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Directors Statement - LOOP

In 1984 I made my first feature -- a horror spoof called Redneck Zombies. Redneck Zombies was picked up by TROMA and became one of their biggest sellers. Lloyd Kauffman, the independent filmmaker who owns TROMA, took a shine to me and I became the special effects supervisor, occasional actor, and second unit director on Troma’s next four movies. That was more than 20 years ago. After working with Troma, I bounced around from coast to coast trying to find another feature directing gig. Despite the continued success of Redneck Zombies, finding financing for a second feature proved daunting, and eventually I returned to my home in Maryland and began working on documentaries and music videos. My work won film festival awards, aired at the Kennedy Center, Public Television, and MTV, but none of it really put money in the bank.
When I hit my 40s, I decided I wanted to make a steady paycheck, so I began a career as an editor in international broadcast news for the Washington DC bureau of the Reuters Television. It was interesting to see how raw news came out of the “pipe” -- to watch as it was strained and filtered through the various outlets around the world and witness its final incarnation as it was presented to the public. To say the least, it was an often shocking process.

On September 11, 2001, the news was running straight from the pipe to the screens of the public. In DC there was a siege mentality for the next few days as we worked breathlessly to report in real time. I was in the thick of news production during those tragic days, with literally millions of images flashing in front of me. I became hyper aware of how information was flowing and how it was processed. This hyper awareness continued through the Afghan War, the anthrax scare, and the lead up to and culmination of the invasion of Iraq.

After a series of layoffs, I had to leave Reuters and began working with an Arab News Agency start-up which was being federally funded. Now I was exposed to another perspective, actually working in another language to present and shape information for a specific audience.

I became steeped in the culture and politics of the Middle East, a complex place where progress seems consistently stalled and political and religious differences often erupt into open aggression and hostility. Yet despite the barely contained explosiveness of the region, there is a constant public performance art of diplomacy that is practiced in an attempt to direct the viewing public to believe that positive change is not only possible, but imminent.
Like a perfect crust on a rancid meat pie.

The futility and hopelessness of the “Holy Land” began weighing heavily on me. I vividly remember during a typically busy day of work going off alone to an edit room, closing the door, and looking at my dimmed reflection in a darkened monitor. I looked wired, weary, and old. I thought to myself that my head was going to explode. I began to think that the times had forced me into a process of self actualization, a reassessment that I wasn’t particularly ready for and that it was leading me to nowhere. It was a very sad, surreal, yet poignant moment in my life.
It was that day that I began to write the screenplay that in 3 years became the movie LOOP, my second feature and probably my last.

Pericles Lewnes - Director - LOOP


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