The Renaissance Will Be Televised

In two days I had to start shooting the movie – a low budget indie, yes, but a complicated one with lots of people involved – a train going down a mountain with no brakes, if you know what I mean. I still had no actor to play the leading role. In walks Kenneth Hughes. He reads for the part. I don’t even care if he can act (and yes he can), I want this guy. He’s just cool and original and I could just tell he was going to bring it. The love, I mean, of the art. The movie. The process.

The movie was Ocean Park (2002), a sort of underbelly of Hollywood desperation crime thriller moral nightmare tale. (Ocean Park is that district of Santa Monica that incubated the Lords of Dogtown.) Anyway, it was fitting, because Kenny is a creature of Hollywood, born and raised. Not the bullshit glam thing we consume as pop entertainment, but the real street level foggy labyrinth grungy town.

This column loves outsider filmmakers and their creations, and Hughes is an inspiring example. Yes, he is an actor, and that includes parts in movies ranging from The Island and 500 Days of Summer to Double Identity (Val Kilmer again!) and Rent. Rent, because he is also a dancer. And a choreographer. Oh, and he has his pilot’s license, his film school degree, and his equine science degree. Did I mention he is a lawyer? And if you need production insurance for your indie film (and who doesn’t) shop at Entertainment Insurance of Hollywood, where Kenny is a partner.

But that’s not all. Kenny writes, directs, and produces independent films (and when I say “independent” I mean it). Check out some of the projects he’s been involved in: The Bloody Indulgent (vampires/ strippers), Einstein’s God Model (physics/ death), and Bad Dog and Super Hero (absurdity/ tragedy). He’s also mixed up in a lot of cool shorts, including Donkey Punch, Mr. Freeway, and The Slap.

Filmmakers, not unlike farmers, need a jack-of-all-trades skill set and worldview. We need these crazy indie and DIY artists. The more Renaissance men (and women) we support in this world, the sooner we’re gonna get an actual Renaissance.

— david warfield

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