Interview with Filmmaker John Jenkins (4X4X48)

4X4X48 was the winner of BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY at the December 2021 SPORTS Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I had reconnected with an old friend who is at the center of the film and he was talking about some stuff that was beyond my comprehension. He’d asked me many times to come into the gym and take swing and what they were doing. I’d been going full time to the gym for only a month or two before they decided to take on this challenge. It was still beyond my willingness or commitment to take on but I did have an interest in what thie would mean for the other people in the community. How it would effect them, and quite honestly… who would even finish?

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

The whole thing was about a month. Picking up the camera and working through the 48 hours. Take a week or two off to recover. Then working through what I had captured. Figuring out structure and how this would come together. What the movements were. Then working through that audibly to create something that was immersive in story and soul, but also in the visual sense.

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

Why not?

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

Staying awake. Not getting tired. Even though I wasn’t running. My brain was.

I had to figure out where to be and when. My filmmaking partner is my wife. We have two kids who are 8 yrs old and 6yrs old.

Figuring out when I’d have a driver, and when I wouldn’t have a driver. When we could use two cameras and when only one.

Keeping the image in focus and exposed correctly, while also ensuring we’re capturing usable audio. Lastly, where was the action going to be happening and when? My brain was moving quite a bit the whole weekend.

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

I was incredibly pleased. The take away that people were leaving the film with was what I was hoping for.
Initially I was pretty unsure about the film. I thought it was interesting, and fun to watch but worried if it would resonate with people outside of the athletic community. Wondered if it would even be interesting to anyone outside of our small community on the west side of Los Angeles. The feedback was reassuring to know that it does in fact resonate with a larger community.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

I’ve been a filmmaker all my life. I’d use army men and my father’s Hi8 video camera when I was younger, and I always wanted to tell the stories of the interesting people I have met along the journey of my life.

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

Probably The Darjeeling Limited for a multitude of reasons. I love the exploration of father/son relationships and I love the telling of that through a specific journey. The same could be said for Beginners and 20th Century Women.

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

The audience feedback was so wonderful, especially in the age of the pandemic. I have missed dearly discussing my work with people. Hearing people’s reactions to my films, and having an honest reckoning with my work. I appreciated that so much.

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?

Worked great. Love it. Wish I could find more film festivals as personable and connected as yours.

10. What is your favorite meal?

A handmade cachio e pepe with the highest quality ingredients.

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

I work constantly on a YouTube series called “Process”. Which is an ever morphing and adjusting series of short films about the process of life.

I’m currently shooting a film about a high school soccer team and it’s pursuit of a second consecutive championship.
I play bass in a Hardcore punk band called Berthold City which will release it’s first full length EP in early 2022.
As well as a host of other creative pursuits which I have implemented credo to.
“Just show up… and see what happens.”


By matthewtoffolo

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

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