Brad Mays

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Not to be confused with Brad May.
Brad Mays
Brad Mays editing "Stage Fright," 1987.jpg
Brad Mays editing "Stage Fright," 1988
Born (1955-05-30) May 30, 1955 (age 59)
St. Louis, Missouri
Other names Bradford Mays
Occupation Filmmaker, writer
Years active 1978–present
Spouse(s) Lorenda Starfelt (1995–2011)(her death)
Website
http://www.bradmays.com

Brad Mays (born May 30, 1955) is an independent filmmaker and stage director, living and working in Los Angeles, California.

Background and education[edit]

During the early 1970s, Brad Mays became involved in the performing arts during a professional internship at the McCarter Theater in Princeton, New Jersey.[1] When his family moved to Maryland in the wake of difficulties resulting from his participation in anti-war demonstrations,[2][3] Mays became heavily involved in the Baltimore experimental theater scene and, at the age of eighteen, began directing at the Corner Theatre ETC.

Achilles (Will Beinbrink) invites a starving trespasser named Persephone (Kiersten Morgan) into his house for breakfast in Brad Mays' feature comedy The Watermelon, 2009.
Richard Werner as Dionysus in Brad Mays' independent feature film production of Euripides' The Bacchae, 2000
Sara (Nina Rutledge) and Zip (Willie Brookes) in Brad Mays' independent feature film production of Stage Fright, 1989
Vanessa Claire Smith, Sterling Wolfe, Michael Holmes, and Ricky Coates in Brad Mays' multi-media stage production of A Clockwork Orange, 2003, Los Angeles. (photo: Peter Zuehlke)

Upon completion of theatre arts studies at Towson University, Mays was formally hired by the Baltimore Theatre Project.[4][5][6] In 1982, Mays moved to New York City, where he began working off-Broadway and, ultimately, produced and directed his first independent feature film, Stage Fright. [7][8]

Film work[edit]

In 2006, Mays filmed the documentary feature SING*ularity (2008), which explores the cutting-edge training of classical singers at the world-renowned OperaWorks program in Southern California.[9] Other films include a free-form adaptation of Euripides' The Bacchae (2002),[10][11][12] and his first feature, Stage Fright,[13][14] a semi-autobiographical piece, co-written with his friend and fellow Corner Theatre alum, Stanley Keyes, which depicts the trials and tribulations of a late '60's theatre company and had its inaugural screenings at the 1989 Berlin International Film Festival under the auspices of American Independents In Berlin and the New York Foundation for the Arts.[15] It was during the editing of that particular project that Mays was invited to participate as a segment director on Howard Stern's first Pay-Per-View special, Howard Stern's Negligee and Underpants Party.

Mays' 2008 motion picture romantic comedy The Watermelon premiered at the San Diego Film Festival, where it quickly achieved the top slot for audience and industry buzz.[16] Written by Michael Hemmingson, The Watermelon was produced by Lorenda Starfelt at LightSong Films in North Hollywood, and was conceived as a "Fairy Tale for grown-ups." The film stars Will Beinbrink, Kiersten Morgan, Elyse Ashton, Julia Aks, Mike Ivy and Bob Golub.[17] The Watermelon was released by Celebrity Video Distribution, a Los Angeles distribution company dedicated to serving the independent film community. It was subsequently awarded a 2010 California Film Awards "Diamond Award." [18]

In 2009, Brad Mays finished work on the feature-length political documentary The Audacity of Democracy, which followed the 2008 race for the Democratic Presidential Nomination and focused in particular on the notorious PUMA movement. In multiple Blog-Radio interviews,[19] the director expressed dissatisfaction with the project, revealing that he had not been allowed to complete shooting in the manner originally agreed to. On June 6, 2011, Brad Mays discussed his personal and working relationship with his late wife Lorenda Starfelt – who had died of uterine cancer earlier that year – with blog radio host John Smart. In the interview, which Smart described on his website as "harsh, truthful and brutally honest," Mays revealed the closeness of his artistic collaboration with Starfelt, as well as his reasons for considering their 2010 documentary film co-production The Audacity of Democracy to have been "unsuccessful...incomplete, inconclusive, ultimately unsatisfying and even embarrassing." [20]

Tobias Haller, Stanley Keyes, Linda Chambers and James Curran in Brad Mays' production of The Water Hen, by Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz, 1983, New York.
Ramona Reeves and Lynn Odell in Brad Mays' stage production of Euripides' The Bacchae, 1997, Los Angeles.
Jack Tate and James Daughton in Brad Mays' stage production of Dragon Slayers by Stanley Keyes, 1990, Los Angeles.
Rain Pryor as Joan of Arc, with Robin Skye, Zoe Trilling, and Tyrone Granderson Jones in Brad Mays' 2003 Los Angeles stage production of Joan, written by Linda Chambers.

In June 2012, Mays' comedy short The Donut Shop received the "People's Choice Award" at the San Francisco Black Film Festival,[21] as well as "Best Comedy" at the 2012 San Diego Black Film Festival.[22] The following year, Mays' feature documentary I Grew Up in Princeton had its premiere showing in Princeton, New Jersey. The film, described in one Princeton newspaper as a "deeply personal 'coming-of-age story' that yields perspective on the role of perception in a town that was split racially, economically and sociologically",[23] is a portrayal of life in the venerable university town during the tumultuous period of the late sixties through the early seventies.[24]

Stage work[edit]

Brad Mays has directed for the stage, primarily in Baltimore, New York and Los Angeles. His first New York production was an evening of one-act plays, written by Linda Chambers and performed at the Cubiculo Theatre: Joan, Stones, and Requiem. [25] All three pieces dealt with themes of personal spirituality. Requiem, the longest play of the evening, was a fictionalized drama about the death of Irish hunger striker Bobby Sands, and performed during the Saint Patrick's Day holiday in 1982. Mays' Off-Broadway presentation of Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz's The Water Hen, [26][27][28][29] was videotaped by the Lincoln Center's Billy Rose Theatre Collection for inclusion in their permanent archive.[30]

In Los Angeles, Mays' original adaptation of Euripides' The Bacchae was nominated for three LA Weekly Theatre Awards (including Best Direction) in 1997 [31] and also videotaped for the Lincoln Center's archive. The production was recognized for its overall directorial audacity,[32][33][34] the movement-scoring work by choreographer Kim Weild, and for its aggressive onstage violence and nudity.[35] Mays' multi-media production of Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange, performed in Los Angeles at the ARK Theatre company,[36] was likewise nominated for Best Direction, Best Revival Production, and Best Actress by the 2004 LA Weekly Theater Awards.[37] Vanessa Claire Smith won Best Actress for her gender-bending portrayal of Alex, the story's protagonist.[38][39]

Other efforts include Peter Weiss' The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade at Theatre of NOTE in Los Angeles;[40] an expanded version of Joan by Linda Chambers, starring Rain Pryor as Joan of Arc;[41][42][43] and the black comedy Dragon Slayers, by Stanley Keyes, in which a cult of insane puppeteers engage in ritual murder. Dragon Slayers was performed in both New York and Los Angeles over a period of several years, featuring an original electronic score contributed by Garth Hudson of the late sixties rock group The Band.[44]

Other work[edit]

Brad Mays was invited to discuss Euripides' The Bacchae for WGBH Boston's 2010 PBS series Invitation to World Literature, which was also launched on Annenberg Media's educational website in September, 2010. Also featured on the show were Nobel Prize winner Wole Soyinka, director Richard Schechner, and actor Alan Cumming.[45]

Selected filmography[edit]

Year Film Function Notes
1989 Stage Fright Director/Editor/ Co-Screenwriter Premiered at the 1989 Berlin International Film Festival. Sponsored in Berlin by the New York Foundation For The Arts, and the Goethe House in NYC.
2002 The Bacchae Director/Editor/ Screenwriter Screen adaptation of Euripides' classic play, filmed roughly two years after Mays' acclaimed Los Angeles stage production.
2004 Paper Chasers Editor Re-Edit of hip-hop feature documentary produced and directed by Maxie Collier, and featuring James Brown, Chuck D., Flavor Flav, Master P., Ludacris, and Russell Simmons.
Shakespeare's Merchant Producer/Editor Adaptation of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, adapted and directed by Los Angeles stage director Paul Wagar; and produced by Mays' wife Lorenda Starfelt.
The Trojan Women Director/Editor Documentary Film of Brad Mays' 2003 Los Angeles stage production of Euripides' classic tragedy, produced by the ARK Theatre Company.
2005 Resilience Editor Acclaimed feature drama, written, produced and directed by Paul Bojack.
Sunset Stripper Murders Editor A complete re-edit of the erotic thriller Seventh Veil, directed by Amin Q. Chaudhri.
2006 Dodo: The Documentary Co-Producer/Editor Docu-Comedy about the life and times of comedian Bob Golub, directed by Bob Golub and released in 2010.
2008 SING*ularity Director/Co-Producer/ Editor Documentary about the world-famous OperaWorks training program for classical vocalists, filmed in the years 2006–2007.
The Watermelon Director/Editor Oddball romantic comedy, written by Michael Hemmingson. World premiere at the 2008 San Diego Film Festival. Released July 7, 2009. Received the California Film Awards 2010 Diamond Award.
The Audacity of Democracy Director/Editor Documentary Film of the 2008 Democratic Presidential Primary, shot in Dallas, Princeton, Washington, D.C., and Denver. Released in 2009.
2009 Crystal Fog Editor Docu-drama written, produced and directed by Sundance Festival award winner Steve Yeager.
The Dream of Alvareen Editor Fantasy-drama, written, produced and directed by Alex Lehr.
ShowGirls, Provincetown, MA Editor Documentary film about the venerable weekly "Showgirls" crossing-dressing variety show in Provincetown, where all manner of drag queens compete for a cash prize. Premiered at the 2009 Palm Springs International Film Festival.
2010 A Way Back In Director/Co-Producer/ Editor Dramatic action film short. World premiere at the 2010 Idyllwild International Festival of Cinema. Winner of three Indie Fest Awards (Short Film, Leading Actor, Direction), and three Accolade Awards Of Merit (Short Film, Creativity/Originality, Direction).
2011 Customer Diss-Service Director, Editor Web Series produced by Ron Williams, Scott Scott Weisenfeld and Lorenda Starfelt and starring Frank Noon and Johnny D'Agostino.
2012 The Donut Shop Director, Editor Comedy short produced and written by Theo Ogunyode, and starring Theo Ogunyode, Saria Daniels, Valerie Ludwig, Gregory Thompson, Dwight Williams, Romel Jamison, and Cesili Williams. Recipient of the "People's Choice Award" at the 2012 San Francisco Black Film Festival, and "Best Comedy" at the 2012 San Diego Black Film Festival.
2013 I Grew Up in Princeton Director Feature documentary produced by Lorenda Starfelt.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Persico, Joyce J. (October 6, 2013). Documentary explores life in Princeton during the late 1960s, early 1970s. 
  2. ^ http://www.centraljersey.com/articles/2013/10/14/the_princeton_packet/news/doc525c481dc082a313773663.txt
  3. ^ http://www.mercerspace.com/ae/coming-of-age-in-princeton/
  4. ^ Strausbaugh, John (March 1979). "Big Doings in Little Theater (Article)". City Paper. 
  5. ^ Strasbaugh, John (August 1979). "Strong Season (Article)". City Paper. 
  6. ^ Shaller, Deborah (September 1979). "Mystery and Mays – Two Esoteric Shifts in the Local Theatre Scene (Article)". City Paper. 
  7. ^ Walsh, Winnifred (July 7, 1987). "Film's Dark, Unflattering Look At The 1970s by Brad Mays (Article)". The Baltimore Evening Sun. 
  8. ^ Hitch (March 1–7, 1989). "Review". Variety: page 21. 
  9. ^ IndieWire online article about Mays' film SING*ularity, then still under the working title of OperaWorks.
  10. ^ PlayBill article STAGE TO SCREEN: Waiting For Bradford's Bacchae and Burton's Barber by Eric Grode, May 23, 1999
  11. ^ Hall, Edith; Macintosh, Fiona; Wrigley, Amanda (2005). Dionysus since 69: Greek Tragedy at the Dawn of the Third Millennium. Oxford University Press. 
  12. ^ Studi E Materiali per Baccanti di Euripide: Stori, Memorie, Spettacoliby Anna Beltrametti, Ibis 2007
  13. ^ Scarupa, Henry (July 11, 1987). "70s Theatre Scene Finds New Life On Film (Article)". The Baltimore Sun. 
  14. ^ Robbins, Jim (February 8–14, 1989). "American indie filmmakers meet to discuss Berlin strategy (Article)". Variety (Cahner's): 48. 
  15. ^ Official Poster for the American Independents In Berlin 1989, sponsored by the New York Foundation for the Arts.
  16. ^ 2008 San Diego Film Festival's list of Official Selections, in order of rating for audience and industry "buzz"
  17. ^ http://billsmoviereviews.blogspot.com/2010/01/watermelon-is-very-localized-odyssey.html
  18. ^ California Film Awards Diamond Award Winning Feature – The Watermelon
  19. ^ Politics Daily online article, written by Tommy Christopher, discussing Brad Mays' film The Audacity of Democracy
  20. ^ http://www.blogtalkradio.com/johnwsmart/2011/06/07/the-list--tonight-the-audacity-of-democracy
  21. ^ http://sfbff.org/z2012-winners.html
  22. ^ http://www.sdbff.com/index.html
  23. ^ http://www.towntopics.com/wordpress/2013/10/09/phs-grad-filmmaker-back-in-town-for-premier-of-princeton-documentary/
  24. ^ http://www.princetonmagazine.com/in-search-of-lost-time/
  25. ^ Leahey, Mimi (March 1984). "Martyr's Day (Review)". Soho News. 
  26. ^ Matousek, Mark (1983). "Water Hen (review)". Other Stages. 
  27. ^ Syna, Sy (1983). "Water Hen – a sensuous, mocking look at relations (review)". New York News World. 
  28. ^ The Best Plays of 1982–1983 The Burns Mantle Yearbook of the Theatre edited by Otis L. Guernsey
  29. ^ Willis, John; Hodge, Ben (1983). Theatre World, Season 1982–1983 (USA Crown Publishers) #40. 
  30. ^ New York Public Library Theatre On Videotape Archives, the Billy Rose Collection: The Water Hen and The Bacchae, directed by Brad Mays
  31. ^ Morris, Steven Leigh (January 23–29, 1998). "The 19th Annual LA Weekly Theater Awards Nominations". LA Weekly: 40.  nominations for "Best Production Design," "Best Original Musical Score," "Best Direction"
  32. ^ Brandes, Phillip (July 4, 1997). "Daring Bacchae Delves Into Modern Psyche (Review)". Los Angeles Times. 
  33. ^ Morris, Steven Leigh (July 11–17, 1997). "Primal Time – Euripides Revisited (Featured Review)". LA Weekly. 
  34. ^ Corcoran, Patrick (July 10–16, 1997). "A Bacchanalian Delight (Review)". LA New Times. 
  35. ^ LA Weekly article, Grin And Bare It, written by Neal Weaver, on nudity in the Los Angeles theatre, with particular attention given to The Bacchae.
  36. ^ Kavner, Lucas (July 20, 2011). "'A Clockwork Orange' Songs To Be Performed For First Time In History". Huffington Post. 
  37. ^ LA Weekly Theatre Awards Nominations A Clockwork Orange – nominations for "Best Revival Production," "Best Leading Female Performance," "Best Direction"
  38. ^ LA Weekly Theatre Awards A Clockwork OrangeVanessa Claire Smith wins for "Best Leading Female Performance"
  39. ^ Clockwork Orange – The Plays: online overview of stage productions of A Clockwork Orange from around the world
  40. ^ Foley, F. Kathleen (November 24, 2000). "NOTE Troupe Takes On Challenge of 'Marat' (Review)". Los Angeles Times. 
  41. ^ Monaghan, Connie (November 1993). "Joan by Linda Chambers (Review)". LA Weekly. 
  42. ^ Warfield, Polly (November 1993). "Joan by Linda Chambers (Review)". Drama-Logue. 
  43. ^ Hill, Beth (November 1993). "Joan by Linda Chambers (Review)". LA Reader. 
  44. ^ Staff Reviewer (Feb 28 – March 6, 1990). "L.A. Theatre Life (Review)". Spotlight Casting Magazine 3 (4). 
  45. ^ Invitation To World Literature: The Bacchae

External links[edit]