Monday, November 30, 2009

Did you know 103 minutes of independent filmmaking will get you a cushy job in the Strickland Administration?

Lisa Patt-McDaniel, Ted Strickland's "new" chief of the Department of Development, your hiring practices need work.

From a November 4th Ohio Department of Development press release:
Lisa Patt-McDaniel, Director of the Ohio Department of Development, today announced the appointment of Jeremy Henthorn as the Director of the Ohio Film Office. Henthorn is responsible for developing strategies to build the film production industry in Ohio, the implementation of the Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit program, and strengthening Ohio’s film industry crew base. The Ohio Film Office works in partnership with local film organizations and commissions to market the state to production companies.

“Jeremy’s experience working with local filmmakers in movies that include such highlights as blowing marijuana smoke in the face of raccoons and what's been described as a 14-minute short focusing on a 'disturbing performance' between two lovers are exactly what we've been looking for here in Ted Strickland's administration as we work to grow production and cultivate talent around the state,” said Patt-McDaniel.

Ok, I fudged the Patt-McDaniel quote, but that doesn't mean the substance is inaccurate.

Henthorn, the new man in charge of the Ohio Film Office and implementing a tax credit program, is most well known for two small independent films entitled 'Bunny's Farewell' and 'Johnny Appleweed'.

What's Johnny Applweed about you ask? Well, a simple googling will help answer that.
Inspired by the ghost of Johnny Appleseed, a young man undertakes a mission to populate the countryside with seeds… marijuana seeds that is.

Johnny Wagner is a smoked-out pottery student waiting to get off probation. While evading a surprise drug test, Wagner crashes his bike and is knocked unconscious. During his blackout, the legendary Johnny Appleseed appears and urges Wagner to follow in his footsteps by planting seeds. Wagner recruits two long time friends to help him in his quest - a sensitive pyromaniac poet and her brother, a self-serving filmmaker. The three set out into the woods and countryside to plant the seed, marijuana seed that is… And so becomes Johnny Appleweed.
Um. What?

Here's the trailer, but it won't make any more sense to you.

Besides these 103 minutes of film about pot and lesbians, as well as his time as a film grad student at USC, it's unclear what makes Henthorn qualified to run a state office responsible for attracting motion picture companies to Ohio as well as the implementation of a tax credit program.

Now, as for the films themselves, while they don't exactly seem to be something I'm going to be putting in my netflix queue anytime soon, this isn't a judgement on the films themselves. Henthorn has the right to make whatever movie he wants about whatever interests him. In fact, props to him for having the guts to give the extremely difficult world of filmmaking a shot.

My issue is more with Patt-McDaniel and Ted Strickland. While I understand no one wants to go down with the ship, as it were, but when your press office was writing the media release, didn't you find it odd that you had to brag about a scholarship Henthorn received to grad school as evidence of his qualifications?

I find it hard to believe that among the hundreds of thousands of unemployed Ohioans that there was no one with more experience or know-how to handle an office of such responsibility.

Wasn't Johnny Appleweed available?

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