Interview with Filmmaker Justin Patricolo (The J Thoubbs Documentary)

The “The J Thoubbs Documentary” was awarded BEST SOUND & MUSIC at the New York DOCUMENTARY Feedback film festival in April 2021.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I’ve known J Thoubbs most of my life, we were great friends growing up, and he’s always been an inspiration to behold. The guy is very eccentric and an unstoppable force of creativity and music, constantly cranking out tunes and full length albums all on his own. Not to mention, as a fellow guitarist, to say his shredding skills have always been impressive is an understatement.

I’ve always wanted to document him in some way or make a short film about him, but the timing never matched up. I was, however, fortunate enough to shoot and direct one of his music videos for his song. ‘J Thoubbs Finds the Missing Link’.

In the summer of 2020, all my prospects of making another narrative short film were put on hold with the outbreak of COVID-19. But rather than just abandon the idea of making any sort of short film in 2020, I reframed it as an opportunity to make something inexpensive and gritty, something fun and low stakes. I called up J Thoubbs and found out he was recording his latest album, and then our documentary was born.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?

It was one phone call with J Thoubbs, then the next week I was in his home studio for two days filming him. It took about a month to edit after realizing our concept for a 5-10min film had to be a bit longer to truly capture the full picture of J Thoubbs.

3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?


4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

The run time. We had initially planned for a 5-10min short film. Upon seeing the first 35min cut I knew it had to be longer, but still shorter than 30min (barely). I’m very happy with where it ended up at around 28min. J Thoubbs has a lot going on and there was a lot to cover, and the slightly elongated run time speaks well to the large breath of work, merch, and time J Thoubbs has.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

I was so happy to hear that people liked the film and liked J Thoubbs. To hear that people were inspired by him and even became J Thoubbs fans was very rewarding for both me and J Thoubbs.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

As I said, having known J Thoubbs for so long I’ve always sort of known I wanted to document him in some way. Being his friend and collaborator was inspiration enough to make this film.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

My father had me and my brother grow up with a VHS playing TV at the dinner table, so the line up of movies on tape definitely make up the majority of films I’ve seen the most. My dad is obsessed with gangster films, so I’d say ‘Goodfellas’ is probably the film I’ve seen the most in my life, mainly exhibited in a tiny TV screen while eating dinner with my family. I’ve been very inspired by Scorsese’s sense of pacing and I always like to employ his quick cut editing style in my work. You may see some of this inspiration for pacing in The J Thoubbs Documentary.

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

FilmFreeway is slick, easy, and rewarding. A great way to discover new festivals, keep track of your submissions, and develop a festival submission strategy for your film.

9. What is your favorite meal?

Oh boy. Hard to say, but my guilty pleasure is certainly Mexican food. I love a burrito with chicken, rice, beans, cheese, salsa, and sour cream.

10. What is next for you? A new film?

In addition to starting my own creative agency with my partner Laura Haas (@haasquiat on Instagram), I’m currently in pre-production for two projects. One is short documentary about an art restorer from Columbia, and the other is a narrative short film I’ve written about a young man a struggling with high anxiety and depression crashing on his sister’s couch after losing his job.

I can’t wait to get started.


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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