. Use the game and the system for what it’s worth. It’s cut-throat, but in the end, that’s show-biz.

So what’s the point? Before you jump into the festival game like I did – find out what you really want. And what you really need.

Get the rest of the interview in part four of JAKE TOREM: LILLIAN’S ADDICTION>>>

Posted on October 25, 2002 in Interviews by

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