I've known Mr. Jason Christ for 18 years... longer, if you go by his version of the story instead of mine.
He played a supporting role in my film Ice From The Sun (1999), worked on the crew of Scrapbook (1999), and was a supporting actor and an executive producer for Deadwood Park (2007). He toiled on many other projects with me, quickly becoming one of my most trusted collaborators.
Over two decades ago, Jason spent a significant amount of time and effort endeavoring to meet me after hearing about my early student filmmaking adventures. He was intensely interested in working on films - a passion that led him, in 1991, to a college campus screening of a student feature film I'd made fresh out of high school.
The college had panicked over the violence in my movie, and announced that no one under 17 would be admitted to the screening... a humorous event then... and even more humorous now, when I look back at the painfully amateur special effects that sparked the college staff to recoil in horror. As a result of this "No One Under 17" announcement, a gigantic crowd of people showed up, and the screening sold out.
Jason Christ, who did not yet have a driver's license, walked for an hour in the rain to see my over-hyped student film. Security guards posted at the entrances to the auditorium refused to admit anyone who couldn't prove they were 17 or older. A photo I.D. was required. The security guards turned Jason away because he was not old enough to enter. Rain-drenched and shivering, the determined young lad tried to sneak into the screening. The effort failed. Jason was not permitted to see the movie.
I was told that after the screening, Jason spotted me in the crowd and tried to approach me, but I slipped away before that first meeting could take place. I never saw the guy - so I only have his word that he was at this screening.
I imagine he looked beyond miserable walking home, still soaked, having failed completely in accomplishing his agenda.
Well, he had lost the battle, but not the war.
A few years later, my first movie Savage Harvest (1995) premiered for cast, crew, and guests. Jason Christ managed to get on the guest list through one of the cast members. This time, Jason claims he actually gained entrance to the screening, and finally met me. He says he shook my hand, told me he enjoyed Savage Harvest, and expressed an interest in working with me someday.
I have no memory of any of this.
A year later, my friendship and creative partnership with the persistent Jason Christ finally started to take root. He showed up to audition for my next film Ice From The Sun (1999). I cast him in a supporting role. From that moment on, Jason has always been involved in my filmmaking escapades, in some minor or major way.
A few years after we made Ice From The Sun, Jason brought to me a proposal for a sequel to Savage Harvest. I had no interest in a Part Two... but Jason's enthusiasm was contagious. Jason pitched the story and asked if I would be comfortable with his writing the screenplay and directing the movie. Even after becoming intrigued by the story Jason pitched, I still had no desire to direct it, so it was all his. However, my involvement would be far greater than providing the occasional stamp of approval and offering guidance from a distance. Jason wanted me to play one of the leading roles in Savage Harvest 2: October Blood (2007). This collaboration was a great experience for me, and Jason did an excellent job at the helm of this sequel to my first film.
I'm thankful for all this. Given the difficulty Jason had in connecting with me and getting involved in my film work, Savage Harvest 2: October Blood could easily have never happened.
Much has transpired since the production of our Savage Harvest sequel. Jason was a major force in getting the behemoth Deadwood Park made. We collaborated on one unproduced screenplay called Seizure. We collaborated on another, Ratline (2011), which I directed and Jason starred in. Smaller side projects filled in the gaps, and through all of it, Jason continued to earn my respect and gratitude.
All of this adds significant weight to how I spent my evening this past Sunday night. A signed and numbered Limited Edition two-movie VHS release of Savage Harvest and Savage Harvest 2: October Blood recently became available for pre-order from Vultra Video. This collector's item comes signed by me and Jason Christ, the directors of the two films contained therein... which is why I spent Sunday evening with Jason, scribbling our names across a big stack of VHS inserts.
We've both signed VHS tapes, posters, and countless DVDs... but the fact that both of our names were being inked onto the Savage Harvest 1 and 2 box art made me reminisce about the long and fascinating journey I've shared with Jason... creating Ratline together... the arduous task of bringing Deadwood Park across the finish line... how Jason's superior sequel made Savage Harvest a more appealing movie to me... our exhausting but exhilarating months shooting Ice From The Sun...
And I reflected upon the fact that Jason had put such an impressive amount of time and effort into meeting me in the first place... Or so he claims.
Thanks for reading.
- Eric Stanze