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Brad Mays compelling documentary Two Trentons gets its World Premiere at the New Jersey Film Festival on Sunday, September 15
By Al Nigrin
originally published: 09/11/2019
Here is the interview I did with Two Trentons Director Brad Mays:
Nigrin: Your hard-hitting yet affectionate documentary Two Trentons is portrait of urban decline and revival of New Jersey’s capitol city. Please tell us more about your film and why you decided to make it?
Mays: The film's genesis really rests with producer Joe Hulihan. He had seen a promotional short I had done for Mercer Street Friends, roughly five minutes long. That film was very well received, and since Joe sat of the board of MSF, he had seen it. So he approached me about the possibility of doing a feature film about Trenton. I had just finished doing a film about my home town, Princeton. So I told him I'd like to do it, if the funding could be procured. So it was entirely Joe's idea that the film be made.
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Nigrin: You got some amazing footage of the infamous 'Art-All-Night' shootout. Where did you get that?
Mays: I had much more of that footage in an earlier edit. I got it from several sources. But, in the main, I got it from Edward "NJ Weedman" Forchion.
Nigrin: How long did it take to make this film and how did you secure the funding for it?
Mays: The film was supposed to take a year of production. The final day of filming was supposed to be Art All Night 2018. Then came the shootout, and I called Joe saying "we're not finished yet." So, in the end, the film took roughly 2 1/2 years to complete, soup to nuts.
Nigrin: I loved the music in your film. Tell us more about the soundtrack and the composer.
Mays: Jon Negus, the film's composer, is brilliant. He did the original music for my film I Grew Up in Princeton. His sister, Nicky, is one of my dearest friends. So when it looked like Two Trentons was going to happen, I contacted Jon immediately. He's a fabulous musician and a great friend. I trust Jon absolutely. I had a few tracks I wanted to use, but we couldn't get licensing. So, at the last moment, Jon came up with a couple of tracks to cover for the loss. What a guy!
Nigrin: Are there any memorable stories while you made this film or any other info about your film you would like to relay to our readers?
Mays: Here's the thing: this film was humbling. I had the honor of interviewing dozens and dozens of incredible people, some of them dirt poor. But when a homeless person screws his courage to the sticking place and talks to my camera - sending out his message to the world, right? When a man shows that kind of courage, I have to respect that. I just have to. Which is not to say that all my interviewees were indigent; indeed, most were not. But that sort of courage, speaking truth to the world, that was just incredibly humbling to me. And that's what Joe wanted, really. If I managed to subordinate my ego to that, then I'm happy.
Here is a link to the EBTV Interview I did with Brad Mays as well:
Here is more info on this screening:
On Vinyl: Revival and Survival – Thom Leavy (South Amboy, New Jersey) Filmmaker Thom Leavy reflects on the unexpected revival of the vinyl record in a world that has all but forgotten the physical medium. 2019; 15 min. Q+A Session with Director Thom Leavy!
Ex Disposer – Daniel Ferrer (East Rutherford, New Jersey) Ex Disposer follows Andy, a destructively neurotic former drummer for a New Jersey hardcore band. Nostalgic for his days behind the kit, Andy attempts to reunite with his bandmates, but first, he must deal with the bad blood that was shed during his split from the group. 2019; 18 min.
Two Trentons– Brad Mays (Frenchtown, New Jersey) In this hard-hitting yet affectionate portrait of urban decline and revival, filmmaker Brad Mays documents life in the “two Trentons” of New Jersey’s capital city. Featuring compelling interviews with Trenton’s resilient citizens, an original score by Jon Negus, and shattering footage of the infamous 'Art-All-Night' shootout. 2019; 90 min. Q+A Session with Director Brad Mays!
Co-sponsored by the Rutgers University American Studies Department!
Sunday, September 15, 2019 at 7:00 PM in Voorhees Hall #105/Rutgers University, 71 Hamilton Street, New Brunswick, New Jersey