'Marion Knapp Doesn't Smile' is our 'white whale'. Written and always intended as a feature length, we decided in the end to produce this short "intro version" in the meantime. I hold onto this as an unfinished work, in the hopes that one day I'll be able to come back to it and tell the story as fully imagined. In many ways, the potency of the story has held up over time. If we were to take a crack at the full version today, I think there would be a lot of focus on the story of the guy whose principles got in the way of his own career trajectory, now in a moment where those principles are once again confronted, but with much greater personal stakes, and coming from a world that this embroiled in the dilemma of balancing free speech against political correctness and social upheaval, all relevant, and much carried on the lines of new technologies. It is a simple vessel for these questions, perhaps age-old, but I still think the idea of this man, part of a bygone era, grappling to conclude his time with a win, while grappling with the question of "win how?", can still be a compelling and comedic character story, and also true to a (recurring) moment in our time. And so this story ends unresolved, because it was never meant to resolve where it ends, and, perhaps unconsciously, I don't think we ever wanted to see a version that resolved sooner than originally intended. It's funny to think, the cast was already well-established when we shot this short, and now some have them have only gone on to greater things. Perhaps that might help in the long run toward finding an opportunity to get it produced! Either way, Marion Knapp Doesn't Smile is always waiting, and I am always preparing, hopefully growing, until the opportunity comes.
Thomas Ryan, Ron Barba,
Santino Fontana, William Nadylam,
Marion Knapp, a comedian hanging on between the end of his career and the end of his life, finds a chance at redemption when he's offered a fortune to speak at the funeral of a mysterious benefactor.
Writer: Jared McNeill
Director: Jared McNeill, Tony Casorio
Camera Operator 1
Camera Operator 2
Sound Design/Mixing/Original Music
Director of Photography