FILM COURAGE: Empowering Filmmakers & Creatives

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I remember my dad.  He passed away five years ago now (I was 22).  I remember him howling over Fargo and doing the dance from Pulp Fiction in our kitchen.  I remember doing homework and seeing him come out of the living room with tears in his eyes.  He’d been watching The Sound of Music. “When the dad comes in and starts singing ‘Edelweiss’ with the kids! Oh my god…” He sniffled back tears and laughed at himself before grabbing some ice cream that he would later flick to the dog in small spoonfuls as he finished the movie.

I remember him in the last stages of his cancer, with very little hair and a white, white face.  Late winter afternoon.  He was lying in bed.  His hands looked too big for his body, he’d gotten so thin.  I hit play on the CD player and the soundtrack to Out of Africa filled the bedroom and he closed his eyes and breathed deeply.

In the weeks before he died we watched a lot of movies and TV.  It’s all we could do. Sit.  Some of my best, last memories are of us watching things that made us laugh.  I remember watching Wanted and laughing hysterically at how ridiculous that movie is, the curving bullets.  I remember my dad laughing so hard at Curb Your Enthusiasm that he cried.  At that point, the tumor in his lungs was wrapping itself around his heart.  He clutched at his chest and laughed airily, wincing.   “Oh, that’s so funny!  Oh my god, that’s so funny.” writes Rebecca Livengood on her new project JUNE FALLING DOWN.

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FC: What about Morrison’s last days in Paris move you?

RS:  Well, that’s what this whole film “The Last Beat" really is — the answer to this question!

But it’s most certainly not the morbid facts of how this person might have died, but the psychology of what was going through his head at the time.  I feel like Morrison just kind of knew at this point that this was the last act, and there was this deep fatigue for all things in this world that seemed to prevent him from doing the one thing that I think saved his sanity before — writing, writing poetry, and even maybe prevented him from loving the way he wanted. So along with that is the question of how this affected his relationships, most specifically of course, with his long-term girlfriend.  This might sound a little mundane, but it’s some of these smaller, intimate moments that we really want to focus on, moments I think are missing in popular culture depictions of Morrison.

Wisconsin-raised Rebecca Livengood on her new project JUNE FALLING DOWN - A feature film about a young woman returning home for the wedding her best friend - and the one year anniversary of her father’s death.

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"In the years since he passed away, I’ve wrestled with my old, pre-cancer, dreams of making movies.  Of course death makes you question things.  But I come back.  I’ve always come back.  
I got through college, made it to California.  Wrote for a while.  Badly. Everything was about cancer and little of it was worth saving except one short story about a young woman returning home for her friend’s wedding and failing to be a good sport about it because of her dad’s death.
Now it’s about to be a movie.  And I believe I have it in me to do it well. Not perfectly, but well.  I have my convictions.  I have an incredible, supportive community.  No dad to show the film to when it’s all over, but, then again, I knew that from the beginning of all this.
I’ll have a movie about a girl who I know feels real – even though she is not me.  Some writers say that every character they write is a version of them. That might be true to an extent.  The good and the ugly are all separate versions of me.  One thing’s for sure, the father in this movie, in June Falling Down, is not my dad.  I would never try to re-create him.  I could only fail…”

Wisconsin-raised Rebecca Livengood on her new project JUNE FALLING DOWN - A feature film about a young woman returning home for the wedding her best friend - and the one year anniversary of her father’s death.

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"In the years since he passed away, I’ve wrestled with my old, pre-cancer, dreams of making movies.  Of course death makes you question things.  But I come back.  I’ve always come back.  

I got through college, made it to California.  Wrote for a while.  Badly. Everything was about cancer and little of it was worth saving except one short story about a young woman returning home for her friend’s wedding and failing to be a good sport about it because of her dad’s death.

Now it’s about to be a movie.  And I believe I have it in me to do it well. Not perfectly, but well.  I have my convictions.  I have an incredible, supportive community.  No dad to show the film to when it’s all over, but, then again, I knew that from the beginning of all this.

I’ll have a movie about a girl who I know feels real – even though she is not me.  Some writers say that every character they write is a version of them. That might be true to an extent.  The good and the ugly are all separate versions of me.  One thing’s for sure, the father in this movie, in June Falling Down, is not my dad.  I would never try to re-create him.  I could only fail…”

Sundance alum Robert Saitzyk about his fictional film that attempts to explore the psychology of who Jim Morrison might have been at the end of his life.

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"I feel like Morrison just kind of knew at this point that this was the last act, and there was this deep fatigue for all things in this world that seemed to prevent him from doing the one thing that I think saved his sanity before — writing, writing poetry, and even maybe prevented him from loving the way he wanted. So along with that is the question of how this affected his relationships, most specifically of course, with his long-term girlfriend.  This might sound a little mundane, but it’s some of these smaller, intimate moments that we really want to focus on, moments I think are missing in popular culture depictions of Morrison." 

Check out the trailer here.