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Lewis & Klarq

Aaron Clarke, a low-level music executive living in LA, returns to his hometown to help reach his alcoholic friend Lewis Balcolm. After an awkward intervention goes bust, Lewis leads Aaron out for a night of local music and mayhem. Over whiskey and pills, the men unpack the lingering injury surrounding their own band - a synthpop duo they formed as teenagers. When their differences come to a head once again, Aaron turns his back on Lewis only to encounter Lewis & Klarq’s biggest remaining fan.

By showing him just how much their old songs mean to her, this diehard devotee inspires Aaron to reach his damaged friend through the passionate music they once made together as kids. With his abandoned creativity now threatening to resurface, Aaron heists his vintage synthesizers from his parents' storage shed and sets the stage for Lewis' real intervention - not to mention his own.

  • Neil Butler
    Director
  • Jason Chimonides
    Director
  • Neil Butler
    Writer
  • Jason Chimonides
    Writer
  • G.W. Kimball
    Producer
  • Neil Butler
    Producer
  • David A. Smith
    Producer
    Southbound
  • Donald A. Guarisco
    Producer
  • Rene Otero
    Producer
  • Neil Butler
    Key Cast
  • Bobby Arnold
    Key Cast
  • Christia Nunnery
    Key Cast
  • Jason Chimonides
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Feature
  • Genres:
    Comedy, Drama, Musical
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 28 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    January 1, 2016
  • Production Budget:
    25,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Aspect Ratio:
    1.85
  • Film Color:
    Black & White and Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    Yes
  • Student Project:
    No
Director Biography - Neil Butler, Jason Chimonides

BUTZ & HEMO is the filmmaking moniker of co-writer/directors Neil Butler and Jason Chimonides, longtime friends and collaborators (if you consider 1987 a long time ago; they do). In the years since growing up together in Florida, Butler has carved out a career as a film and television development executive in Los Angeles, working with producers such as Lucas Foster and Kirk D'Amico while Chimonides has worked as a tenured theater professor and playwright on the East Coast where his play "The Optimist" premiered in New York and was subsequently published by Dramatists Play Service.

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Director Statement

What if you got a call from the parents of a childhood friend? You know the one. Can you come home and help us pull this person back from the brink of addiction and self-destruction?

Like so many people, Jason and I had an ailing friend in desperate need of… something. And although we had yet to receive that call ourselves, it was the “what if” question that launched this story. What would that be like? Would the intervention go well? Of course it wouldn’t. But what might materialize in the aftermath?

A project that began life as a drama soon took on extra dimensions. Comedy interjected itself first: the dark absurdity of throwing these long estranged friends together and the lost weekend of debauchery that might ensue. In order to dramatize the baggage these men have with each other, we needed an unfinished project from the past. “What about a band?” we asked ourselves. And since these characters, now middle aged, had been teenagers in the 1980’s, the answer came quick: they were once two halves of a synthpop duo. That’s when music entered the equation (not to mention more comedy).

This core premise provided the catalyst for a litany of themes that quickly coalesced. With a band, we could explore what success means to a young person versus what you get from a creative pursuit coming back to it as an adult. Then there’s the digital divide that has emerged in the years since our own heady days of youth. As Lewis and Klarq’s friend Wayne philosophizes: “We’re the last breed of humans that will have had the first act of their life in an analog world.”

In our two lead characters we created two very different answers to the question: what happens to the 99% of the creative class that doesn’t “make it?” For our fallen friend, the answer is grim – wallowing in the detritus of a shattered dream. For our prodigal son returning home, the answer is seemingly more upbeat. He’s turned his love of music into an industry career – but at what cost?

Of course these were the very issues we were confronting in our own creative lives. After growing up together in North Florida in the 80’s, Jason and I had pursued theater and film degrees in the 90’s. We spent the ensuing years carving out careers in the industry side of the BIG DREAM, keeping up a healthy writing discipline but moving entirely away from any hands-on filmmaking. Meanwhile, the digital revolution came and completely changed the game, waking us up to the possibility of making movies again. Could we really pick up where we left off? Would our goals be the same as they had been? What would define success or failure for us this time around? The answers to these questions, both onscreen and behind the scenes, seemed to be shaped as much by the new world order as by our current stage in life.