Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Prince of Swine’s Jerry Farber: A Man for Our Time?

Q: Now Jerry Farber is a metaphor for our time, for the banking collapse and Wall Street scandals in your view? Corruption at high levels dragging the country down?

MT (writer/director): He’s the Hollywood version of that (partially based on Don Simpson) the same psychology that led to the collapse, an era going down in flames and good riddance, which is probably the best way to see Prince of Swine. Something old and corrupt dying, and something new and pure being born, a phoenix rising from the ashes. If you accept a canary in the coal mine theory of the arts, these things show up artistically before they do in the country, and that whole cult of high concept Simpson created, it’s the same culture and mindset as the rot on Wall Street.

Q: Explain.

MT: Well, you get away from academia, and actually visit and work on Wall Street, so you know the players and the mindset, and beyond the eggheads who enable the crooks, there are guys who proudly say, “I’m about the money, money talks, losers walk.” In their world everything is for sale, and weirdly, they’ve got the same naïve mindset as the academics, even the worst sort of hustlers often don’t see themselves as hustlers or evil, they rationalize it. They could take a cancer patient’s last dime selling them bad health insurance and consider it a productive day like they’ve done good for the country. These guys are salesmen, they can’t afford to doubt themselves, doubt reads as weakness, there can be no self-reflection or science in their world. They come out of the womb selling, they know very little about the world except how to sell, and that they want to be rich. Their actual ideas about the world are laughable -

Q: What do they tell themselves?

MT: Basically, any kind of business is good for the market, even if you’re completely ripping somebody off, lieing, and selling a product that’s pure crap, still, it’s economic activity, so it’s good for the market.

Q: And how is Jerry Farber a metaphor for this?

MT: He’s the Hollywood version, which I think is more accessible to people than Wall Street. You really can’t understand the madness and widespread fraudulence of Wall Street unless you understand math and economics. There’s been a few good documentaries on Wall Street, but it would be hard to capture it in feature film form, because it’s so complex and esoteric. I’d rather do it the way we did and put it in an arena people can understand. The psychology is the same and any monkey can understand Hollywood, it’s like watching Entertainment Tonight –

Q: You dumbed Prince of Swine down for a general audience?

MT: That’s cynical. I would say instead a general audience can enjoy and understand it, but if you want to look deeper, that level is there too.

Q: Jerry Farber is partially based on Don Simpson?

MT: Yeah, that part is the same as Wall Street, this sort of dim, tasteless, aggression, “Money talks, losers walk” that’s something Don Simpson would say, that’s almost something out of one of his business talks, “We don’t make art, we make money.” They don’t know anything else about life except they want to succeed, at any cost. At the same time, he had this childish, deluded view of himself as a good guy and an artist, Simpson actually thought he was making good movies, and was something other than a drug addled pimp who cheapened the taste and lives of everyone he touched, including his audience -

Q: That’s a bit harsh.

MT: No, that’s the literal truth actually, go talk to the hookers he turned out and abused if you doubt it. I don’t understand why people defend and make excuses for him, it’s as if we’re afraid to have good taste or ethics nowadays, it’s too painful given the climate. Defending Simpson is like defending Bernie Madoff.

Q: Well, Americans have been repeatedly traumatized in the taste department -

MT: Yeah, I mean, when you can cheapen the taste and lower the values of a Hollywood studio, that’s cheap, that’s taking tacky to a whole new level -

Q: Let’s just say you’re not a fan of the high concept school of thought -

MT: Well, not being fifteen, no, I don’t think it makes very good movies. I don’t even think fifteen year olds think they’re good movies, it’s just they’re more prone to having their buttons pushed while someone picks their pocket at that age.

Q: Well they obviously sold.

MT: So what? So did mortgage securities. I’m so tired of that mindset, especially from people who want to be taken seriously as artists, or seriously as Americans for that matter. It’s basically saying, “Well, why not pimp the kids? There’s good money in it.” Yes, surprise, surprise, you can sell crap to suckers, thus cheapening both them and you. Guess what, you can also make something great, make it a hit, and do something that actually deepens and uplifts people –

Q: Name one movie –

MT: I didn’t like the cheap shot Cameron took at the troops, but Avatar is brilliant otherwise, stunningly imaginative. American Beauty made an s-load of money, the Sopranos was wildly successful, so is Mad Men, it can be done, maybe it takes more time, more work, its harder –

Q: Now Jerry Farber and women –

MT: If you believe, deep in your soul, that everything is for sale, and you base this belief on yourself, because you’re for sale, and aren’t about anything but money and power, how can you see women as anything but whores, and thus hate them? Of course when you believe that you attract that sort of woman to you. I believe that’s true of Don Simpson, it explains his behavior with women perfectly. I know it’s true of Jerry Farber. It’s a pretty ugly, damned and doomed place to live. I hope the country is coming out of that mindset now, and we’re ready for something new and better.

Q: Keep hope alive?

MT: There’s hope and beauty in our lead actress’ face, in that character, once you get past the scowl, the pain and the anguish, I’m stunned by what’s underneath, it’s redemption and rebirth, those are the most beautiful images of the movie, and the most beautiful things in the world to me, seeing that in a woman’s face. That can be a symbol for our time too. People will fight for that, for redemption and rebirth, as much as they can be swayed, ruined and sold out by a cheap pimp. Once you see the real thing in fact and know what it is, your standards go up and you’re pimp proof. She’s triumphant in the end and Jerry Farber is brought down, seen for what he is at least. Evil never goes away but once you can see it, then there’s hope, you can be something else. We can take another way in our time.

Prince of Swine opens at the Laemmle Sunset 5 in West Hollywood on the Sunset Strip at Crescent Heights, Memorial Day Weekend, for a limited engagement, May 28th to June 3rd.

Get tickets for Prince of Swine online at the Laemmle Sunset 5 or the Prince of Swine website http://www.princeofswine.com/ (discounts available for advance and group purchasers).

Join the Prince of Swine revolution on Twitter and Facebook.

Visit Prince of Swine at http//www.princeofswine.com.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Prince of Swine's Flawed Heroine

Q: Your lead actress said earlier that her character, Julie, is a “good person with a hard past, whose anger prevents anyone from being close to her”. Expand on that.

Mark Toma (writer/director, Prince of Swine): Nell had an extensive back story, she knew Julie's past, I threw out my own ideas, so we both knew her past, but we deliberately don't go into it in the movie.

Q: Why not?

MT: We wanted to make Julie universal. It doesn’t really matter how she got to that point in her life which the movie depicts. There are a million ways to get to that place.

Q: Name some.

MT: Just a person witnesses tragedy or injustice, on a personal level, it effects them personally, and that happens to everyone sooner or later, if that doesn’t happen to you in your life I don’t know what planet you’re living on. It happened to her fairly young. And she’s in that stage of that where she still takes that very personally, she has to make sense of it or she can’t go on living.

Q: Well what is the tragedy or injustice she witnessed?

MT: We don’t go into that because then it would be all about her and not universal. It wouldn’t be funny either. Prince of Swine is a comedy, and Julie is coming out of that when we meet her, she’s not headed into tragedy, she’s coming out of it. She’s triumphant, not defeated.

Q: But you both knew what the dark thing or tragedy was?

MT: Of course, we discussed it extensively. Nell's a very brave actress to go to that place. I don't know what exact history she finally settled on, it's not important, but we went over every square inch of the psychological territory she's coming from.

Q: Which is what?

MT: The actual history is not important, there's a thousand ways to get to the same place, this is a universal thing people go through. It’s not as if Julie’s mortally wounded, suffering like this to grow is the law of the universe. It could be someone close to her died, she’s still grieving, they believed in something very strongly, this is her way of honoring them. Or maybe a parent had their career or life destroyed by someone that reminds her of the Defendant in this case. Or maybe she failed to protect somebody she felt responsible for, they came to a bad end, so now she’s doing some sort of penance. We don’t need to know why, the point is, she takes it very personally, this is a personal matter of honor to her, we just need to know that she’s an honorable person, working through a personal demon.

Q: She’s somewhat of a flawed heroine in your eyes?

MT: I think she’s fighting the good fight, she’s a good person. Most of her anger is spent flagellating herself more than anyone else. She doesn’t really hurt anyone who doesn’t deserve it. She’s a bit much to take for the people who care about her, it’s difficult to be her friend. I don’t think you want to go through life eternally angry like that.

Q: Will she do that?

MT: Well, a lot of the anger is exorcized in just the time we know her. Still, I don’t think she ever laughs once in the movie. Sometimes she’s ironic or acerbic, but never quite laughs. This is a multi-dimensional, layered character, she’s as deep a character as you’ll see on screen, at the same time she’s the archetypal humorless feminist! She cries a lot, in a strange way that might be a precursor to laughing in the future, being able to feel joy again. That might be the sequel hopefully: “Prince of Swine II: Julie Laughs”.

Prince of Swine opens at the Laemmle Sunset 5 in West Hollywood on the Sunset Strip at Crescent Heights, Memorial Day Weekend, for a limited engagement, May 28th to June 3rd.

Get tickets for Prince of Swine online at the Laemmle Sunset 5 or the Prince of Swine website http://www.princeofswine.com/ (discounts available for advance and group purchasers).

Join the Prince of Swine revolution on Twitter and Facebook.

Visit Prince of Swine at http//www.princeofswine.com.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Real Life vs. the Onscreen Lawyer

(Tony Luti is a California superlawyer, and founder of The Luti Law Firm, which serves as the setting for the fictional firm in Prince of Swine).

Q: How did you become involved with the movie Prince of Swine?

Anthony Luti (founder, Luti Law Firm): Mark Toma, the writer/director walked into my office one day and asked if he could shoot a movie at my firm during our off hours.

Q: (laughing) Just like that?

AL (laughing): Pretty much.

Q: Why did he come to you?

AL: We practice the same sort of law as in the movie, Title VII, employment litigation. We’re a plaintiff’s firm, just as in the movie, and as Mark said when he first saw our offices, “This is the coolest looking law firm I’ve ever seen! Check it out! Malcolm X is on your wall!”. I guess we’ve got similar taste in décor too, he loved the color scheme for Hi-Def. Maybe not many lawyers would want a movie crew shooting in their firm or for their firm to be up on the big screen. I thought it was a blast.

Q: So give us your professional opinion, how much is the movie Prince of Swine like your real life practice?

AL: Well, I haven’t actually seen Prince of Swine yet, but as I understand it, the head of the firm is an African American attorney who wanted to blaze his own trail, his own practice, so that’s the same. They excel in a David vs. Goliath type situation, that’s the same. According to Mark, Prince of Swine has many meanings, and the characters in my firm are the Princes in the title, not the swine!

Q: Who are the swine?

AL: Again, I haven’t seen the movie, but I take it the swine of the title refers to very swinish behavior by powerful institutions or individuals, when they’re very far over the line, and think they’re above the law. They need to watch out for that, because that’s why we’re in business.

Q: So this movie is your life story?

AL (laughing): No, not really. From what I can tell, I probably would not have taken the client in the movie, if she walked into my office!

Q: Why not?

AL: We’re extremely particular about our clients. We only take a very few and in a very specific situation. The client has to have a very strong case. The Defendant has to be in the wrong legally, the facts must be clear about this, but the Defendant takes the stance, “This person is pennyless, they’re powerless, we can step on them with impunity. Go ahead, do something about it.” When I encounter that sort of blind, unethical, arrogance of power, I say to it, “Make no mistake, this case will go to trial and you will lose when it does.” If they don’t back off, my trial record speaks for itself. I’m not bluffing and they know it.

Q: How did the movie client fail that litmus test?

AL (laughing): The Defendant in Prince of Swine was way over the line, but the Plaintiff was sort of flaky and morally dubious too! Morally and legally, from what I understand, it somehow comes together in the end, but that wasn’t clear when they took the case. The facts weren’t there at the start of the case, something smelled fishy, but it wasn’t a clear enough case of wrongdoing. The young associate in the film, as I understand it, just had a very strong feeling, she pursued it and then uncovered the facts. That’s something you do if you want to make a movie that sheds light on the craziness of the system, it’s not the greatest way to win an actual lawsuit.

Q: Your cases are more airtight?

AL (laughing): Well, it’s not an interesting movie, if you know from the time the lawyer takes the case that he’s going to win, where is the suspense? It’s more than that, even though, on the surface, the movie takes place in the same legal arena, from what I understand talking to Mark, the message in the movie is something different, which, I think I might support, but in fact, it’s not my practice area in real life.

Q: Explain.

AL: I’m upholding a revolution that took place 40 years ago, I’m upholding the tradition of civil and human rights laid down by my heroes, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, amongst others. This is the law of the land now, there is no argument about it. We are living in truly miraculous times, we have an African American President now – a potentially great one, in my opinion. It makes you believe in miracles when you look back at our history, only in America. So if someone is going to treat that law with contempt, I uphold that tradition and that’s what I’m about.

Q: How is that different from the movie?

AL: It’s the same in spirit, but I think he’s interested in a different area of law. I’m taking this from talking to Mark, not from seeing the movie, but as I understand it, the harassment case in the movie is just a device used to explore the psychology, decadence, and arrogance of power, he’s not interested in making some social statement about harassment law, because it’s already settled law, what’s the point?

Q: The movie is more a metaphor for what’s going on with the country right now, or on Wall Street?

AL: That’s my educated guess. Metaphorically, artistically, that works for me as a movie, and I certainly see the same sort of arrogance of power that led to the banking collapse in my practice area every day. Maybe it’s easier to see it in employment law, because the issues are so human, everyone can understand the human dynamics and emotion of a harassment case. Part of the scandal on Wall Street, it’s so abstract, it’s so convoluted and specialized, no one can understand it in human terms, and that’s how the perpetrators got away with it.

If the movie is saying, “These forces are running out of control, they are lawless, they are destructive, they need to be brought to heel for their own good and the good of the country”, I would agree with that. When you talk about that, you’re talking about finance reform, the way the Obama administration is taking on Wall Street right now. I support that as a lawyer and an American, but finance reform is not my practice area. And it would probably make a less interesting movie too. Banking is pretty dry compared to a harassment case!

Q: It’s the same dynamic psychologically, emotionally and artistically, just a different fact pattern?

AL: Exactly. That’s not an argument I can make in court, it’s not specific enough, but it’s fascinating as a work of art. Hopefully Prince of Swine will hold up in the court of public opinion, which I think is the court we’re really trying for here.

Prince of Swine opens at the Laemmle Sunset 5 in West Hollywood on the Sunset Strip at Crescent Heights, Memorial Day Weekend, for a limited engagement, May 28th to June 3rd.

Get tickets for Prince of Swine online at the Laemmle Sunset 5 or the Prince of Swine website http://www.princeofswine.com/ (discounts available for advance and group purchasers).

Join the Prince of Swine revolution on Twitter and Facebook.

Visit Prince of Swine at http//www.princeofswine.com.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sandra Bullock: Do Women Pay a Price for Power? Prince of Swine Roundtable

Q: Everybody knows the story by now, what do you think? Sandra Bullock, latest example of the price women pay for power?

MT (writer/director): It’s just like the movie, men are rewarded for money and power sexually and women get punished for it, that’s what the latest real life episode says to me. Most of the powerful women I know in Hollywood are very much socially isolated, whereas when a guy gets power, the world is his oyster.

Dede Richardson (UCLA coordinator/Prince of Swine): I don’t know if that's true. A lot of women, powerful or not, have trouble with men, newsflash, the opposite sex can be trouble. It’s no different for men, look how much trouble surrounds women in Prince of Swine, it’s Pandora’s Box, I know that’s the first thing you think of when you think of women –

MT: Well –

DR: Besides sex.

MT: Yeah, trouble would be close to the top. That’s not a complete list though: sex and trouble, though it’s probably true, you can enjoy a lot of things about women and stay out of trouble as long as you don’t have sex –

Q: Getting back to Sandra Bullock –

DR: He would have cheated on her whether she was a Minnesota housewife or the Oscar winning actress that she is. The preoccupation people have with assessing what the woman did to cause her husband to cheat is laughable. When a woman cheats, no one looks at the man and assesses where he went wrong. It’s all on her, as it should be, but the double standard is that it isn’t that way when men cheat, especially if he cheats on a successful woman.

MT: But there’s an element of punishment to it too, men don’t like it when women are more powerful and successful than them –

DR: That’s an excuse. If you have a problem with her success then it’s your problem.

MT: Chill thyself woman, it is not my problem, I didn't cheat on Sandra Bullock. And the women in my movie are very powerful, I’m surrounded by powerful women, they run my life, I prefer that actually, women are better managers. This is just something that happens to powerful women, I didn't say it was their fault. Look at Madonna, she’s the most powerful woman in the world, and you constantly see that, guys treating her like crap, that’s very common, I know so many successful women in Hollywood, utterly powerless in their personal lives –

DR: Guys treat powerless women like crap too. Cheating is something men do if they think they can get away with it –

MT: That is actually true, you’ve got to speak to your guy firmly, like a dog, leave no room for doubt, no wiggle room, “Bad! Bad dog. You will not do this.”

DR: Cheat, and no treat for you.

MT: That’s what I tell my sisters about men. Lose all this romantic horse manure and realize men are dogs, and then you’ll be happy, and so will your guy. If you train and reward your dog right, he will obey – women love dogs, I see women out in Runyon Canyon all the time, walking their dogs, they seem very happy. And they’re learning lessons on how to handle men too.

Q: The moral of this story: Ladies, invest in obedience training.

MT: And you have to give him a treat too -

DR: Can’t be all whips and leashes?

MT: I’m not even going there.

Q: For the sake of diplomacy, let’s say it’s best to use a carrot and stick approach.

Prince of Swine opens at the Laemmle Sunset 5 in West Hollywood on the Sunset Strip at Crescent Heights, Memorial Day Weekend, for a limited engagement, May 28th to June 3rd.

Get tickets for Prince of Swine online at the Laemmle Sunset 5 or the Prince of Swine website http://www.princeofswine.com/ (discounts available for advance and group purchasers).

Join the Prince of Swine revolution on Twitter and Facebook.

Visit Prince of Swine at http//www.princeofswine.com.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Q & A with Prince of Swine's Wild Child Carly Cylinder

Q: What was your role in Prince of Swine?

Carly Cylinder: I played Robin, she's a teenage prostitute/actress.

Q: Did you um, well, putting it delicately, research the role?

CC: Honestly, I didn't have to look far, you can find Robin in any club on any street in Hollywood.

Q: Explain.

CC: Well, she's her own character, distinctive, unique, has her own voice, mannerisms. At the same time, I don't think she's that far removed from an average teenager in Hollywood. Which is kind of scary. We play it comically in Prince of Swine, but that’s comedy, you better laugh because otherwise you’d be crying.

Q: How is she different than your average American teenager?

CC: She's just more wild than most, a wild child, a little savage, not particularly cruel or anything, it's just she's not civilized, nobody's broken her, or even tamed her, she's going through life like a wild animal. Now that's almost true of most teenagers, at least in Hollywood, except most teenagers, hopefully, still have parents or a school or a job, or hopefully at least one person who loves them, trying to protect them, keep them in line. With Robin there's nothing, she's living off her looks, off her body, living off the streets. She actually has the same dreams though as every other teenager in Hollywood.

Q: Wants to be a star?

CC: Exactly.

Q: You don't see her as a victim?

CC: You can't judge her through civilized eyes. She's a wild animal. Sex to a wild animal, even if it's what a civilized person would consider rough, it's not something that traumatizes her because she doesn't have any illusions to begin with, and she’s already been so hardened and savage at a young age.

Q: Rape has no meaning to her?

CC: She could be overpowered by someone. She hasn't been yet, she's tougher than almost anyone she meets, not physically stronger, but mentally tougher and fiercer, takes control of any encounter, shows no fear or weakness that would attract a predator or a bully. She controls powerful men two and three times her age, two and three times her strength. She's probably been smacked, but nobody's really beaten the crap out of her or raped her. That would change her, something like that probably would really humble her, but it would have to be something severe like that to get through her thick skin.

Q: Do you like her?

CC: There's some things I like about her, sure. She's tough, she's fearless, she's ambitious. I wouldn't want my daughter to grow up to be Robin.

Q: Because -

CC: Because she's an animal, she's not really close to anyone. She has likes and dislikes but no loves, no one that cares about her or that she really cares about. She could come to a bad, violent end any day. She’s much more prone to disease and/or violence than a man doing the same thing. Those are just the stats, that’s just the way women are shaped, we’re sort of basins or repositories for the pain, sickness and violence of the world, that’s just the price of having a womb.

And if she ever does fall in love with someone, she'll probably have to hide her past life or just have a lot of explaining to do. If she were to become sensitive like that or care about someone, her current life would come to horrify her. There's a part of her that gets hardened and maybe even lost before she ever knew it existed. She's not really in any pain but that part of her can't live doing what she's doing now. If she were ever to awaken it, then she would feel pain, so she might never awaken it her whole life, because to do so would be too painful after the life she’s lived. That would be tragic, in my opinion, but Robin would be completely unaware of the tragedy, that part of her it would horrify is numb, hard as steel by the time she’s sixteen.

See Carly in Prince of Swine at the Laemmle Sunset 5 in West Hollywood on the Sunset Strip at Crescent Heights, Memorial Day Weekend, for a limited engagement, May 28th to June 3rd.

Get tickets for Prince of Swine online at the Laemmle Sunset 5 or the Prince of Swine website http://www.princeofswine.com/ (discounts available for advance and group purchasers).

Join the Prince of Swine revolution on Twitter and Facebook.

Visit Prince of Swine at http//www.princeofswine.com.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Real Life vs. Show Biz Law; Obama’s Finance Reform and Prince of Swine

Q: Prince of Swine shows law as theatre. A lawyer can have the facts on their side, they can be on the right side of the law, and they can still lose if they give a bad performance or employ a bad strategy in court.

MT (writer/director): That’s correct. On the other hand, they can tell whopping lies, be on the wrong side of the law, and still win also, if they give a great performance in court, both as writers and actors, and as legal strategists.

Q: And you see the Obama Administration doing something like this now with finance reform?

MT: In a good way, they’re fighting the good fight, proposing the right law, the facts could not be any more on their side, and I like Obama’s legal strategy so far. Plus he's a very charismatic lawyer, knows how to use the spotlight. But he still might lose because the other side’s got more money than God, and can afford the best lawyers, not to mention they’ve bought both houses of Congress, and most of the key employees within the beltway in the past 30 years.

Q: Wall Street has more money than the US government?

MT: The finance sector is twice as large as the next biggest contributor to campaigns (trial lawyers, and the highest paid trial lawyers work for the finance sector). Of course, the US government is the largest financial player in the world, but Wall Street’s lawyers will be more highly paid, I can assure you. Beyond this, the Wall Street firms will use taxpayer bailout money, to fund a legal defense, to prevent Congress from changing the laws, which brought on the collapse in the first place. They’re using taxpayer money to defend and continue behavior which forced us to bail them out in the first place, just as they originally bribed Congress to change those laws which enabled the collapse in the first place. They do this through lobbying, campaign contributions, and legal defenses.

Q: What is Obama’s strategy?

MT: From what I can see he’s taking no prisoners, and God bless him. It’s not a coincidence this wave of SEC indictments has occurred hand in hand with the public unveiling of his plan for finance reform. He’s saying to Wall Street, “You want to play power games with me? You want to play hardball? Here’s your choices: reform, which is good for the country, or jail. Which do you prefer?”.

Q: You think the SEC indictments are a pretense, a stick to make them take the carrot of finance reform?

MT: God no, they haven’t even alleged half of what Wall Street does. What they’re charging is the tip of the iceberg. I can tell you what they’re alleging is the number one shape of the cons on Wall Street, so it makes me believe they’re true.

Q: What’s the shape of the con?

MT: Blind investors with science so to speak. Create investment vehicles so complicated, then pitch them with pseudoscientific, highly mathematical gibberish, which makes them seem sure things (AAA rated in this case), which, if you put it in plain language and were honest, nobody would ever go for. But when you’re pitching to the mark, you imply they’re stupid or nutless if they don’t understand. Then you show them a bunch of completely bogus numbers to virtually insure a profit, and guard yourselves legally by getting them to sign some complex agreement which they’d have to spend a lot of money to argue about in court if anything goes wrong.

Q: Sort of makes you want to put your money in a mattress.

MT: You just need to find honest people who understand the market. Is Warren Buffett worried about these indictments? Are his investors screwed? Warren Buffett is supporting Obama with everything he has, he wants an honest market, as do most investors, but Wall Street has fallen into the hands of complete scum, who are going to clutch their last dollar and drag the rest of the country down with them if they’re not reformed. Their ideology is a lie (that regulation is bad for the market) and they’re liars and crooks on top of that. They lie to their own investors, that’s what these SEC indictments are about.

Q: What about the lawyers in Prince of Swine, which sort of lawyers are they?

MT: My character, the Biggs character, and the Julie character are fighting the good fight. They’re on the right side of the law, the facts support them, their client, on the whole, is way more innocent than the opposition.

Q: Do they win?

MT: Well, you have to see the movie for that. The case in the movie is trivial, but the movie itself is meant to be a metaphor for the state of the country, and we’re definitely going through a trial for our souls and our future right now.

Prince of Swine opens at the Laemmle Sunset 5 in West Hollywood on the Sunset Strip at Crescent Heights, Memorial Day Weekend, for a limited engagement, May 28th to June 3rd.

Get tickets for Prince of Swine online at the Laemmle Sunset 5 or the Prince of Swine website http://www.princeofswine.com/ (discounts available for advance and group purchasers).

Join the Prince of Swine revolution on Twitter and Facebook.

Visit Prince of Swine at http//www.princeofswine.com.

Friday, April 16, 2010

CENSORED: Fear and Desire for Men in the Sopranos, Mad Men and Prince of Swine

Q: You’ve been censored from both the far right and far left for Prince of Swine? The far left tried to ban Prince of Swine from the Indie Fest. At the same time, you feel the movie trailer was unjustly restricted by a ratings system and social norms which lean far to the right -

Mark Toma (writer/director): And both rationales, left and right, are a pretense, they present it as morality, but really it’s fear of sex, sexual repression.

Q: Explain.

MT: It’s funny, there’s almost no difference between the far right and far left on this issue, this is basically the lunatic fringe, from both directions that’s making all the fuss. But it’s the lunatic fringe that tends to make law and control policy in this area, left and right, the 10% of morons who ruin it for everyone else. Most Americans can’t be bothered and are just living life, going about their business. The middle 80-90% of Americans watch Prince of Swine and are no more offended than an episode of the Sopranos. A little more sex, a little less violence, but they enjoy the edge to it, just like people enjoy the Sopranos so much and for the same reason (and isn’t it the most hilarious thing that, whatever his looks, Tony Soprano is a sex symbol, the combination of violence and power so many women find attractive, as well as so many men enjoying that character).

Q: I don’t understand were you banned for sex or violence?

MT: We were attacked from both left and right for violent, passionate, consensual sex, whether it was an expression of love or an expression of rage. We got zapped from the right, given a Hard R for the trailer, which means it can't play in front of most R-rated movies, and also from the left for being an “affront to feminism” those are the words of the people who tried to have our festival award revoked, not mine. These are the same monkeys who say Mad Men is anti-feminist. The content of Prince of Swine is also almost exactly similar to Mad Men, same theme, same subject matter, but Mad Men is a perfect snapshot of history, whereas Prince of Swine is happening right here, right now, totally cutting edge. That’s the first thing that pops out at you watching Mad Men, “Have these guys never heard of harassment law?”, whereas a harassment suit is the central action of Prince of Swine.

Q: Prince of Swine is a little harder edged than Mad Men

MT: That’s a concession Mad Men had to make to play on AMC, the ratings code is a little tighter there than it would be for HBO, which is pay cable, so they had to take a little of the edge off. I guarantee you, left to his own devices, the creator of Mad Men is a Sopranos disciple, he’d push it to the edge just as hard as the Sopranos does –

Q: Why do you say it’s sexual repression?

MT: Because there’s no violence in Prince of Swine, or rather, the violence is there, but it’s completely repressed, just like society, the passions only come out as sex and rage, nobody shoots anybody, like they do in the Sopranos, not a single beating, maiming, nobody rapes gay men with a pool cue, but it’s just as intense, it just all gets channeled into sex and lawsuits in Prince of Swine, and that’s what freaks children, on both the right and left, out –

Q: How do you know?

MT: Because their objections are bullshit and not the real reasons. The left says it’s anti-feminist. Pure crap, I consider it a feminist movie. Again, these are the same monkeys who say Mad Men is anti-feminist. The right says its immoral about sex. Again: pure horseshit, from the people trying to ban gay marriage during an AIDS crisis, they’re just afraid of sex -

Q: So bullshit from the left, but horseshit from the right -

MT: We’re taking it from both sides because we show both sides, sex as an expression of rage, dominance, power – which we make very clear is monstrous, but also sex as an expression of love, redemption, which is the most beautiful, moral and sacred thing in the world, exactly what American art is lacking. I honestly think it’s way more harmful for a teenager to watch Sex and the City or some pornographic drivel like that, whose subliminal message is “girls, trade sex for money, hold out for Mr. Big”, or these little teaser shows about sex you see on Network TV, that trivialize it, than it is to watch something real like Prince of Swine.

Q: Explain.

MT: It’s like showing a teenager depictions of war, and there’s no blood, there’s no guts, the good guys always win and are just, that is truly pornographic and child abuse in my opinion, infanticide, if those kids later go into the infantry and get killed without knowing what they’re doing, or just if their mothers send them off to war ignorantly, without knowing what it really is. My feeling about this is every kid, when he’s sixteen (not to mention the parents), you should show them the opening sequence to Saving Private Ryan, in full all out gore. Actually show them 95% of that movie, just lose the lame ending, not on grounds of morality, just an artistically bad ending. Show’em Glory too, that’s a good one for war. I don’t even think kids should be allowed to go to war, regardless, I mean, if you’ve got to send somebody, send me, I know what I’m doing, and am still in shape to fight -

Q: Getting back to your movie -

MT: My point is it’s the same thing with Prince of Swine, but about sex, not war. Show kids it at 16, so they know about sex, and know how to be moral about it, that’s way, way better than this soft porn crap like Sex and the City or all this network teaser drivel.

Prince of Swine opens at the Laemmle Sunset 5 in West Hollywood on the Sunset Strip at Crescent Heights, Memorial Day Weekend, for a limited engagement, May 28th to June 3rd.

Get tickets for Prince of Swine online at the Laemmle Sunset 5 or the Prince of Swine website http://www.princeofswine.com/ (discounts available for advance and group purchasers).

Join the Prince of Swine revolution on Twitter and Facebook.

Visit Prince of Swine at http//www.princeofswine.com.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

BANNED: "Feminists" and "Men" Attack Prince of Swine

Q: There was an attempt to ban Prince of Swine from the Indie Fest, to revoke its award? I’m quoting from the director of the festival here, Thomas Baker, in an official release, who received complaints that Prince of Swine represents an “affront to feminism”?

Mark Toma (writer/director): Yep, the thought police are out in full force.

Q: What happened?

MT: I guess some of these shrews, and I’m using that term in a non-sexist manner, they could be either men or women who made the attack (in my experience it’s just as likely to be some henpecked guy who thinks he’s impressing women by “standing up” to us. Of course, they made the attack in private, not to our faces, so there’s no way to know). If the use of the word “shrew” offends some people, I can replace it with “nutless bitches”, but again, I’m using that phrase in a non-sexist manner to refer to both men and women. Whenever I use the phrase “nutless bitch” or even the more graphic . . . I will bend to public pressure and all children in the audience and say C-word here, but 90% of the time I use either of those words I’m referring to men. That’s the sad state of American masculinity.

Q: So you were banned?

MT: Not yet, and thankfully, I’ve talked to Thomas Baker, the head of the Indie Fest, and God bless them, they didn’t cave, even under pressure. But this is not the first time we’ve been attacked, we were banned out to the outer edges of an R rating, a Hard R, that means we can't play the trailer even in front of most R-rated movies, when there’s not a shred of violence in Prince of Swine, all of the sex that’s portrayed, whether its meant to be beautiful or an expression of rage, all of its consensual. It's just a part of life, the very opposite of pornographic, that's exactly the dictionary definition of pornographic, "sex taken apart from life". Prince of Swine is just the opposite, it's sex welling up as a part of life, messy, dangerous and beautiful. In the real meaning of pornographic, Sex and the City 2 is pornographic, because it's a complete fantasy, separate from life, however limp and lame the actual sex is in it, but Prince of Swine is the farthest thing away from porn. It's too real for some people, the strenuously passionate sex and strong emotions of love and hate that come along with that are too intense, that's why they can't handle it, they prefer their sex to be repressed and delusional, like these Anti-gay marriage rednecks or their femnazi counterparts on the left, or in the case of Sex and the City, if sex is not greed-based, if it's not shallow sex with a vacuous millionaire you're only screwing for the money, then it's dirty and brutal, and something that belongs in the gutter.

Q: What did the festival say?

MT: I’m quoting from the letter Tom Baker released after the complaints, “At the Indie Fest we think filmmakers have the right to create films that challenge assumptions, whether politically correct or not. Prince of Swine won our Award of Merit based on high quality storytelling and superior filmmaking craft.”

Q: Is Prince of Swine an “affront to feminism”?

MT: I’m starting to wonder if I might want it to be, I mean if this is what feminism has become, this sad parody of what it’s supposed to be, who needs it? Who wants to be friends with these people if this is where they’re coming from? It’s a work of art, so even my opinion is not definitive, but I considered it as glorifying a certain sort of woman, whom I see as a feminist. My lead actress considers herself a feminist. My publicist considers herself a feminist. These are very strong-willed, independent women, they never listen to me on anything else, so I doubt they’d support the movie if it were anti-feminist or misogynistic. Beyond that, Thomas Baker, at the Indie Fest, is an old civil rights hand, very active in that movement, so I very much doubt he’s going to support a sexist movie.

Q: But some people see Prince of Swine as an anti-feminist movie?

MT: So what? Even if it is anti-feminist, that’s not grounds for banning it. First of all it isn’t, and second of all, feminism isn’t the law of the land, and in fact, episodes like this are exactly why it’s held in such contempt nowadays, has become so irrelevant. The people who want to ban it for being anti-feminist are raving fascist idiots -

Q: I didn’t mean your enemies, I meant your friends who consider it anti-feminist?

MT: That’s different, I see their point and understand them, though that’s not my view. It’s usually large brained conservatives who see it that way, I don’t mean these right wing monkeys out trying to ban gay marriage, whom I doubt can even spell Prince of Swine, or the chimps who got us into Iraq and totally botched it, or the banking whores against any kind of regulation or reform, even if its good for the market. I mean thinking, articulate conservatives, they see Prince of Swine as being highly critical of feminism, as feminism having started off as a good, revolutionary movement, now gone off the tracks, led people astray, and now a lot of hypocrisy has crept in, a lot of bad thinking. I actually agree with that view and there’s a lot of evidence for it. Exhibit A in support of it: these fascist chimps trying to ban us.

Prince of Swine opens at the Laemmle Sunset 5 in West Hollywood on the Sunset Strip at Crescent Heights, Memorial Day Weekend, for a limited engagement, May 28th to June 3rd.

Get tickets for Prince of Swine online at the Laemmle Sunset 5 or the Prince of Swine website http://www.princeofswine.com/ (discounts available for advance and group purchasers).

Join the Prince of Swine revolution on Twitter and Facebook.

Visit Prince of Swine at http//www.princeofswine.com.