Mike Cuenca: The Man Behind Jerry Powell's Delusions of Grandeur
As unfortunate as it is – we can safely say that the generation of film that we are witnessing is often a mess of a hyperbole.
Everything promises that we’ll boldly go where we’ve never gone before – yet, when we watch, as we watch we realize – oh, yeah… We have been there already; they’re just trying to take us there in a different way. Oh my, oh my, oh my… What an awful attempt they’ve made trying to take us somewhere we’ve already been in an unimaginative way.
It can be said that the mainstream film studios are suffering from the creative equivalent to Asperger’s syndrome.
The discussion on the creative ills of Hollywood will have to wait for another time – for now, we’ll discuss one who can be looked upon as one of its creative saviors.
Meet Mike Cuenca – a self-taught underground filmmaker who still believes in fully developed characterizations in film.
Mike has brought us one of the best and quite possibly one of the most complex characters seen in a comedy in some time.
In his second film, Non Compos Mentis: or Jerry Powell and the Delusions of Grandeur – to say that Jerry Powell (played by Joey Halter) is eclectic would be an understatement.
Jerry Powell is a low-level thief with memory distrust syndrome. On the edges of sanity, Powell finds himself chased by a gang of criminals as he attempts to deliver a mysterious package for a known money-launderer.
Mike talks about the film’s genesis and the character of Jerry.
“Joey would always get into this persona – the Jerry persona. We thought it would be cool if we made a sketch comedy film around that persona. I started writing a script around it.” Mike said.
Non Compos Mentis was shot in three months in glorious black and white and with a budget of $500 – yes, that’s right. You read that correctly, $500.
The film’s visual style is unique and stands alone in today’s film landscape – what was the inspiration?Continued on the next page