Today marks the 10-year anniversary of the World Premiere of PANDORA’S PARADOX at the 2004 Fantasia International Film Festival.
What is PANDORA’S PARADOX, you ask? Why, it’s the 2nd film I directed after my award-winning debut THE MANIPULATOR AND THE SUBSERVIENT.
For those only familiar with EROTICIDE or AMY’S IN THE ATTIC, this may come as a surprise to you, but “back in the day,” I was very much enamored with surrealism and was very influenced by David Lynch, almost to the point of imitation, rather than emulation.
But even Lynch himself couldn’t conceive of a film in which an old woman gives birth to a giant toe that upon being fed milk, hatches like an egg and pops out a young boy who needless to say, “has issues.” One night this young boy witnesses his parents getting it on like only they can, via a homemade Frankensteinesque machine with a pair of electrodes attached to the woman’s breasts while the man sends volts of electricity through them at regular intervals. This obviously leaves an impression on the young boy, but rather than seek professional help or perhaps even ask his parents what on earth they were doing, he decides to return home to his mother’s womb. But before he can do so, he has to tie up a few loose ends.
Starring Joesph Ranger, John M. Thomas, Danielle Berthiaume, Mark Evin, Glen Alexander (of RONNY AND CINDY infamy), Paul Rogic, Shelley Stevens and Elias C. Varoutsos, PANDORA’S PARADOX was a shot-on-16mm, 24-minute mindfuck of a film that managed to snag a pair of awards at the Moonrock Student Film and Video Festival for BEST ACTOR (John M. Thomas) and BEST ACTRESS (Danielle Berthiaume) and screened at Burning Man and even in New York City!
In the case of NYC, I’ll never forget when we were trying to cross the border. The agent asked us the reason for our visit, and we handed him a flyer explaining that we had a film premiering in the Big Apple. He let us go but then seconds later, we heard sirens blaring and a cop car coming after us. We joked that he must have read the flyer and the plot description and decided there’s no way in hell he’s letting us into the States. Fortunately, the car ended up chasing someone else and not us.
I’ve come a long way since the days of PANDORA’S PARADOX, but I think it’s important to celebrate your roots rather than bury them or pretend they don’t even exist like some artists are wont to do. This was a film that opened a lot of doors for me, including landing me my first commercial gig for Nokia of all companies and for that I will always look back on this film with sincere fondness and gratitude for the success that came my way in its wake.
So if you ever wanted to know what an old woman giving birth to a giant toe looked (and sounded) like, take a moment and check out the opening scene of my 2004 film PANDORA’S PARADOX.