Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Short Film - The Man in the Glass Case

This short film (under 20 mins.) from Maxwell Addae is called "The Man In The Glass Case," and is based on Albert Camus’ absurdist masterpiece, The Stranger (L’Etranger). The film won the Best US Short award at the 2010 Rome International Film Festival, and was the People’s Choice Award winner at the 2010 Arizona Black Film Festival.

The writer/director credits Camus' The Stranger, but the final conversation between James and Rob sounds like something out Dostoyevsky - a definite absurdity to the conversation given the context. James is an enigmatic character - worthy of some thought and consideration.

The original source of this material (bio, interviews, etc) is Shadow and Act.

The Man In The Glass Case

Maxwell Addae

Director's Statement:

Albert Camus' The Stranger was the inspiration behind "The Man in the Glass Case." I have an affinity for characters whose minds operate on a plane just this side of normal. What fascinates me about James is how complex his character really is. From one angle, James is a sociopath, a creepy killer who should be locked up forever, but from another angle, James sees the world as it truly is: void of any value aside from what we as humans have assigned to it. Why should the death of a person be any more significant than grabbing lunch with friends? They are both, simply actions. While I personally do not hold such an extreme view of the world, I do feel it is worth investigating as a method to reevaluate ideas such as normal, classic, natural, truth, etc. I feel that James sees a side of the world that we fear considering for a variety of reasons, but maybe on his side, our side can be observed a little clearer.
                                                                            - Maxwell Addae
Credited cast:
Akume Akume ...
Co-Worker - Victor
Kerri Duncan Kerri Duncan ...
Christopher Guetig Christopher Guetig ...
Cicero Salmon III Cicero Salmon III ...
Dru Lockwood Dru Lockwood ...
Jai Maddox Jai Maddox ...

[The Conversation] Maxwell Addae

Posted by Margo

Maxwell Addae is a young writer/director based in Los Angeles, CA who is finalizing his premiere short film “The Man in the Glass Case” for festival release. From acquiring his BFA in Film and through his personal projects, a wealth of information about budgeting time and money was learned. He takes that knowledge to each new project. His eye for subtle details and the study of human behavior has lent itself to this young man’s writing and the ability to bring his characters to life in an intriguing way. Also in the works, Maxwell is in development with his first feature film, a psychological character-driven drama titled “Mean World Theory”. We talked to Maxwell about his interests and his career.

TBBO: What movie influenced you most?

- City of God (Cidade de Deus) by Fernando Meirellesis is a film that contains a range of characters, humbling story (executed perfectly as a visual novel), naturalistic performances and the ability to find breathless beauty in the slums. While the subject matter was familiar, it overcame the limits generally imposed by the genre. I was transported to a world, knew the characters intimately, and they stayed with me long after the movie was over. As a filmmaker, this movie influenced my preconceived notion about what was required to tell a story with cinematic and artistic integrity. Here’s a film made with no celebrities, no Hollywood writers or directors, and no special effects and yet still managed to exhibit the power of film. It is a movie that grabbed me by the throat and refused to let go. This is a very important film to see.

TBBO: Who would play you in a biographical role?

- As of right now, my story could probably be told in a 3 minute internet video. So, taking into account what I plan to accomplish in my life and career, I’d tap the underestimated Mr. Nick Cannon. The reason he’d be a great choice is because I’m at a very early stage in my career and I feel that I have a lot of potential as a filmmaker/artist that only time will be able to accurately exhibit; I feel the same about Mr. Cannon’s dramatic acting career. Therefore, our predicted paths would equate to an actor and story worth merging.

TBBO: What movie would you love to star in?

- Toussaint L’ouverture, the Haitian revolutionary. His story of overcoming oppressors to free a society is a perfect example of triumph, perseverance, and the overthrowing of oppressive powers. He was able to accomplish so much with his life that it’s a great example of how one person can make a huge difference in the world. I find it hard to believe that this story has yet to be told on the epic scale which it deserves. I’m aware that Danny Glover has been attempting to get this heroic tale to the big screen, in the face of what seems like a strategic effort to block the film, but I look forward to one day seeing this movie made… even if I’m not in it.

TBBO: What is the worst movie you ever saw?

- Irreversible, a French film by Gaspar Noé pushed me to the limits on what I could tolerate. I’m a person who appreciates films with dark tones and subject matter, like Requiem for a Dream and Three Extremes. However, in this film in which I’m basically referring to two graphic scenes, one specifically being a nine minute rape scene, challenged my level of acceptance. But the combination of violent, realistic-imagery plus a well executed cinematic film and performances left me conflicted, shook, and drained…too drained!

TBBO: Favorite piece of modern technology?

- The internet, primarily because the way it has allowed various forms of media and communication to converge in ways never before available. Now, I watch TV whenever I want to online, I communicate in real time to long lost friends and family, and there’s practically no subject that I can’t learn about in a thorough summary, love that Wikipedia. It has helped and continues to revolutionize the world.


INTERVIEW: Maxwell Addae

Written by Vy Pham

Local filmmaker Maxwell Addae has always had a love for creating stories and an equal love for movies. He talks to RAW about his new film and his work. Be sure to RSVP to see a special screening of "The Man in the Glass Case" at the next RAW showcase at Cinespace in Hollywood on Thursday, August 5th!

Tell us about yourself. I’m from a modest-sized city between Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas called Arlington. Creating stories has always been a skill that I would marvel at. From a coup led by GI Joe action figures over an evil robotic island, to the secret world of invisible gargoyles that protected me in my third grade class, I’ve always been interested in characters, fiction, and journeys. So, deciding to become a writer/director was an eventual no-brainer that I revel in. Watching some of the masters at their craft is great motivation. I hope to be able to challenge, confuse, entertain, and inspire for quite a long time.

How did you first get started in film? After an unfulfilled attempt at pursuing a biology major, I kicked my parents out of my room (and my head) and vowed to follow my passion. After months of meditation, I realized that I had always told stories as a young man. The ability to create entire lives from your mind and to have those characters and stories internalized by people forever was always something that fascinated me. Whether it was by toys, invisible friends, my younger brother, or reluctant neighborhood kids, I realized that my affinity to create stories and my love of movies lead me to this beautiful, frustrating, visceral, fickle, career as a filmmaker.

Tell us about "The Man in the Glass Case.” My short is about a very diligent warehouse employee named James who has a unique perspective about life. James sees most things in life as absurd, or pointless and he really operates on a essential needs basis. Food, sleep, companionship, work, etc. He does this so naturally and honestly that when he commits a violent act against a co-worker, he truly has no concept of its significance. This causes trouble when he is confronted and challenged about his morality by his employer. Albert Camus’ beautifully told story The Stranger was the inspiration behind my film and helped set the film’s tone.

Any other films you've produced? Yes, but I’ve tucked those away in a very secluded and dark place never to be seen by human eyes as they were done while I was still in school, therefore the technical issues were not only obvious, but a character all its own.

From where do you draw inspiration for your work? A little bit of everywhere, but lately, from different types of people. Noticing the way they talk, walk, dress, their background, ideas, their relationships and contradictions.

Do you engage in, or draw inspiration from, any other forms of art? Photography has always been a great way to study composition, lighting and learning about the ability to tell an entire story in one shot. I think the freedom that literature allows leaves me in awe. And music’s influence over the entire vibe of anything is powerful.

What does a typical film-making day look like for you? A complete and thorough meltdown, then a rebuilding of my entire being from the ground up (privately). After that, I go over shots with my cinematographer, go over the upcoming scenes with the actors and start shooting. I like doing a few days of rehearsing to flesh out ideas, so on the day of shooting I leave the performance up to the actors and I try to allow them the freedom to freely go where the scene takes them.

When you are not filming, how do you like to spend your time? Usually staring at walls, but I’ve tried to incorporate more film viewing, collaborating with other artists and discovering Los Angeles’ many hidden gems.

All time favorite film? My all time favorite film has changed every few years, but currently I have to say City of God. The story, the characters, the politics, the energy, everything about this film reminded me about the power that film viewing experience can give. What added to the enjoyment was the lack of special effects and Hollywood actors. Here was a great film because it was a great film, every aspect of what makes a movie was first class.

Are there any filmmakers, past or present, who strongly inform and influence your work? Alfonso Cuaron, Darren Aronofsky, Paul Thomas Anderson, Spike Lee, Quentin Tarantino, F. Gary Gray, Stanley Kubrick, Christopher Nolan, Martin Scorsese, Steven Soderbergh, Zack Snyder, Woody Allen, M. Night Shyamalan, Park Chan Wook, Takashi Miike, just to name a few.

Are there any specific reoccurring themes or subjects that you explore and deal with most in your work? I’ve really been into the idea of mental illness or mental instability as an opportunity to discover new perspectives about life. From A Clockwork Orange to The Dark Knight’s the joker, I like views that may be considered “off” as a great base to redefine our world and how we perceive each other. I think it’s a form of rebellion against practically everything and story-wise, that rebellion can be explored from different angles.

Why showcase with RAW? RAW is the perfect venue to introduce my film to a diverse audience. At festivals, everyone attending is interested in the film medium, but at a RAW event, attendees know that they will be experiencing an array of different art forms. That audience may have a wider knowledge of art mediums to pull from when creating their opinion about my film, creating a more perceptive audience and one that I am excited to share my film with.

Any current rising stars within the genre that you would recommend we look out for? A young student filmmaker from Little Rock, Arkansas named Julian Andrew Walker.

To learn more about filmmaker Maxwell Addae, visit:

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