MEET THE FILMMAKERS: Justin Christenson and William Johnson.
Justin Christenson and William Johnson, the respective director and writer of Mine to Keep, a short feature or long short (frankly, we’re just not sure), share their passion for telling stories that feature deep literary underpinnings in visually unique ways.
Justin and Will are screening the trailer for Mine to Keep at the February 21st Emerging Filmmakers Project. In some ways, their style of storytelling was inevitable. Will, some might say, resembles what the love child of Bret Easton Ellis and Tucker Max would look like if Bret Easton Ellis and Tucker Max could, in fact, have a love child. And if you totally get that reference, you can be his friend. If you don’t, you and Will probably won’t get along. For Justin, his “not selling out to the man” philosophy reared it’s no compromise head when he insisted that the vibrator featured in Mine to Keep be called “The Pleasure Train.” And whether or not you get THAT reference, Justin will still like you cuz that’s how he rolls.
P.S.: Why did you become a filmmakers?
J.C.: I’ve always been drawn to the art of storytelling and how film can trick you into forgetting you’re just watching it on a screen.
W.J.: I’m drawn to filmmaking because of its collaborative nature. I also enjoy the way projects evolve. The script written, film shot, and film edited each have their own life and change through the process of finishing the film. It’s interesting watching the changes happen naturally.
P.S.: What was the inspiration behind your movie?
W.J.: A thought-experiment on what a relationship built around power would look like. Power the prime motivator with intimacy, love, and sex as tools of manipulation. The story mostly evolved from driving by a strip club on Christmas morning and seeing a ton of cars in the parking lot. I started to think about the emotional state of some of those people. It fit in well with my other idea of a power motivated relationship. The story evolved from there with little bits coming from many different places.
P.S.: What are your plans for it? Where has it screened?
J.C.: The director’s cut was shown at a cast/crew screening, but at 41 minutes, we are still cutting it down to make it more accessible. We hope to get rejected by more film festivals this summer.
P.S. “Mine to Keep” is printed on those little heart-shaped candies, right? You must really love Valentine’s Day.
W.J.: Some people get down with it. Not really my thing.
J.C.: Just another reason to avoid hot tubs.
P.S.: As if we needed more reasons to avoid hot tubs. What else are you working on?
J.C.: We just released our first music video, “Nice Guys” for local artist SolomusiQ (Make Out Dreams), and we are planning on developing a web series to collaborate with other local artists and filmmakers.
P.S.: Tell us one weird or unusual thing about you or your movies.
J.C.: The song for the music video we just finished had to be lengthened just to fit the length of the video. The initial cut was over 9 minutes. I could work on brevity.
P.S.: Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?
W.J.: Our website, Ensodevelopment.org
P.S.: Is there anything you’d like to say about The Emerging Filmmakers Project?
J.C.: Without EFP, and the people that support it, we wouldn’t have anyone to show what we’ve worked so hard to create, and we wouldn’t have a place to show it. And they don’t have to watch it on their phone.
P.S.: Thanks, gents!