JOE JACKSON

DIRECTOR/CO-FOUNDER

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Biography

My fascination with filmmaking began at the age of 7 when I was introduced to first two movies of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. My brother and I consequently spent two days rehearsing an elaborate and continuous battle sequence, which we later conned my mother into narrating and filming with the family Super 8 camera. We moved to Wyoming where my brother and I soon commandeered the camera altogether and made several entertaining though fragmented short films, including a terror thriller about a real estate agent who becomes beheaded by an undead inhabitant of a home’s basement. Using our amateur ingenious, we stuck a rubber Halloween mask on a soccer ball and used quick cut shots to create the illusion that I (playing the undead character) had chopped off my own head (I also played the real estate agent).

It was at the age of 8 that we moved to Wyoming, of course, and that first year in the third grade I met Orrin Kinberg. In those days he seemed to have a natural annoyance toward me, though eventually we became friends. The first thing we really talked about was fox trapping, as I was heavily into the sport and had heard that he was trying to trap a fox at his place. So, I went home and drew out about half a dozen fox sets for him to try, and approached him on the playground one morning, probably in September or October of 2004. In the resulting friendship that followed, we tried to establish a film company under a couple of different names such as Avenger Productions and Berserker Productions, after our favorite Uruk-Hai characters from Lord of the Rings. In 2014 we tacked down the name FoxTrap Films, to pay homage to our first ever conversation that began our adventurous future.

In any event, Orrin and I made our first joint film as freshmen in high school. It was for an assignment in English class to do with our reading of William Golding’s “Lord of the Flies”. Our teacher had agreed to let us make a little film to screen to the class. So over the Christmas break of 2010-2011, we camped out in a cabin we had built in the wide (and cold) Wyoming wilderness. Using heavy influence from Lord of the Rings Special Features, we constructed a less-than-educational and more entertaining film complete with an elaborate dolly shot of me running through the woods, a symbolic image of cattail ‘fluff’ falling in front of a dead young man played by Orrin, and a well-rehearsed sword fight lasting at least two minutes on screen. It was our first (and certainly not our last) film project, and the results entertained our class to no end.

Throughout high school, we made several little films, commercials, and trailers as school assignments. Mainly they were just for fun and we never got anything out of them, though. Our skills and knowledge of filmmaking were increasing with each subsequent project, to the point that we had integrated computer generated graphics such as slow motion bullets, Tyrannosaurus rexes, and Lamborghini Reventon’s pulling up in Orrin’s driveway. We also originated several iconic movie lines that are still being talked about today… “I’m gonna blow up yer car!”

Our greatest triumph, however, was spending nearly an entire year on a short film for the Wyoming Future Business Leaders of America Digital Video Production competition. Orrin and I generated a screenplay (I believe that was our first film that we planned out beforehand…), crafted hundreds of storyboards, and spent hours and hours filming classmates to create what would only amount to a five-minute short. However, the results were not disappointing. We got first place in the competition and were offered the opportunity to go onto National competition. Unfortunately, we won no prizes there, as our presentation had time constraints that didn’t allow our video to be shown.

Our most recent project is known today as “Tea Kettle Men”. It was an idea that we generated after I had been exposed to Peter Jackson’s splatter movie “Bad Taste”. I wanted to try and replicate some of those exhilarating (though gory) scenes, and try and create some very ironic characters that would make you laugh just looking at them. At the time, I was attending my freshman year of college at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, so Orrin and I’s correspondence over the film was in the form of emails, telephone calls, and occasional letters. When I got home for Christmas break however, in December 2014, we got quickly to work. We spent a few days shooting and planning, having to overcome some actor trouble and vehicle delays in getting to our remote locations. However, we pushed through it and came out with our most polished and entertaining film to date, a 12 minute short of two unlikely bank robbers, the gruff tea-connoisseur named Grizz and the nerdy, though violently insane, vest-wearing Louis, who team up to try and give the law a slip by going into a region of Wild West Wyoming known as Tea Kettle Rock.

We just finished editing our inaugural film-festival entry and first ever documentary, known as “Lure of The Grayling”. As you can read on this website, it is a film about Reed Morisky and his lifelong pursuit of the grayling.

On the side, Orrin and I finished principal photography on a short western comedy known as "Somewhere Under the Cottonwood". It features the lowly adventures of two moonshiners and their plots to scam a couple of wealthy bar owners in 1873 Wyoming. Recently, too, Orrin and I finished writing our first feature film screenplay, which ended up being a total of 126 pages. It is the story of two bumbling teenage brothers who ditch out of society’s path of going to college in order to become fishing guides. Meanwhile, a moronic-though-comic band of criminals known as the Dirt Gang stumble their way through a trespassing, a jailbreak, and a bank robbery in order to discover that they are not all doomed to a life of crime. The brothers, in their travels of running away from home, eventually stumble upon the Dirt Gang, and both parties find themselves in grave danger after a deal goes terribly wrong.

I have been making films since I was seven years old. In those 13 years, I have not once been disappointed with the way I have spent my time. I have donned the hat of bank robber, shootout king, broom rider, convict, Greek god, and many others. Robert Altman once said, “Filmmaking is the chance to live many lifetimes.” I can attest that that is true, and it is wildly entertaining.

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