A blind film director.
If you are waiting for the punch line, there isn’t one. Joe Monks is no joke. He’s a man with a vision, and the determination to see it through.
Who among us has not been fascinated by the courage of a blind man crossing a busy street with little more than a flimsy stick as his guide? So, I could not wait to interview this man who not only has the courage to cross the street, but to overcome obstacles too great for many who are sighted.
A person who focuses on his ability – not his disability.
The movie, called ‘The Bunker’, is about the teenage daughter of a New York congressman who runs away just as her father’s re-election campaign is heating up. The politician, who wants to keep it quiet, hires some folks to find her. But, what they don’t realize is that she’s been kidnapped and is being held by some psycho in a bunker.
Don’t you want to see it? .
Now imagine that the film’s director never has
But he’s heard it and felt it and lived it and breathed it for the past 5 years.
Production on the film was delayed by challenges that would certainly have discouraged a lesser director: two hurricanes, emergency surgery for a cast member and a suicide.
But, having lost his vision as a young adult, Joe meets greater challenges every day. So, he pushed ahead and, with a distribution deal in hand, Monks can now see the finish line.
The ParmFarm ‘Give-A-Listen’ interview series typically benefits non-profits but Joe Monks is now raising funds to put the final cosmetic touches on the film and I wanted to support him in that effort.
Maybe horror is not your thing. It’s not mine. But this isn’t about the picture, it’s about the person.
(If you would like to support Joe’s film, ‘The Bunker’ has been posted as a ‘kickstarter’ project to which you can make a donation by clicking here.)
The Joe Monks Interview – ‘Give-A-Listen’ (12:42):
Joe Monks lost his sight in 2002 as the result of diabetic retinopathy. Having previously worked as a comic book editor, he was given the opportunity to write a screenplay and was searching for a director when it occurred to him, ‘Why not me? Why shouldn’t I be the one to tackle this?’ (:58)
‘Because you can’t see’ would have been the obvious answer but Joe saw it differently. And while some insisted ‘it can’t be done’ (1:51), his wife and those who knew him supported his vision.
But why horror? Joe says he grew up in the 80s ‘slasher era’ (4:54), and industry insiders would tell you that it’s largely inexpensive to produce (5:20) and, therefore, the most likely to be profitable on a low budget.
So just how does someone who is blind direct a film? The same way, Joe says, as other directors. ‘You’ve got to really trust your cast’ (7:53) and every director is essentially left up to the devices of the actors. (8:56)
After the hurricanes, the surgery and the suicide, Joe started to think ‘maybe my film is just haunted’. (10:06)
But, he’s now got a standing offer for distribution (10:40) so the only thing standing in the way of Joe seeing his dream to completion is the final funding.
I wanted to do my part — not because I like horror — but because I love a happy ending.
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