My name is Don Alex. I am a 53 year old man, with a very charismatic and lovable 13 year old Black Lab named Mitzi. I am best known as the creator of a website called “Subterranean Cinema” that I first published in early 2001, which gained a solid worldwide reputation for making several rare screenplays available to the general public for the very first time, including two different drafts of Jerry Lewis’ “The Day the Clown Cried”, John Belushi’s “Noble Rot”, Andy Kaufman’s “The Tony Clifton Story”, and Rospo Pallenberg’s unproduced adaption of Stephen King’s “The Stand”. I also created a tribute documentary called “The Passion of Andy Kaufman” which has a substantial cult following among his fans on the internet, and several “short films” based upon the music of Richard Patrick (Filter, Army of Anyone, Nine Inch Nails), which he artistically admired to such an extent that I am now given “VIP” status at Filter concerts that I attend.
Mitzi was my mom’s last dog. In my final phone conversation with her just before her death in 2011, she asked me to keep Mitzi with me no matter what, that she would “open doors” for me. I promised her that I would, and I have gone through several very difficult years since then, through times that would have been much easier if I had put Mitzi up for adoption, but I have kept my word, and Mitzi has indeed “opened doors” and enriched my life with her presence in it. Mom was 100% correct and prescient. The two of us now have a bond as close as any parent/child on the planet, and I wouldnt give her up for anything. I have since survived through three heart attacks (due to my former love of fried foods), and I am now carrying around six stents in me because of them. Two years ago, I was additionally diagnosed with degenerative arthritis in my knees, and told by a doctor that it will get progressively worse over time, until at some point when I will have great difficulty in walking very far, and I might even end up in a wheelchair eventually. I am starting to reach the early stages of that diagnosis now, and I have a very noticeable limp on especially painful days. Ironically, early last year, Mitzi was diagnosed with early hip displacia that will also get worse over time, and the signs of that are becoming increasingly visible in her own walk. We make quite a sympathetic pair as we limp our way together through our daily life, and we gain many very devoted and loyal friends and fans wherever we travel. Until they read this, most of them have no idea that there is much more to our journey than they are aware of.
Early last year, while enduring the despair of an especially painful bout of homelessness, and realizing that our mutual traveling days are nearing an end, due to our shared mobility issues, and because it has been a passionate lifelong dream of mine to create a real documentary film that will have a positive influence on the lives of others, an idea occurred to me: to embark on a final epic “twilight” journey that I will film, with us traveling down the western coastal highways in a van, from the Canadian border (filmed at Dawn) to the Mexican border (filmed at Dusk), and ending with us peering over into Mexico at “magic hour”. Enroute, I will document the stories of the various people that we will meet, the incredible images that we will see, and the events that we will witness. I will visit the town of my birth (Napa, CA) and trace my childhood years there, where the first seeds of my movie obsession were planted in my mind by my late older brother, Milton, who took me to see films that were far in advance of my years, including “Deliverance” on it’s opening night in 1972. I will even attempt to locate Francis Coppola at his winery near Calistoga, where I plan to discuss the deep impact that “Apocalypse Now” had on my love of cinema (and my longtime urge to create my own films), and to have him pet Mitzi on camera. I will visit historic cinematic locations, including many that are located in Hollywood. I will “Dream Out Loud”, and that will be the name of the film (which originates from lyrics written by Bono, the lead singer of my favorite band, U2). But our journey will just be part of the story. The film will also touch on cinema, music, the current world situation, politics, religion, racism, the legalization of marijuana and gay marriage, homelessness, hopefulness, love, death, the meaning of life, and how to live it to the fullest extent possible. At various points during it’s running time, it will trigger every kind of emotion in the viewer, and it will be visually experimental and surreal in a way that has rarely been attempted since the 60s. It wont be your typical “Lassie” type story by any means, it will be much deeper and more profound than that. Some scenes will be “simulated” and filmed with multiple cameras, however they will all be shot in real locations and situations with real people, not “actors”. However, there also might be a gag” in homage to prankster Andy Kaufman hidden someplace in it …
So for the rest of 2016 and into the early part of 2017, I took a “dry run” journey through Nevada and California, and we wound up near the Mojave Desert (right in the middle of “Joshua Tree” country), where by complete chance, we happened across a rather infamous underground director, Jon Aes-Nihil (“Aesthetic Nihilism”), best known for creating “Manson Family Movies”, and as an intimate associate and creative colleague of John Waters, Kenneth Anger, and Nikolas Schreck, and Zeena LaVey (daughter of Anton). He took me to visit Hollywood, for an unforgettable nighttime cruise down Sunset and Hollywood Boulevards (which I filmed). Unfortunately, around this same time, medical issues reared up and forced me to return back to Idaho for some tests and treatment, and I am currently residing in Boise. I really love this city, and I plan to return back here after completing the coastal journey, and to make it the permanent home for me and my old road partner as I edit the film into it’s eventual final cut. I am now feeling somewhat healthier, and I am more determined than ever to carry out my original “border to border” plan, but my window of opportunity to achieve that goal is running out fast. Basically, it’s now or never.
So, I am seeking out immediate financing to make my Dream into a Reality as soon as possible. I plan to rent a van for a couple of months (the cost for that will be $3500-$4000), and then to head up to the Canadian border to begin the expedition south. I will stream live broadcasts on the internet so that people will be able to follow along with us in “real time” (spreading interest and awareness of the project around the world), and I will even have flying drone footage to make it that much more visually compelling. I want to begin that journey by June 1st at the latest. In the meantime, I am going to take the footage that I have shot over the last year during the “dry run”, and edit it into an eye-popping “preview trailer”. Then, I will either put up funding pages on Kickstarter and Indiegogo for financing, or I will seek it out through various dog and/or travel related businesses in exchange for very subtle and artistically appropriate “product placements”. After the filming has been completed and I return back to Boise for the editing phase, I hope to then be able to secure the rights to use various songs by U2, Filter, Tangerine Dream, and others, for an appropriately powerful soundtrack. I pan to create a fairly sparse and quietly spoken narration track, similar (and in homage) to Martin Sheen in “Apocalypse Now”, however at certain points I will intentionally drift over into something closer in sarcastic tone to Malcolm McDowell in “A Clockwork Orange”. Those are my two favorite films of all time, and my artistic pseudonym “Don Alex” is based on the name of the “ACO” character.
I will accomplish my goal, and I will create this film, no matter what it takes. It has now become my obsession, and my life’s most important work, and failure to complete it will not be an option. I am not interested in personal financial profit from this journey / film in any way, and it isnt an excuse for a “free vacation”. While I certainly cant deny that I do hope the film ends up making back enough money (from a theatrical or DVD release) to allow Mitzi and me to have a real Home for ourselves again, I would choose to donate most of any eventual financial proceeds that I would personally recieve from it to 1) pet-related organizations and shelters, and 2) homeless-related organizations and shelters. I only want the ability to create a classic, meaningful work of audiovisual art that I am 100% sure of my ability to accomplish. We are about to embark on a truly great adventure together, something that has never been attempted (or imagined) before, onscreen or off, and I want to invite everyone to live it with us. I want to inspire people with the fact that they also have it within their power to make their own Dreams come true on their own terms, no matter how bad their current life situation is, and I know that this film will have real potential to do that. In that way, Mitzi and I will then “live forever”, in Dreams, in Images, on Film, long after our mortal shells fade into the eternal Twilight.
That will be more than enough to satisfy me.
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