Mono unites some of the OKC metro's most talented filmmakers

If Oklahoma City metro filmmakers were Marvel superheroes (and who could rule out the possibility?), then Mono would be their Avengers.

Well-known area directors and rising local talent unite to direct the ambitious anthology film Mono. Scheduled to shoot through May, it follows a central female character through her day. Five directors will create independent shorts that, when stitched together, represent different chapters of that day.

Directors Cait Brasel, Jacob Leighton Burns, John Burton, Laron Chapman and Mickey Reece each apply their unique perspectives to the shared protagonist, played by actress Lindsay Fritts.

A premiere location and date for Mono is not yet set, but directors expect the project to be ready before the end of the year. All proceeds from the film will benefit NewView Oklahoma, a nonprofit dedicated to the empowerment of blind and visually impaired individuals.

What makes this band of film heroes better than The Avengers is that anyone is allowed to join ranks with them. An open casting call and mixer 7-10 p.m. April 13 at The Paramount OKC, 7 N. Lee Ave., will give those in and outside the local film community an opportunity to be cast in the film or added to one of the directors’ crews.

Oklahoma Gazette recently spoke with Mono’s lead actor and league of directors about the project.

Gazette: Where did the Mono idea come from?

Reece: Mono was conceived at my house one night and into the early morning when Jacob, John and I were having one of our wild director parties. Because that’s what real directors do, so I’ve read. ... John, Jacob and I wanted to explore the idea some more, so we enlisted the help of Cait and Laron. All five of us got into a room and hashed out some ideas. It wasn’t a too-many-cooks type of environment like you would think, but rather we all listened to each other’s ideas and came up with something pretty original.

OKG: What do you have to say about the people you’re working with on this project?

Chapman: I feel honored to be rubbing shoulders with some of Oklahoma’s aspiring and well-regarded indie talent. Each of them are unique and brave in their creative endeavors. I’m the new kid on the block, so I’m thankful for the opportunity and I’m excited to learn and grow from the experience and the good company I’m in.

Brasel: Each director on this project has an incredibly unique take on cinema and execution. I feel like I can safely say we’ve all done this enough to know how we work individually — some of us prefer a script and a hashed-out plan while others like a guideline and a lot of improv. There really is no wrong way to go about making a film — there are countless ways. Bottom line, these guys are talented and I’m sure the outcome will be it’s own unique piece in Oklahoma cinematic history.

OKG: Is there a firm story or script in place that you are following, or will everyone’s chapters feed off whatever the previous director did?

Burns: The film is going to be an amalgamation of genre and style, with each filmmaker bringing their own unique flavor to their individual segment. We’re working together on some of the overall aspects of a lead character, who will serve as the connective tissue for each segment, but ultimately, each director will be responsible for their own piece of the larger puzzle.

Burton: Each chapter will definitely come from a single director’s brain. With that said, we’re constantly bouncing ideas off each other, and each chapter will flow from the one before it. It’s a very different writing process. As I’m outlining my chapter, I’m also incorporating the ideas forming in the other chapters around mine.

OKG: Is there anything in particular that excites you about telling a story in this way?

Fritts: As an actor, I’m always seeking to do projects that are innovative and original, so I am incredibly excited to get to be a part of something like this. I think what is fantastic about this film is that it’s really a character study. To follow this person through an entire day of her life means that, hopefully, you really get to step into her shoes and see her as a fully realized person, not just a trope or an idea. ... As a woman in the film industry, it is so rare that I have the chance to play a complex, three-dimensional character. To have this many unique viewpoints means that you get to see more sides to her story and to her.

Burns: I’m excited about the chance to really challenge myself as a storyteller and as a filmmaker. I’m used to writing self-contained stories with characters over which I have complete ownership. But with this, we’re sharing a lead character, and what happens to her in everybody else’s stories will affect who she is in my story.

Print headline: Screen squad, Anthology film Mono brings together super filmmakers.

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