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FilmmakersFilmmakers 2024

The Filmmaker Four: Jason A White

By April 26, 2024No Comments

“Help Is… on the Way?” is Jason A. White’s sophomore directing effort. Previously, he wrote and directed “The Hit,” a short film which garnered 11 awards including Best Director awards from Idyllwild International Festival of Cinema (2021), the Show Low Film Festival (2021), and Best Comedy Short Film Director from the Jane Austen International Film Festival (2021). Currently, he is working on “Breaking Bear” an animated series created by Julien Nitzberg for TUBI. Jason co-wrote the indie feature “Silver Case” (which featured Eric Roberts). He has worked on sitcoms such as “Madigan Men,” “Twins,” and “Emily’s Reasons Why Not,” written web-content for ABC Family, punch-up comedy and wraparounds for the Discovery Channel’s The Christopher Lowell Show, advertising/copywriting campaigns for various film studios and television networks (including Sony Pictures, Universal Studios, and ABC Television). Additionally, he was a features writer for the Austin American-Statesman, the New York City columnist for Rochester’s Scene Magazine, and a contributor to the now-defunct Zed and Flatiron News. Jason was also the film programmer for the Austin Film Festival (1997-98); he worked at HBO Documentary Programming under Sheila Nevins and LeFrak Productions in New York. He’s a champion bowler, a pretty good swimmer, and rices his own cauliflower, because the unexamined life is not worth living.

What it the title of your film in BIFF 2024?
Help Is… on the Way?

What was your first experience with film and how did it influence your first project?
My parents took me to see a Marx Brothers movie at the Old Post Office Cinema (it no longer exists) in East Hampton, N.Y. The anarchy going on up on the screen influenced me, for better or worse, to question authority, poke fun at institutions, and, in general, to be a bit of a smart aleck. I’m not sure that was beneficial for my schooling, but it certainly helped my approach to life and to my first short film, “The Hit” which was a slapstick, dark, romantic comedy. With whatever project I’m working on, I try to take a tried and true trope and see if I can lovingly tear it apart and turn it upside down. Earnestness in films can be… a bit cloying. But comedy can take you on a bit of a journey that may ultimately lead to either an intellectually or, even, emotionally satisfying experience. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it…

Who is (are) your favorite filmmakers?
For the sake of brevity, I will list the filmmakers whose films I go back to often or have a had a profound experience watching: Hitchcock, Woody Allen, Roman Polanski (again, I’m basing it on the films, not their personal lives), Elaine May (sad she only directed four), Claire Denis, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Werner Herzog, Anthony Mann, Preston Sturges, Ernst Lubitsch, Catherine Breillat, Chantal Ackerman, Kurosawa, Fellini, Jacques Tati, Douglas Sirk, Max Ophuls, Howard Hawks, Orson Welles, David Fincher, Michel Gondry, Spike Jonze, Yorgos Lanthimos, Robert Altman.

Each of these filmmakers has surprised and affected me profoundly with their work. There are plenty more filmmakers that I admire. These are the ones off the top of my head.

What are you working on that no one knows about?
Myself. I think no one knows about it because it hasn’t quite manifested.

Unless you mean a film or television project… that’s a different story. I try not to discuss that until I have a script in hand to give to a few trusted friends for notes.

Who would play you in a movie? What’s your go to movie snack? What’s the film title that best describes your life?
Realistically? I think either Liev Schreiber (though his face isn’t long enough) or Adam Driver… but both of them would have to have their shins removed, they’re too tall.
Actually, I saw my doppelgänger in a Denys Arcand film, “The Decline of the American Empire.” But I don’t know the actor’s name… and that was many years ago.

I’m a big fan of Whopper’s malted milk balls… I kinda wish there was a more healthful version of them… perhaps Whopper’s with broccoli. Now that’s a million dollar concession idea/disaster-in-the-making!

“The Long Goodbye”

[I did mention that the Marx Brothers have influenced my life…]