|East Coast Premiere|
|Director: Maxwell McCabe-Lokos|
Canada/Germany/United States, 2017, 10min
Format: Digital (screening) - 16mm (shooting)
Festival Year: 2019
Category: Short Narrative
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2019 SHORT NARRATIVE FILMS »
|Cast: ||Maxwell McCabe-Lokos, Breeda Wool, August Diehl, Anna Cordell, Julian Richings|
|Crew: ||Producers: Maxwell McCabe-Lokos, Cabot McNenly, Sebastian Pardo, Riel Roch-Decter - Screenwriters: Rob Benvie, Maxwell McCabe-Lokos - Director of Photography: Director of Photography - Art Direction: Elliot McCabe-Lokos - Costume Design: Maxwell McCabe-Lokos - Editor: Duff Smith - Sound Design: Marcel Ramagnano - Music: Joseph Shabason
West Berlin, 1989. Manny Jumpcannon prowls his dingy apartment, phoning various degenerates from his past. He's hoping for some uncertain vindication but the ensuing conversations only reveal his own sordid history of deceit.
Maxwell McCabe-Lokos is an actor, writer and director from Toronto, Canada. After a heady decade of touring and recording in a garage-rock band he bailed on that scene to concentrate on an equally erratic career in film. An accomplished and award-nominated character actor, McCabe-Lokos has dozens of heavy roles to his name - including supporting parts in movies like Lars and the Real Girl, Land of the Dead, The Tracey Fragments, Antibirth as well as the upcoming Doug Liman film Chaos Walking. He's also had recurring roles on several TV shows including the new Sky Atlantic series Tin Star, starring Tim Roth and Christina Hendricks.
In 2012 he expanded his career into writing, and his first screenplay, The Husband (2013), which he also starred in, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival to critical acclaim and 4 sold-out screenings. Since then Maxwell has moved into directing. Alumnae of both TIFF Talent Lab and TIFF Studio, his first short film, Ape Sodom, premiered at TIFF '16. Ape Sodom screened at over 20 festivals worldwide (TIFF, Fantastic Fest, Maryland International Film Festival, Night Visions [Helsinki, Finland], Cucalorus, Filmfest Dresden...), garnering Jury Prizes from Slamdance and Calgary Underground Film Festival. Midnight Confession is his second short film in as many years and premiered at TIFF '17.
Midnight Confession, though set in West Berlin in 1989, just before the fall of the Berlin Wall, was inspired by what I see as quintessential 21st century traits. There are two specific behaviours I intended to satirize in the film. First, the attempt of apologizing one’s way out of culpability. We are all familiar with widely broadcast public apologies from politicians like Anthony Weiner and Toronto mayor Rob Ford, or from celebrities like Mel Gibson and Chris Brown. For these bad actors, saying the magic words “I’m sorry” almost successfully wiped their slates clean and repaired any damage done. But more often than not the admission of guilt is cravenly insincere, and in my opinion enables the very behaviour they are copping to.
Running in tandem with this phenomenon is another that I find equally strange, one I refer to as “the currency of victimhood.” As the individual aspires to be unique, they reach further into whatever is available to distinguish themselves — even if it may compromise their former status in society. The ends justify the means, pity is as valuable as praise, and the only goal is attention. Unsolicited tellall autobiographies and warts-and-all reality television that rewards celebrity bad behaviour has resulted in perhaps the strangest phenomenon of our era: the election of TV star and serial liar Donald Trump. Trump’s portrayal of himself as victim — treated unfairly, lied about in the media, always embattled — was integral to his popularity.
On a less spectacular level, the currency of victimhood is widely displayed over social media. Corporations like Facebook convinced people to willingly hand over any semblance of privacy with apparent ease. The result is a deluge of confessional personal information (very useful as market research) available for anyone bored enough to look.
Manny Jumpcannon is a self-obsessed, insufferable liar. He is unable to take his gaze off his own reflection, even as the world around him is about to change drastically. He is a charlatan who masquerades as both aristocrat and tramp — whichever serves his present purposes. He doesn’t care about telling the truth or adhering to any code of ethics, and doesn’t think about contrition or compensation. All Manny cares about is attention.
In style and aesthetics, the film is clearly influenced by R.W. Fassbinder, particularly Fox and his Friends. Scorsese’s After Hours, and The King of Comedy are also good references for the film.