Alright... I grew up watching a lot of TV (mostly Twilight Zone and Tales From the Darkside), listening to a lot of music (mostly Rolling Stones and swing), and reading a lot of books (anything I could get my hands on), so it really was inevitable that all those disparate influences and elements would coalesce into one askew view of the universe. I've been writing for as long as I can remember: bad poetry, worse lyrics and disturbing short stories but once I'd finally finished with the auspicious anarchy of academia, the words, thoughts, and ideas – and what I wanted to do with them – became much clearer, in that cinematic and revelatory way. Because one the shortcomings I've always found easiest with films and television was the lack of focus and attention paid to the craft of telling the story – not just starting off with a strong idea but finishing with a tale that was even stronger.
For me, the beauty of a show like the Twilight Zone, were the multiple dichotomies that existed simultaneously. At any given time the story was elegantly simple, sublimely complex, supernaturally implausible, fictional and surreal but possible, and no matter what, ultimately had an important lesson to teach. So like the sinfully surreal gritty Grindhouse fantastic fable that the HPJ Trilogy will be, each act has its very own, not "sin" per se, but more like a teleological theme, a manic motif. "Act I: The Missionary Man" revolves around revenge, while "Act II: A Saint of Sin in a Den of Thieves" looks lasciviously at lust. Finally, "Act III: Have Faith, Will Travel" focuses on the fait accompli foible of faith.
To say that "The Gospel According to Booze, Bullets & Hot Pink Jesus" trilogy is a labour of love is an understatement of biblical proportions! Originally conceived and produced as an award-ignored short film for the 2007 Greensboro 48 Hour Film Project, for reasons we can only blame on some sort of furry woodland creature predilection that the judges didn't want being leaked to the left-leaning 24-hour news media, the idea of this little hot pink messiah continued to run amok in my head for years. I knew that story of Hot Pink Jesus was far from over, in fact, that our first effort had barely scratched the surface of the gospels lying just underneath the surface.
Each act within the HPJ Trilogy will exist in its own universe, as its own self-contained story, which is how it will also be released; filming each act consecutively. However, put all three acts together and they tell a much taller tale, paint a much bigger picture and spread the power of the HPJ gospel. Eventually, once all three acts are completed, they will be released as a feature-length film, with a fantastically far-out faux trailer in between each act. It is my hope that this will give the audience a titillating technicolour thrill ride of an experience, which is exactly what a film should do anyway.
With filmmaking, I've always wanted to make people think without them actually realising that they're thinking, and I’m hoping that "The Missionary Man" will do just that. Because there are going to be some people out there who will be outraged and offended by this film. (Hell, there are people out there who will probably be downright pissed off just by the title of the trilogy alone!) Some will call it blasphemy, some may even call it heresy, but it really was made with no blasphemous intent in mind whatsoever. In fact, I have no problem at all with organised religion - just with certain purveyors and practitioners of them who skew, twist, and tarnish what is generally a good-intentioned idea for their own solipsistic agenda.
Therein lay the sublime complexity of a character like Mister Michaels, the eponymous Missionary Man character from Act I. He is a person who so fully believes, with every twisted fibre of his being, that what he's doing is 100% right - that he’s following God's word that only he can hear – that it's twisted his perspective of the entire world around him. And that's the inherently dangerous combined cocktail potential of belief, and of revenge, for when mixed together the two really do have the potential to set the whole world on fire. And like both lead characters in the film find out, the sins of the past always have a wicked way of catching up to you. But when you finally have the vengeance you've been so desperately seeking, is it ever really enough?
Filmed entirely on location throughout North Carolina, on an aglet (that little plastic tip on the end of a shoelace) budget of just under $2,500, "The Missionary Man" is a shining cinematic example of what a talented group of dedicated and brilliant people can do with a great story for next to nothing. With this first act in the HPJ Trilogy, Mad Ones Films has a made a prince of a film for a pauper's pay, and that makes this proud director feel like a king. "The Missionary Man' is a darkly compelling journey through a time period that seems slightly out of place, in a part of the country just to the left of the middle of nowhere. My highest priority with this first act is to be able to enter it in as many film festivals as I can, all over the world, to get it on as many festival screens as I possibly can. This almighty effort is my humble task, in order to raise the funds necessary to complete the much grander (in every sense of the film, the scope, and the word) remaining two acts of the Gospel and bring them to the larger than life silver (and hot pink) screen.
Jaysen P. Buterin, Creative Director, Mad Ones Films,
Writer, Director & Mastermind of
"The Gospel According to Booze, Bullets & Hot Pink Jesus"
To find our more information about this epic short film trilogy, check out the inmates running the cinematic asylum over at Mad Ones Films