By Matthew Gentile
When an emotionally self destructive rock star begins to lose his hearing, his personal and professional lives unravel.
“There’s not a false note in the film—this is terrific.” ~Lars Johnson (judge)
Have you ever loved a song so much and wanted everyone else in the world to love it as much as you? Have you ever felt that you had something you wanted to share with the World — whether it is love, knowledge, or insight – but no way to channel it because the outside forces are too scary, alienating, and unwelcoming?
What excites me about FRONTMAN is the opportunity to bring the charismatic and complex character of Jody Peck to life. Here is a man who loves playing music more than anything in the World. The way he single-mindedly pursues his passion is admirable to witness, but destructive to experience. The façade this front man puts out there for his fans disguises an anger that is complicated and dangerous. Celebrity is a fascinating aspect of our culture. There’s a tendency among people to build superstars up to be heroes and break them back down. One minute someone can be a hero and in a flash they’re obscure.
In FRONTMAN, we explore and witness the construction and destruction of an American icon, who has one simple goal: to play music for an audience and please his fans. We’ll see the obstacles he’ll face, both internal and external, to do that. We all – to a degree – have a little Jody Peck within us. My hope in making this film is that we, the filmmakers, and the audience as well, can understand the extremely challenging but ultimately rewarding journey that comes with pursuing your passion.
I devour all genres of film, yet the movies that always tend to rank among my favorite are the ones I grew up watching with my father: 70’s movies like DOG DAY AFTERNOON, THE CONVERSATION, THE GODFATHER, NETWORK. These are films where the man at the center of it all is usually the same beast in the end that he was in the beginning. Perhaps he may not change, but the World around him does. It’s up to him to figure out how to keep up. It’s up to us to decide whether or not he’s going about it the right way.
Movies like these do not get made as much these days, for whatever reasons. I’m extremely fortunate to be a student at AFI, where for the last year I’ve been given the chance to make three Cycle films, where I’ve been allowed to find my voice as a director and hone my style while working with some of the most talented and hard-working people around. What the thesis film offers me, and my team-mates, is the creative freedom to make something unique, idiosyncratic, and ideally, unforgettable.
To make a film set in the world of rock and roll and production is a daunting prospect. We will need your support to help us make this movie. This project for all of us represents the summation of our academic/professional endeavors. I will not rest until it’s the best work I’ve ever done. I hope you’ll join us on this exciting, adventurous path.
– Matthew Gentile
“Strong production value and acting. The lead is a genuinely sympathetic character losing what he needs to create his art.” ~William Bukowski (judge)