When he was only 6, Josh Folan’s grandfather took him to the Apollo Theatre in Oberlin to see Dances with Wolves. While he admits he probably didn’t fully comprehend the film, Folan says it was a formative experience.
Folan, who graduated from Oberlin High School back in 1999, has spent the last 11 years working as a filmmaker in New York. While he’s made a handful of low-budget flicks during that time (and even wrote a book about his experiences), he hasn’t hosted a local screening of one of the movies.
The film arrives on VOD (iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, Google, Xbox) on Jan. 17, and Folan will host a midnight screening of it at the Apollo Theatre on Jan. 27 as part of Cleveland Cinemas' Late Shift Series. There will also be a “Corpse Reviver” cocktail soiree beforehand at the Feve from 9:30 to 11:30 p.m. After the pre-party, Folan will lead patrons across the street to the theater. You can purchase tickets to the screening on the Cleveland Cinemas' website.
Folan took a circuitous path to filmmaking. He attended college at Ohio State University and then worked for a financial advisor after graduating.
One of his friends from college was an agent in New York, so Folan started doing modeling on the side. One day, he realized he wanted to make modeling/acting into a full-time career.
“I figured to hell with it, and I literally walked into my boss’s office on a Saturday and left the keys to the office on top of my stuff and drove to New York,” he says.
He was there for a month or two before he booked something for Comedy Central that got him an agent and landed him a role on All My Children. He worked on the show for three years as a bit player and started a theater company for off-Broadway shows featuring soap stars.
All God’s Creatures, his first feature, “a dark love story about a serial killer and a prostitute,” came out in 2012. It's available on Amazon Prime to watch for free.
“It was never a plan,” he admits. “Making movies as a career while I was growing up in Oberlin wasn’t on the radar of options. It slowly presented itself as option.”
His co-producer and co-writer on Catch 22 is a friend he’s known for years. He was “in a fucked up place with alcohol and drugs” that led him to becoming sober. Six months into that in summer of 2013, he called Folan one day to see if he wanted to go to a movie. In the course of talking, he revealed a concept for a screenplay, and Folan worked with him to develop the idea into Catch 22.
“What he told me was the foundation for what the film is,” Folan says. “He had never gotten past the title page, but I hammered stuff into my Evernote on my phone as he talked to me about the concept, and we wrote the story together. It’s dark and fucked up and fueled by his experience in that part of his life.”
Two kickstarters and some “random ass shit” later, they scraped the money together to shoot it.
"The movie [about five blue-collar guys] starts in this horrible place, but that’s the best part of their night," says Folan. "[The 1998 film] Very Bad Things was a huge influence on the narrative structure. The final part of the film is the worst part of the film. It starts in a bad place and gets worse. The idea that we could take the worst part of his life and turn it into the best part of my friend's life is a really cool thing. I’ve made other films, but they didn’t have the personal angle that this does.”