Their love story is very cute, she met him when he was attending Brown University studying Semiotics (liken it to music theory for film and art) in Providence Rhode Island. Amy gave her friend her leather coat (shades of “Mod Fuck Explosion”) to be in the film “My Degeneration” in the lead role because she wanted to get down Jon’s pants. They have been together first in films and then as a couple ever since. They look so good together you think it’s some sort of fashion ad. The first film made by Jon Moritsugu I ever saw was “Terminal USA”. It was paid for by an ITVS grant for yes the Public Broadcasting Service. Per Jon there was a grant he applied for, he said in lieu of being able to spend a great deal of money that he did his best punk rock effort on the paperwork and when asked where have your films played, he just put WORLDWIDE and underlined it and that was how he won. They told him that he made them laugh so that particular film was made for the PBS paid for by a grant, which makes me grin like a hyena.
We spoke about film festivals a bit and the fact that “Mod Fuck Explosion” played at Cannes. I asked if they got to go and Jon explained “the week of Cannes all the hotels switch to cash only so unless you show up with a bag of money there is really no way to go, so we let Mod Fuck represent us.” When “Mod Fuck Explosion” played in Seattle I remembered the block long Ad that took up an entire street in Belltown, WA. It was a perfect example of advertising working because it was why we went to see it. Jon say’s this is still his favorite.
As a couple they made a video for the band TV on the Radio the song “No Future Shock” (band member Kyp Malone who starred in the movie “Scumrock”) in 2012 which would go on to be nominated for a Grammy. They sat by Weird Al Yankovick whom Jon describes as a really tall bodybuilder. He said they lost to the Foo Fighters but that’s cool.
“Pig Death Machine” was just released in 2013. Jon describes it as a psychological drama with tinges of horror. Like most of his movies there is an underlying message, like many of his movies there is also the use of meat. Lot’s and lots of meat. There is also Victor of Aquitaine, the man with a voice so smooth it could coax your brain to sneak out of your ear. Which is often the kind of role he plays for Jon but Victor is another actor you can find in most of Jon and Amy’s films. I was told he is a world famous voice just not one that I would recognize, I will leave that for when I finally get an interview with Victor. The movie was also shown at the Chicago Underground Film Festival for which Jon and Amy received the Lifetime Achievement Award.
He is getting ready to begin shooting a new film about the Art World and uppity artists going to hell. He will be shooting in Santa Fe, Marfa and NYC. Amy says it will make people plotz, because it will lay bare the art industry of the modern day. The film began shooting the end of August and will continue shooting through next year. Hopefully with a release date sometime next year. In accordance with making a film about the art world Jon will be having an Art Show in NYC at Ramiken Crucible opening September 18th which he will only describe as a totally overwhelming mindfuck so people of NYC be on the lookout. Last month he had a showing of his first film “Mommy, Mommy Where’s My Brain,” along with the first films of artists such as Jean Genet amongst others. So Art World beware because Jon’s next subject is YOU.
Their band LOW ON HIGH is wonderful kind of dreamy rock with lyrics you may have to listen to twice to go yep, that is what they said. He says they play once a year. He and Amy play everything and he describes their show as a “five piece band playing for hours but only two or us for like 25 minutes it’s so high energy.” We discussed the importance of staying creative as you get older and how it’s sad when you see people who gave up doing what they loved and took on stale keep yourself alive jobs. I spoke to Amy about a little bit of everything, she has enough energy to power a small town let alone a one to two-hour rock show. She mentioned that talent is not on the high end of anything art related, “it’s tenacity, it’s who you know and its luck, talent is only a small part.” When he is not creating rock Jon is teaching what he calls Punk Rock Guerilla Film Courses at college’s in Santa Fe. He says he starts with writing, to pre-production to production to editing and showing. Amy, besides custom couture t-shirts, is a fashion illustrator and columnist for PAPER MAG (NYC). Her illustrated column is STYLE FIENDS, started in 1996. Plus she writes and draws a fashion column for the Santa Fe Reporter called unSTYLE
Rolling Stone recently named Jon’s movie “My Degeneration” as the 15th best punk rock movie ever made out of 25 not at bad place to land in such a short list. We spoke a lot about the importance of vinyl, owning it, being able to touch it and about how moving it from place to place can become very cumbersome. My Degeneration is about a punk rock girl band and how the media can eat up people caught in the spotlight. That’s my take on it, I’m not saying a word about the love interest. Jon will be participating in aUSC Panel Discussion in March 2017 on Asian Film Makers entitled “Anarchy in Asian America: Sex, Punk, and Transgressive Cinema” he will speak on the panel and it will be the next show Low On High plays as well. This discussion will include other film makers Gregg Araki and Roddy Bogawa. It will take place on March 24th 2017 you can look up and get all off the information online under the title of the Panel. This is not new territory for Jon, his films have been shown at most major film festivals worldwide as well as MoMA, the Guggenheim and the Whitney. He shows no signs of slowing down or growing up, which is what makes his films so utterly watchable, and enjoyable. They both have jobs like you or me (Amy's hand painted tee shirts, wearable art, very cool) and are extremely approachable and despite the films subject matter…nice. So you should immediately and without haste watch all of his films which some are available on fandor, or via his website. Thank you to Jon and Amy for a most enjoyable Sunday!