Happy New Year everyone! The photo below is what I looked like in the final few moments of 2010. Bemused, betrayed, bewildered?
The point of this blog and this list is that at the end of every year, I like to look back and recap my favorite events or happenings as a way of motivating myself and focusing on the positive. It would be easy to stand back and look at where I am in my career and get depressed, but that would be overlooking the great fun of the journey. I have plenty of time to become super successful and if I ever do, it will because of these great memories along the way. Feel free to check out previous lists- 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005.
All in all, 2010 will be defined by my girlfriend of four years breaking up with me in March. It was a shocker, but I immediately tried to embrace the forced transition and moved back to Echo Park in an effort to get out and make new friends. Which is exactly what I did. In a way, getting my heart destroyed was the best thing that could have happened because of all the people it brought me to. In big ways or small, I want to thank Adelaida Ortiz Chiqués, Daniella Mendoza, Adele Romanski, James Laxton, Cherie Saulter, Taylor Feltner, Becca Weber, Brandon Bales, Laura Taylor, Carolyn Gates, Chad Matheny, Dixie Perkinson, Hallie Parker, Kayt Fitzmorris, Jennifer Maas, Jon Hill, Mike Karnell, Lena Dunham, Megan Garber, Sean Stenz, Neil Schield, Sven Hörnich, Taya Kenny and Whitney Blank for brightening up my 2010.
And special thanks to Leah Ford and Stephanie Gonot for becoming my new family. Love those babes.
10. LA Film Festival
The New Year and Cold Weather both got accepted to the LA Film Fest this year so a large number of old NCSA friends blew into town. Aaron Katz stayed with me, we got to party on IFC’s dime, I met and became friends with cool filmmakers like Lena Dunham and Whit Stillman, Keegan DeWitt dragged me to El Prado every night and Brendan McFadden moved back to LA permanently.
Halloween landed on a Sunday this year so we partied every single night of the weekend. My borderline offensive Hipster Hitler costume was the first time I had actually gotten dressed up as anything in probably seven years and it was (mostly) a hit. We had a warm-up party at our house on Friday, which turned out to be pretty epic. Further parties in downtown and Silver Lake revealed just how creative people can get with their costumes (The Silver Lake happy foot/sad foot!). I get it now, everyone. Dressing up is super fun.
8. Bro Downs
Tara broke up with me on a Tuesday and Jeff Ruggles took me out for drinks and commiseration the following night. The following Wednesday, we went out again, joined by Sean McElwee, and a series of Bro Downs were born that helped me immensely in getting back into the swing of things, post-relationship. These guys are the best and we haven’t been able to hang every Wednesday like we originally planned, but they’ve been there when I needed them. Thanks for the laughs, bros!
7. This is Martin Bonner Pre-Production/Casting & Location Scout
Last year in October, I went to Reno by myself to location scout and get a sense of whether or not I could shoot my new feature there. The goal was to do so by April of this year and that obviously didn’t happen. Great strides have been made though, and they include enlisting the amazing Cherie Saulter as a producer, casting the three lead roles and partnering with IFP for fiscal sponsorship. The goal now is to shoot in April 2011 and to that end I was in Reno again in October, only this time Cherie and cinematographer Sean McElwee came along as well. We scouted, took some meetings, gambled (I won $80), watched vaguely pornographic Spanish TV, drove around and spent time with my extended family.
6. FC Iron Maiden
I’ve been playing soccer on Friday nights in Glendale for almost three years now, but always with a group of strangers that I only see for soccer. Dan Riesser and I had talked about starting our own team for a while and this year it finally happened. FC Iron Maiden was a rag-tag group of video makers and misfits, including a one game stint from Barry Jenkins wearing rolled up newspaper as shinguards, and we were comprehensively beaten almost every game. The two games we won were both against the league leaders at the time, so we accomplished our own little Mighty Ducks moments. Come on guys, let’s get the team back together!
5. Jordan’s Wedding
My brother got married in August and I flew into DC to be there. I got to see my entire family, including one aunt and uncle from Ireland whom I hadn’t seen since 2005. I got drunk with Jordan and his friends, winged my best man speech, danced like an idiot to Katy Perry, saw my brother cry for the first time, heard my other brother sing opera like a boss and welcomed a terrific girl into my family. It was a brief visit, and ultimately doomed me to spending Christmas alone in LA, but it was worth it.
I turned 28 this year and I threw a party. I haven’t thrown a party in a long time, the last few years usually involving just a couple of friends meeting up at the Shortstop. In 2006, Tara and Brendan conspired to throw me a surprise one in Brooklyn and that was great, but this was an entirely different beast. The months between my break up and my party involved me getting out a lot more than I ever did when I was in a relationship and the result was some blossoming friendships among a number of different circles of friends. Most of these circles converged for this party and it was epic. It was a perfect storm of timing that I don’t think would ever happen again if I threw a party but this time it did. Everyone knew someone else at the party but there were plenty of new friends to be made. People hooked up, people danced (in Jon Hill’s case, like a maniac whenever that Bed Intruder song came on) and I felt really blessed to have all their company.
3. World Cup
There’s nothing better than the World Cup. 2006 was a great time, watching games at my house with Sean, Keegan, Ricky, Smokey and everyone, and it was extra special since I was falling madly in love with Tara at the same time. The U.S. embarrassed themselves that year and Ireland didn’t even make it. Ireland missed out again this year, but the U.S. gave us more than enough to cheer about. I watched every one of their games at the Village Idiot on Melrose with Sean and Ruggles and assorted other interlopers. The Algeria game, already infamous, was the undisputed highlight. Coinciding with the LA Film Festival, Keegan and Katz were able to come and the tension was unbearable for 91 minutes. I thought they had blown it when Landon Donovan scored and the place went absolutely batshit. Check this video out to see for yourself.
2. Dresden/Film Brunch
Thanks exclusively to Stefan Pautze and Sven Hörnich, I was able to go to Germany this summer and screen LUKE AND BRIE ARE ON A FIRST DATE at an event called Die Lange Nacht der Filmemacher. So much about this trip was amazing. It was my first time traveling somewhere completely on my own and I enjoyed wandering the city in solitude. I met an amazing group of fellow filmmakers, artists and musicians from all over the world. I learned a valuable lesson about visual filmmaking. And I got to go back to Europe for the first time since 2005 and remind myself of my home.
Just like 2006, SXSW has to be number one. Being reunited with all of my best friends in the world, watching them launch successful films, meeting amazing new friends and collaborators, eating so much Mexican food, impulse buying an iPhone, watching great bands play, etc. Specific highlights include seeing Lankenau snub Jason Reitman, meeting Adele, James and Cherie, discussing Kindergarten Cop with David Green, a heated ping pong tournament with Jeff Deutchman and the one night when I was so drunk that the bartender came and took my drink away from me. I’ll be back to do it all again in March.
Thanks for reading. Let’s make some memories in 2011!