I won’t ever forget the first time I saw Justin Brown.
Heather and I had moved to Los Angeles in February of 2011. I was trying to make ends meet working as a freelance production assistant on various commercial sets. My work brought me to Hollywood quite often, and multiple times a day I’d find myself crossing through the La Brea-Melrose intersection.
That’s where he was.
I had never seen anyone spin a sign like this. His movements were wild but based in method. This wasn’t just sign spinning, it was art in the middle of one of the busiest intersections in Hollywood. He looked like a maniac, and I was captivated. At that time in my life, I felt shackled to my responsibilities, and a rush of envy swelled inside me when I saw him. This guy is alive, I thought. For me, an East Coast boy, he represented everything I imagined about the Wild West—a sun-soaked, hardworking renegade living his dream.
I remember thinking, “I want to tell this guy’s story.”
But life got the best of me. I moved onto more exciting work in film and Heather and I were able to establish a more comfortable life here in Los Angeles. The sign spinner fell off my radar. Every now then I’d make a detour on my way home with a pizza or bring houseguests to the corner to show them “the real weird side of Hollywood.” (No one on the East Coast has seen a sign spinner like Justin.)
“I think with any project there are challenges that arise that no one could have predicted. I knew going into this project, here’s a great character that I want to tell his story. I didn’t dream that I would follow him for almost a year capturing loads of footage. And of course, just because I have a multitude of content does not mean I have a good project. I still needed to shape a story out of it all. But it was also important that I remain highly adaptable because the story could change at any moment. For me, that unknown was probably the biggest challenge of making this piece. But that same unknown is really why I do this for a living. It’s a challenge to find these stories, but it’s also very exciting to chase them.”
Danny Corey, Filmmaker of SIGNS of LIFE (with Justin Brown)
In hindsight, it feels like fate. On the week of Christmas in 2012, Heather and I were walking home from the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. Santa Monica might as well be Egypt in terms of Los Angeles geography, but there, on the corner of Wilshire and 4th St, was my renegade sign spinner. I stopped immediately and turned to Heather. She gave me an approving nod. On far too many occasions, she’d heard me pitch my grand sign-spinning documentary idea. And then there we were. Delivered almost to my front door was Justin Brown from North Carolina, the self-proclaimed Godfather of the Sign Spinning Trick-tionary.
That’s how the adventure began. The next year or so would be an eye-opening experience for me, in terms of filmmaking and life in general. Justin taught me a lot about loving what you do and inspiring others. And I want to thank him for that. I found many things in Justin, but I’m most proud to say that I found a friend.
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THE BEAT OF THE BAT is a full-length documentary that tells the story of the music of the 1966 “Batman” Television Series and how composers Neal Hefti, Nelson Riddle & Billy May gave Batman his first real musical identity- and one that has remained inexorably tied to the character for over 50 years!
In fact, if you saw the just released “Lego Batman Movie” you might have noticed the numerous references to the music of the TV series.
And face it, you can go up to anyone, anywhere in the world and sing “Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na!” and they will instantly know what you are talking about!
The music was as important to the show as the bright colors, campy dialogue and tongue-in-cheek performances. Yet, strangely, the story of how it came to be has never been told… Until now.
EXODUS documents the journey of Syrian refugees as they cross the Aegean Sea from Turkey into Greece. In the winter of 2015, over three thousand refugees attempted this treacherous crossing everyday, all in hope of seeking asylum in the European Union. It’s a life and death gamble that they are willing to take, all for a chance at a new life away from their war-torn homeland.
FREAK OUT: Matan, a soldier in the IDF, sets off for a week of patrolling in a remote base in the north of Israel with three soldiers whom he doesn’t know. As the week progresses, the soldiers begin to question whether they will come out of this experience alive.
THE HOLLY KANE EXPERIMENT: An obsessive psychologist attempts to reprogram her subconscious mind, but when her actions become increasingly uncharacteristic she fears her experiment is dangerously out of control.
AMERICAN TRIAL seeks to discover what a trial in the Eric Garner case might have taught us. How is our legal system designed to handle cases such as Garner’s? What verdict may have been returned after all the evidence was presented? More importantly, what conversations, perspectives and emotions went unexamined because of the grand jury’s decision?
Similarly to fiction courtroom dramas, the lead characters of this documentary will be the attorneys leading the prosecution and the defense. Our camera will capture them as they develop their public arguments and individual positions. How do they decide which witnesses to summon? How do they prepare for their court appearance? Are there any discrepancies between their systemic role and their true feelings regarding the case?
The film will also follow a news crews covering the trial and reporting on race relations in America within the context of the trial and the movement for black lives. They will travel across America to discover what public figures, intellectuals and activists think about the Eric Garner case, as well as other similar cases through the prism of racial relations in the United States.