May 11, 2005

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Up and down again
Local filmmaker takes a look at the mid-life crisis
By Richie Victorino  rvictorino@hippopress.com

In the locally made Up and Down Again, the main character, Jim Maloney, finds himself lost in his life; he’s suffering a mid-life crisis.

At first glance it might seem that Maloney’s life parallels that of 24-year-old filmmaker Jeremy Cleek, who lives in Nashua.

Cleek’s full-time job is installing video equipment for public access stations and municipalities – not his idea of the perfect job. Maloney has a job he cares little for; the problem is, Maloney’s not sure what it is he actually wants.

While ideally Cleek would love to be a filmmaker full-time, he isn’t as unhappy with his current situation as his main character is.

Up and Down Again is the first full-length feature film by Cleek, who went to Vancouver Film School in Canada.

Up and Down Again was intended to be a short film but over time Cleek added more ideas to the plot. Eventually the original purpose of the movie was lost: “Now it’s a movie about guys being guys rather than this guy battling his internal feelings and overcoming obstacles,” Cleek said.

The movie focuses on Maloney but includes his down-on-his-luck brother Gabriel, who lives with Maloney in Boston. One weekend, Maloney decides he needs a break from the city life, and drives north to New Hampshire (where he is from) and runs into an old friend, Mark. On his journey, Maloney discovers how disconnected he’s become from his brother. At the same time, Mark comes to grips with his life; he lives alone, in New Hampshire woods (filmed in Amherst) in the house of his dead parents.

Where to see the movie
Well, that’s a tough one. Cleek doesn’t have any screenings scheduled yet but is interested in setting up a premiere date locally. People who want to learn more about the film, including when and where it will be showed next can go to www.upanddownagain.com.

Be a filmmaker
One of the first questions a wannabe filmmaker asks himself is “Is film school worth it?”

Yes, says Cleek, who bases his answer on his experience in Vancouver. He chose Vancouver because he wanted to travel away for while, but also because of the cost of living in Canada: housing is cheaper, as is tuition.

“My program was hands-on and intense. They actually teach you how to make a film,” Cleek said. “They go a little bit into the theory but … by the third day we were shooting mini-documentaries.”

New Hampshire loves its filmmakers
When making a film in a city like Boston, a filmmaker must pay fees and permits. But that’s not the case in New Hampshire, Cleek said.

“New Hampshire’s big incentive and claim to fame to filmmaking is it doesn’t require any permits or fees,” Cleek said. “Except if it’s in some kind of public or national park. Then you have to notify [the state].”

Cleek’s wife, Amber Ward, does all the camera work in the movie and Jeremy’s brother, Ben, wrote the music along with collaborator Sean Healey.


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