Director Biography – Kate Jopson (THE WEB OPERA)

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Kate Jopson (director) is the Artistic Director of the Aliso Theatre Company, having previously been Artistic Director of both Circle X Theatre and the Flagship Theatre, all in Los Angeles. Recently, she directed the short film PROTECT & SAVE (official selection Pasadena International Film Festival, Alexander Valley Film Festival, Dam Short Film Festival) and developed documentaries with the Academy-Award winning company Stick Figure productions. As a theatre director, she specializes in experienced-based productions in locations as varied as a Frank Lloyd Wright house, a horse ranch, a beach, and a flower-filled basement. Recent theatre credits: HOLE IN THE SKY (Circle X Theatre); CANDIDE (Santa Cruz Shakespeare); FEFU AND HER FRIENDS (Circle X Theatre/J.U.S.T Toys Productions, LA); 1984 (Greenway Court Theatre, LA); AN ACCIDENT (Griot Theatre, LA), TWELFTH NIGHT (Courage Theatre Co. LA); SECOND SKIN (The West/The Flagship Ensemble); A WILLOW GROWS ASLANT (La Jolla Playhouse —Without Walls Fest.) B.A UC Berkeley; M.F.A in Directing from UC San Diego. http://www.katejopson.com

Director Statement

Cruelty can happen so casually, especially with the distance that social media allows. Social media is a double-edged sword, it can help those who feel isolated find a community and it can also bring out the darkest urges in humans. You no longer have to look someone in the eye and see the damage you have wrought. Micro-aggressions and unexplored prejudices can balloon into great wrongs. In the first three episodes of The Web Opera, we see how two young men’s choice not to face the discomfort of addressing their differences leads to a thoughtless and deeply violating action. We also examine how privacy is willingly and unwillingly taken from us.

The youngest in my “millennial” generation grew up without ever knowing a time before the internet. Some of us feel that privacy is overrated, that “we have nothing to hide so why does it matter?” I also fall into that reasoning, at times. But then something like the true events at Rutgers that The Web Opera is based on happens and I must re-examine my online presence. When I do, it is often terrifying how much of my life can be easily accessed and how little is under my control. That is why I wanted to film it in a way where you are watching people through their devices while they are going about their daily lives, unaware of our gaze.

While the story is small, the ramifications are big. Composer Michael Roth felt that an “opera” would help us find the emotion behind these small moments while keeping the larger scope of the message always present. The music defies genre, having moments of rock, pop, new music, musical theatre, and sound design fused together into the experience. The webseries itself also invents a new genre of “Web Operas.”

Overall, we tried to suit the medium to the story and the story to the medium to find a way to get into the heart of some of the largest issues of our time.

Short Film: THE WEB OPERA Episode 3, 13min., USA, Music Short

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With THE WEB OPERA, composer Michael Roth has assembled a team of progressive artists to create something completely new – an episodic through-sung web series based on true events, a groundbreaking and unique experiment in music, film, and new opera. THE WEB OPERA tells of a group of college freshmen and the invasion of privacy that forever changes a young man’s life. THE WEB OPERA also encourages and supports via its website suicide prevention and the fight against cyber abuse.

* – As of January, 2020, THE WEB OPERA has been honored as an official selection by 14 festivals: the LOS ANGELES EXPERIMENTAL DANCE & MUSIC FILM FESTIVAL (upcoming screening/February, 2020), New York’s IndieBOOM Festival (Winner, Best Music), INDIE SHORT FEST/LOS ANGELES, Australia’s INTERNATIONAL SHORTS FESTIVAL, LA’s INDEPENDENT SHORTS FESTIVAL, the WEB SERIES FESTIVAL GLOBAL, LOS ANGELES CINEFEST (semi-finalist, Best Web Series), ROME INDEPENDENT PRISMA AWARDS (semi-finalist, Best Web Series), and SHORT, TIGHT & LOOSE GLOBAL FILM FESTIVAL COMPETITION (Award of Excellence-Original Concept), in addition to Awards of Merit from the ONE REELER SHORT FILM COMPETITION and the BEST SHORTS COMPETITION, Honorable Mention from LA’s EXPERIMENTAL FORUM, and online presentations for both the LIFT OFF SESSIONS in the UK and New York’s LIFT-OFF GLOBAL NETWORK ONLINE FESTIVAL.

Featuring performances by Reuben Uy, Adam Von Almen, Stephanie Cecile Yavelow, Molly Connor, Joyce Lai and Loren Battley, directed by Kate Jopson, with texts by Kate Gale and additional texts by Michael Roth, filmed by DP Dana Fytelson with dazzling visual graphics by Lisa Glenn Armstrong, Yiyi Shao, and Christopher Gaal/Crazybridge Studios, and filmed as if seen via the cameras and webcams in a laptop, iPhone, or iPad, this story about the violation of privacy invites the viewer to violate the privacy of the characters themselves while viewing it.

Composer Randy Newman calls THE WEB OPERA ‘groundbreaking … a great 21st century opera, full of fine things and remarkably accessible. It is also an important story told very very well.’

And THE WEB OPERA has a mission – inspired by the real life tragedy of Tyler Clementi, THE WEB OPERA is presented online to encourage all who view it, via the website, to support organizations working for suicide prevention and against cyber abuse. The first three episodes are online now, episodes four and five will be complete within the next year or so. To view all three episodes, to support the filming of episodes four and five, and for information regarding THE WEB OPERA’s mission, please visit http://www.thewebopera.com

More detailed synopsis (some spoilers):

In Episode One, a college freshman (FG97 – all of the characters are referred to by their e-mail addresses) is installing software for his new webcam when he receives a message from his new roommate, Violinist98. Online, he investigates his roommate to get more information about him, all the while communicating about it with his friend across the hall, June99.

In Episode Two, Violinist98 is practicing violin and then, distracted, he seeks solace online from a forum; eventually he receives a friend request from Bookstore90, a man he’d met the day before, and arranges a date with him for the next night. He informs FG97 via text that he needs the room.

In Episode Three, FG97 visits his friend June99 during Violinist98’s date. Via his webcam, hoping to have a look at Bookstore90, whom FG97 finds suspicious, they have a quick look at the date and discuss this with June’s roommate and two of her roommate’s friends. Having looked, they see something they can’t unsee – and FG97 informs others online about it in a tweet that Violinist98 reads later that evening – as he stares at the webcam.

News & Reviews

Director Biography – Art Bridgman and Myrna Packer (LOOK OUT)

Art Bridgman and Myrna Packer have choreographed and performed collaboratively since 1978. Decades later, they continue to be a vital and present voice in the dance ecosystem. In 2001 they expanded their choreographic vision, stretching the boundaries of dance on stage by merging it with video technology, creating a groundbreaking metaphoric tool for portraying thoughts and memories, challenging the sense of reality. They continue to receive international critical praise for seamlessly melding these two art forms. In the summer of 2018, they created their first stand-alone film in collaboration with drone camera cinematographer Gavin Preuss.
In NYC they have been presented by Lincoln Center, City Center Fall for Dance, and Baryshnikov Arts Center and toured to festivals including Spoleto USA, Jacob’s Pillow, Bates Dance Festival, Munich International Festival, Beirut Spring Festival (Lebanon), and Tancforum (Budapest). They have taught workshops in their unique approach to Dance and Technology at over 150 universities including NYU Tisch, Juilliard, and Bates College.
Bridgman and Packer received a 2008 Guggenheim Fellowship, the first in the foundation’s history given to two individuals for collaborative work, an NDP Touring Award (2013), 3 NEFA Expedition Grants, and 4 NPN Creation Fund Awards. Their work Voyeur was awarded a 2017 Bessie for Outstanding Production and was chosen Best of 2016 by Village Voice and Huffington Post and Best of 2017 by TheaterJones.com.

Director Statement

After many years of integrating live performance with video technology on stage, it was exciting to us to create this stand-alone film with drone-camera cinematographer Gavin Preuss. The drone camera’s potential for exciting perspectives, distances, and angles fed both our cinematic and choreographic choices.

Short Film: LOOK OUT, 6min., USA, Experimental

Look Out, a driving and precarious choreographic voyage through rooftops, a parking lot, and a construction site filmed entirely by drone camera, captures unexpected angles, distances, and perspectives. Shot on location during LUMBERYARD Under Construction Summer Festival 2018 (Catskill, NY), it features Bridgman|Packer choreography and performance, cinematography by Gavin Preuss, and industrial-percussion by Jeff Cook.

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Director Biography – Donald McQuade (FREE FALL)

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Donald is a Florida native, coffee addict, and award winning writer/director. His work is highly stylized and informed by a love of the innovative and the unexpected. He studied film at Florida State University College of Motion Picture Arts. Once in Los Angeles, Donald’s strengths as a storyteller made him a highly sought after script doctor and ghost writer for feature films before transitioning to directing music videos and commercials. As a filmmaker, his work has featured the talents of Ciara, Leah Michelle, John Legend, Regina King and Eva Longoria.

Director Statement

We live in a crazy time. Ecosystems collapse, governments wage war and institutions fail us. Yet in the midst of all that chaos relationships are built, dreams are achieved, children are born and life goes on. Free Fall is a big idea encased in a small video. In a lonely and dangerous place, where the world seems to be literally crashing down, two people are able to find each other and connect, if only for a brief moment.

I hate to say that, when asked to direct the music video for Free Fall, I initially turned it down. That said, the music stuck with me. I found myself dreaming up images to accompany the chorus, taking Free Fall into the realm of the apocalyptic. It didn’t take long to realize I had made a mistake. Having presented this new vision for the video, Patrick and the Kimono Pat team changed course and graciously welcomed me onto the project. Before I knew it, we were all making the 3 hour drive to Pismo Beach where the majority of filming took place.

I’m incredibly proud of this project, but I’m even more proud of the team that worked on it. Assembling a small crew, our friends in the industry, we did our best to capture those big ideas with what little we had. This team went to hell and back to make this video possible. I’m so thankful for all the work they put in and the countless hours that were spent to see this vision come to life.

Short Film: FREE FALL, 3min., USA, Music Short

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In a lonely and dangerous place, where the world seems to be literally crashing down, two people are able to find each other and connect, if only for a brief moment.

News & Reviews