Simon J. Heath Talks About His New Movie 'Ten Men Talk New York'
Interview byTaji Ameen on Jan 18 2014
Published in: Vice, New York
This week, Lower East Side legend ►Clayton Patterson invited me to the screening of Simon J. Heath's new film, Ten Men Talk New York. A tale about what New York means to ten of its natives, the film doesn't fall short of its title.
Clayton is one on the men in the film. He met Simon at the closing party for Motor City, a now-closed dive bar known for its grungy clientale, where Simon asked him to participate in his movie. “The questions [he asked] were more just words,” Clayton said. “Words that generations of brilliant poets, philosophers, writers, and artists have been struggling to define the meaning of.”
As a lover of art and the Lower East Side, I was dying to see Simon's movie and speak to the filmmaker himself. Luckily, I was able to catch up with Simon at a screening and interview him about his new movie, love for Manhattan, and the magical, poetic words that inspired the film.
Hi Simon, why did you decide to make a film about New York?
I have loved New York since I was a kid. All my heroes, from Kerouac to Hendrix, Pollack to Gallo, lived and relished the culture that New York throws at you with everything she has. After watching a recent film about New York that painted the whole city like a giant Upper West Side yuppie paradise, I got pissed off. The Hollywood film showed a world far from the New York I skate through. So I decided to make my own film.
What was the thinking behind the film?
I wanted to keep Ten Men Talk New York bullshit-free and true to the men who I feature in it. I shot it clean in black and white, with the ten men simply speaking what they want on camera. There is no flashy host or cheesy voiceover in Ten Men Talk New York, because I did not want anyone telling the audience what to think. This movie allows ten real New Yorkers to speak. Its up to the audience to make their own decisions on what is said.
How did you choose ten New Yorkers out of million of men?
The ten men are all long-time New Yorkers—guys I already knew from bars, skating, parties, and just hanging out in New York. They gave me their trust, they spoke openly, without fear, favor, or trying to kiss ass.
How did you choose the topics?
The topics the ten men talk about are love, sex, death, race, the best, the worst, new, and old. These topics were chosen because we all have views on them—they’re universal. But here in New York—like everything—these things are amplified out of all proportion. That’s why we live here.
Why are there no women in the film?
There will be a Ten Women Talk New York once I get the cash to make it! So contact me and throw a fucking ATM at me and let the creativity roll on. | Source: http://www.vice.com/read/ten-men-talk-new-york
COMMENT by Matt Allison: Great Screening of Short Film ‘Ten Men Talk New York.’ | Published in: MALLISONWHAT’S BLOG, New York January 14, 2014 | On January 10th Simon Heath privately screened his new documentary ‘Ten Men Talk New York.’ Joseph Grazi hosted the event at the Norword on West 14th street. I never been to the Norword before, but the private club has the interior of a mid 19th century mansion according to their website. There are five floors and multiple rooms with a bar on each floor. All over the club there is artistic flare that to me gave the appearance of decadence. I mean that in a good way. Getting there a little early I saw more and more of the NYC skate community come in for the film.
While standing in line for my second thirteen-dollar amoretto sour someone announced the film would start and those watching should go up to the fifth floor. Skipping the drink I went to the screening room. I got a seat but it ended up being standing room only. Rick Sulz from NY Skateboarding, Ray Llanos from skate chronicles, and the young skater who does clips for Vice was there. I saw a lot of more familiar faces too, and the room was loud before the film started.
Simon’s film interviews these ten men: Alex Corporan, Clayton Patterson, Erick Colon, Ernesto Sutton, JF Vergel, JR Cronheim, Jim Moore, Keith Masco, Sam Parks, Michael Houghton, Gizmo Collado and Peter Pabon. I know the director Simon Heath through skateboarding. Of the people interviewed I know Alex Corporan, Erick Colon, Ernesto Sutton, JR Cronheim, Jim Moore, Sam Parks, Gizmo Collado, and Peter Pabon all through skateboarding. They talk of love, sex, death, old New York, new New York, and more.
I enjoyed this film, and seeing my friends talk on screen was cool. For each of the skaters I know I could envision longer interviews, and they all have more stories. Big Jim has a lot of stories about skating the LES in the eighties, and skate sponsorship back then. JR and Gizzy could be comedians if they chose to be. Erick is funny as hell too. Peter is an accomplished photographer. Ernesto is charismatic and cool. Alex does so much for NYC skating, and welcomes people in. Sam gives me dating advice regularly, and is super fun to skate with. Seeing this film confirmed to me that I’m lucky to be part of the Old Bastards NYC skate crew.
All the interviewees I do not know made interesting points. They are Clayton Patterson, JF Vergel, Keith Masco, and Michael Houghton. They diversified the participants making the film work. Without spoiling too much Clayton Patterson stated a problem with NYC today is people because of rent spend more time working than time on their creative pursuits, and up until the 1990’s creative people could do their own thing in this city. After the screening there were some positively crafted questions that immediately conveyed to me the film was well received.
A few nights after the opening I talked to Simon who was happy with the screening and he felt it resonated with the audience. Simon’s main goal was to highlight the interviewees voice and he respects all of them. Simon also said about his film, “it prompts discussion, afterwards people wanted to debate their opinion.” I have to agree. Right after the screening I was sitting with JR Conheim and our friend Jacob Koehler. We talked about Mr. Patterson’s statement about creative people can’t be creative because you need a career to live here. JR told me he has friends in Philadelphia who can skate or work on their art a lot more hours per week because of cheap rent. I enjoyed myself at the screening and would have stayed longer if I didn’t have work the next day. If you ever get an invite to something at the Norword, you should definitely accept that invite and go.
I bought the film on Simon’s site for five dollars. I watched it twice now and I believe it does merit multiple viewings. Simon also said his goal is to get many people to watch it so the ten men can have their voices heard.
On January 23rd, next Thursday there is public screening of the film ‘Ten Men Talk New York’ at ArtNow Gallery on 528 West 28th street at 7 pm. Hope to see you there!
ABOUT SIMON J. HEATH: He is a producer and director, known for Weaponizers (2009), Waffentechnik (2009) and Aruba Rays (2015).
ARUBA RAYS https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4776726/?ref_=nmbio_mbio