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Motivated by and inspired to counter the current laissez-fairre attitudes toward the glamorization of drug use depicted in queer cinema, Film Director Mark Robert Jackson bravely decided to tackle the subject of crystal meth addiction in the gay community with his entry into the 2007 Nashville Film Festival “Night Falls Fast”, a short 20 minute narrative film depicting the difficulties of recovery and sobriety that one man faces with his addiction.
With “Night Falls Fast” Mark Robert Jackson delivers a thrilling and enlightening glimpse into the unseen lives of meth addicts and the struggles that not only they but their loved ones are put through because of their addictions. Jackson utilizes creative film techniques that are at once enlightening and disturbing in execution as the viewer accompanies the addict on his rise and eventual crash.
In a recent phone interview with O&AN, Jackson and his Executive Producer Matthew Hallman the gentlemen talked about Timely Films, “Night Falls Fast” and it’s portrayal of crystal meth addiction.
Mark, you are a film student and Matthew is a former corporate executive. How did it come to pass that you should end up collaborating on a film together?
Mark Robert Jackson: We met at a party and at the time Matt was looking for somewhere to direct his efforts. We really hit it off so I asked him to join the team and it didn’t take him long to whip my script into shape. I had created the company in order to produce the movie and together we grew it into Timely Entertainment. I envisioned the company as a vehicle to do films of political relevance in a way that was sort of getting back to some of the films of the 70’s that dealt with big political issues of the time.
Matthew Hallman: The biggest challenge for me was the fact that I was coming form a very corporate background. I worked for New Line Cinema for seven and a half years and GQ for five years after that before I decided to go out on my own to produce independent film. When I first started working with Mark it was a major realization for me how much really hard work it is. There aren’t all of the assistants helping you out and there isn’t the money behind you that a major corporation gives you in order to succeed at your project. Every single dime has to be watched and every corner that can realistically be cut has to be in order to make the money go as far as possible.
Why did you choose the subject of crystal meth addiction as the topic of your first film?
MRJ: In New York’s gay community crystal meth addiction is huge. When I was doing research on the internet while trying to raise money I was shocked to find that there were actually two very distinct groups prevalently affected by meth addiction: so-called “rednecks” in rural areas in the middle of the country and gay men in the big cities and on the coasts. I have so many loved ones who have struggled with the problem and found their way to sobriety and I witnessed how challenging that process is especially in the case of meth addiction. I was moved by watching that daily struggle in their lives and wanted to put together a message that was encouraging to people like them. I wanted them to know that they could overcome the addiction. I was also really tired of seeing films coming out of Hollywood that really just portray drug addicts as people who never got anything together. These characters always fall into their addictions or either just die or just live dysfunctionaly for the rest of their lives (Requiem for a Dream, Leaving Las Vegas).
How did you choose to approach the subject in a way that was unique to cinematic representations of meth addiction?
The gay film movement has been such an incredible thing but often the narratives don’t seem to embrace the larger spectrum of the world outside of gay life so I was really motivated by that to create a real family drama around the central gay character that is a crystal meth addict. I was moved to show that when you are an addict you become blind to things around you so I went to great lengths to show how my main character was blinded to his father’s own troubles by his own addiction and his own self-destructive thoughts. It took the trauma of his father almost dying to wake him up enough to realize that he was basically losing everything.
What were some of the techniques you used to help communicate the message in such a short amount of time?
A lot of the challenge of making the film was trying to draw people into the story that don’t know what it’s like to be on meth so my cinematographer and I worked really hard to develop a sort of visual language to try and express that as best as possible. As the story progresses we move into a number of different camera formats including a still camera in movie mode that we used to film a large portion of the 9-1-1 scene. As the main character becomes more and more high the visuals disintegrate. The idea in my mind was this: I wanted the obstacle to be his addiction and I needed to communicate to the audience that because he made the choice to get high he found himself unable to function enough to even save his father. I feel like the visual language that we developed goes a long way towards communicating just how much of a challenge that situation was.
MH: From a marketing standpoint we want to be able to market this film across all genres and not just as a gay film. We are very excited about just having come from Philadelphia and won Best Short Project there so st Nashville will be a great playground for us to see what kind of response we get there. From st place Nashville we will be headed to the Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival which will be our fist all-gay festival. We already know that we have a built-in audience with the gay festivals but we really want to market the film as much as possible to the straight festivals as well.
What can we look for from Timely Films in the future?
MH: Our next project will is very important to us. It will be our first full-length feature and we’re hoping to get that off the ground in September. We are in the process of acquiring the rights to a stage play called “Don’t Ask!” WE also have a couple of television properties that we are working on.
MRJ: “Don’t Ask!” is set in Iraq and centers on a secret affair between a Sergeant and a Private who is under him. In the prison that the soldiers are occupying one of the inmates is raped and killed. It’s not long before the Sergeant finds out that the Private he is having the affair with is a part of the gang rape killing. As a result, the Private begins to blackmail the Sergeant into protecting him. The Sergeant complies because he is on his way towards retirement and has a family back home that he doesn’t want to loose. The story turns into a sort of psychological cat-and-mouse thriller. It really fits our prototype of bringing timely films to the masses because it plays heavily with the idea of the closet and the whole “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and what it can be like to have to live in the closet in an environment such as that.
For those with a thirst to celebrate, Red Bull Unlocked is the key. In city after city, the most exciting bars, clubs, mixologists, performing artists, and more take over a local landmark building to showcase their signature ambiance while also collaborating for a must-see mashup. And now it's Music City’s turn to seize the spotlight, as the event brings 10 bars together in East Nashville’s Five Points neighborhood.
Fueled by the best of Nashville’s thriving music scene, Red Bull Unlocked has curated an eclectic night of show-stopping entertainment performances including a pop-up Whiskey Jam show, DJ sets, musicians, and more. The full lineup is here:
- Whiskey Jam (feat. Dozzi, Willie Shaw, and Johnny Hayes)
- A.B. Eastwood
- Daisha / Rap Girl
- Boom Bap (DJ Collective feat. DJ-Rate, Case Bloom)
- Whiskey Disco (DJ Collective feat. Coach, Jim O'Shea)
- Old Crow Medicine Show’s Jerry Pentercost (DJ Set)
- DJ Stretch
- DJ Griffin Green
- The Play Mates (Drag Show feat. Sasha, Vanity, Deception, Aura Mayari, Corlis Todd, and Carmin Triple C)
Counting down to the epic celebration, Daisha shares, “I never thought I’d have the opportunity to perform in so many of Nashville’s top spots all in the same night. Fans can expect a lot of bops and high energy. I want people to dance and have a good time.”
Ward Guenther, Whiskey Jam Founder, adds, “Red Bull has been enjoyed at Whiskey Jam since the very first night, so it's only fitting Whiskey Jam is enjoyed at Nashville's first Red Bull Unlocked. Looking forward to this!”
Red Bull Unlocked Istanbul
Photo courtesy of Red Bull
Local favorites including Pearl Diver, Tin Roof, Lipstick Lounge, White Limozeen, and more will join forces for one epic night. Full list of bars and partners below:
- The Dive Motel
- Lipstick Lounge
- Pearl Diver
- Play Dance Bar
- Rosemary & Beauty Queen
- The Stage
- Tin Roof
- Whiskey Jam
- White Limozeen
- Woolworth Theatre – Opening Fall 2022!
- Eleven Eleven - Opening 2023!
Date: August 21, 2022
Time: 6 PM – 11PM CT
Location: 1102 Forrest Ave, Nashville, TN 37206
Entrance: Ticked event
Rumble Boxing, the boxing-inspired group fitness studio, opened its doors for the first time in Nashville on June 20 at 609 Overton St, Nashville, TN. The hottest workout on the block is hosting its official grand opening from August 4th-7th with daily classes, membership specials, and prizes from local vendors. The new Rumble Boxing studio is currently offering a buy one class, get one free promotion for the Nashville community.
Rumble Boxing delivers 45-minute, 10-round, strength and conditioning group workouts, crafted around teardrop-style aqua boxing bags and high-intensity strength training circuits. This brings all fitness levels together to experience what Rumble is known for: combining the sweet science of boxing with high energy and positive vibes.
Rumble Boxing Fitness Studio
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
This boutique fitness brand offers serious benefits like increased stamina and strength, with cardio that’s actually fun. The seasoned trainers at the new studio are thrilled to serve their local community while offering this fun, new modern approach to boxing and welcome members of all fitness levels to the Rumble family.
The new Rumble Boxing studio is owned and operated by Blake Baskin and Antonio Compton. With their background in the fitness industry, this dynamic duo is excited to bring their passion for boxing and group fitness to Nashville. As business and life partners, Blake and Antonio aim to create a strong community within their new Rumble Boxing studio and share their message of non-apologetic inclusivity.
Black and Gay-Owned Business
Rumble Boxing Store with Dolly Parton Mural
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
“We own who we are, and this brand aligns with that perfectly,” said Antonio. “This is what we want to create and bring to this community: a fitness class that is designed for anyone and a place for people to be who they are. As a Black and gay-owned business, we want to help lower the division we see in the world right now. Our goal is to bring people together through Rumble, set everything aside, and have fun.”
To echo their message of acceptance and inclusion, Blake and Antonio commissioned a local Nashville artist to paint an 11 X 6-ft. mural of Nashville icon and philanthropist, Dolly Parton. The massive portrait features the country star in Rumble Boxing gear in the lobby of the studio.
The excitement and buzz around Rumble allowed Blake and Antonio to recruit top-tier trainers to head up the new studio, including Head Trainer Oronde Jones, a well-known celebrity trainer in the Nashville market.
Rumble Boxing Fitness Studio
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
“Compared to other fitness classes, Rumble is a class you can truly get lost in for 45 minutes. With the dark room, you don’t have to worry if anyone is paying attention to you. The music is awesome and inspiring, and the beat drops right when you need it the most. Also, with boxing being a sport you can never truly master, you’re always improving and crafting your skill. On the floor, you’re consistently doing something new, which prevents you from ever hitting a plateau.” Said Oronde Jones about his favorite part of Rumble.
Rumble has massive brand loyalty and widespread appeal, partly thanks to attracting top names like Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Kendall Jenner, Hailey Baldwin, Jason Derulo, David Beckham, and Kevin Hart to its studios.
About Rumble Boxing
Founded in New York City in 2017, Rumble is a group fitness concept delivering a mix (or combination) of boxing-inspired circuits and the transformative power of resistance training. Pro and amateur fighters glove up together, no matter their fitness level or skill, to reveal their inner fighter. The experience is a 45-minute, 10-round, full-body cardio and strength workout crafted around specially designed water-filled, teardrop-style boxing bags. Rumble was founded by Noah Neiman (former Barry’s Bootcamp Master Trainer, and cast member of Bravo’s Work Out New York), Eugene Remm (Co-Founder of Catch Hospitality Group (Catch Restaurants, CATCH STEAK, Lexington Brass), Andy Stenzler (Co-Founder Cosí, Kidville), and Anthony DiMarco (13-time IRONMAN, former Managing Director, Google).
Who would have thought that we would have to get through a pandemic in order to appreciate the small things we have, such as the ability to simply pack our bags and hit the road?
For two years, there’s been nothing left for us travel junkies to do but sit at home and try to find new destinations that we will conquer once we defeat what appears to be the biggest villain of the 21st century. But once that happens, hold your bags tight because we will be up for some of the most interesting travel experiences. Take a look at some ideas for your post-COVID traveling plans:
A Gay Cruise
One of the best options to have in mind when all of this passes is a good, nice and long (pun intended) gay cruise. Or cruise in general, for that matter. Bear in mind, social distancing will still be a thing in the post-COVID world. But COVID-19 likely doesn’t mean that cruises will cease to exist. On the contrary, though cruise ships will probably keep the number of passengers smaller than before, it is believed that they will become an even bigger hit in the following period, especially because they are all going to go a lot more environmentally-friendly. On the bright side, is there any better way of celebrating the end of the pandemic than by cruising around some magnificent seas, stopping by at great cities and having romantic dinner nights at nice restaurants?
A getaway in nature
On the other hand, there is always the option of stepping away from the hustle and bustle of large cities, and spending some time in a place that’s not only healthy, but also beautiful. Some of the destinations that plenty of people will look for are the ones that can cater for both peace of mind and amazing things to see or do. One such destination is New Zealand, one of the greenest countries on Earth right now. Not only will you be visiting the magnificent country that gave us the beautiful Shire from Lord of the Rings; this is also a destination that’s excellent for everyone who prefers relaxing to partying. If you’re up for some partying, you will be able to hit Auckland, while if you’re for something calmer, there’s plenty of amazing places that you can see and visit.
Dancing Around at Pride
Pride parades are also events that you want to have in mind for the post-COVID world. Such events have always been quite important, but it seems that they are now more important than ever. The virus has canceled more than 75 Pride parades all around the world, which is one of the reasons why we must support the ones that will see the light of day once the pandemic stops. Truth be told, the upcoming Prides will perhaps be the best Prides ever organized. Give the gays a couple of weeks of quarantine, then let them outside and see what kind of party they are able to throw!
A road trip
If you’re, as well, waiting for the day to wake up and say “long gone are the days when we were not allowed to go wherever we wanted?”, and if staying at one place gave you a lot to think about, then your first post-COVID travel experience should definitely be a nice road trip. You can practically choose which country you want to tour, and you can either take your own car (you have probably missed it so much), or rent one at your destination. Australia is an amazing country for this, though, as it offers the possibility of seeing the Great Ocean Road, which is an amazing thing to see and experience. On the other hand, if you do not want or cannot leave your country, you can also choose to go on a domestic road trip – there are amazing things to see in your vicinity as well.
Holiday for a single guy
If you’re single, or you’re traveling someplace with another single friend, then you should definitely organize a nice vacation for yourself or for you and your single friend, and hit one of the best European cities. Europe has been greatly affected by the virus, which means that now it’s time to pay it back and get it back on its feet by traveling there and seeing all the amazing things it offers. Any city you choose in Europe – you will not make a mistake. Apart from being able to see great landmarks, you will also have the chance to have a drink at great gay clubs and pubs, and join unforgettable gay parties. And if the gay scenery is not your forte, worry not, as Europe indeed has to offer so many different and magnificent things.