The Web Opera

With THE WEB OPERA, composer Michael Roth has assembled a team of progressive artists to create something completely new - an episodic through-sung web series based on true events, a groundbreaking and unique experiment in music, film, and new opera. THE WEB OPERA tells of a group of college freshmen and the invasion of privacy that forever changes a young man's life. THE WEB OPERA also encourages and supports via its website suicide prevention and the fight against cyber abuse.

** - As of November, 2019, THE WEB OPERA has been honored by 12 festivals: as a semi-finalist for the LOS ANGELES CINEFEST (upcoming, January, 2020) and for Best Web Series at the ROME INDEPENDENT PRISMA AWARDS; as an official selection by the LOS ANGELES EXPERIMENTAL DANCE & MUSIC FILM FESTIVAL (upcoming screening/February, 2020), the INDIE SHORT FEST/LOS ANGELES, Australia's INTERNATIONAL SHORTS FESTIVAL, and the WEB SERIES FESTIVAL GLOBAL; given an Award of Excellence for Original Concept from the SHORT, TIGHT & LOOSE GLOBAL FILM FESTIVAL COMPETITION, Awards of Merit from the ONE REELER SHORT FILM COMPETITION and the BEST SHORTS COMPETITION, and an Honorable Mention from LA's EXPERIMENTAL FORUM; and we were an online presentation for both the LIFT OFF SESSIONS in the UK and LIFT-OFF GLOBAL NETWORK ONLINE FESTIVAL in New York.

Featuring performances by Reuben Uy, Adam Von Almen, Stephanie Cecile Yavelow, Molly Connor, Joyce Lai and Loren Battley, directed by Kate Jopson, with texts by Kate Gale and additional texts by Michael Roth, filmed by DP Dana Fytelson with dazzling visual graphics by Lisa Glenn Armstrong, Yiyi Shao, and Christopher Gaal/Crazybridge Studios, and filmed as if seen via the cameras and webcams in a laptop, iPhone, or iPad, this story about the violation of privacy invites the viewer to violate the privacy of the characters themselves while viewing it.

Composer Randy Newman calls THE WEB OPERA 'groundbreaking ... a great 21st century opera, full of fine things and remarkably accessible. It is also an important story told very very well.'

And THE WEB OPERA has a mission - inspired by the real life tragedy of Tyler Clementi, THE WEB OPERA is presented online to encourage all who view it, via the website, to support organizations working for suicide prevention and against cyber abuse. The first three episodes are online now, episodes four and five will be complete within the next year or so. To view all three episodes, to support the filming of episodes four and five, and for information regarding THE WEB OPERA's mission, please visit www.thewebopera.com

More detailed synopsis (some spoilers):

In Episode One, a college freshman (FG97 - all of the characters are referred to by their e-mail addresses) is installing software for his new webcam when he receives a message from his new roommate, Violinist98. Online, he investigates his roommate to get more information about him, all the while communicating about it with his friend across the hall, June99.

In Episode Two, Violinist98 is practicing violin and then, distracted, he seeks solace online from a forum; eventually he receives a friend request from Bookstore90, a man he'd met the day before, and arranges a date with him for the next night. He informs FG97 via text that he needs the room.

In Episode Three, FG97 visits his friend June99 during Violinist98's date. Via his webcam, hoping to have a look at Bookstore90, whom FG97 finds suspicious, they have a quick look at the date and discuss this with June's roommate and two of her roommate's friends. Having looked, they see something they can't unsee - and FG97 informs others online about it in a tweet that Violinist98 reads later that evening - as he stares at the webcam.

  • Kate Jopson
    Director
    Please see: www.katejopson.com
  • Michael Roth
    Composer, Producer
    Film and theatre scores include HENRY IV with Tom Hanks, THE TEMPEST with Christopher Plummer, JEWS & BASEBALL (PBS documentary), music direction for Disney's PRINCESS & THE FROG (score by Randy Newman), and many others; for more info: https://rothmusik.wixsite.com/rothmusik
  • Kate Gale
    Writer
    Please see: www.kategale.com
  • Dana Fytelson
    Director of Photography
    Please see: www.danafytelson.com
  • Christopher Gaal - Crazybridge Studios
    Motion Graphics
    Please see: www.crazybridge.com
  • Lisa Glenn Armstrong
    Motion Graphics
    Please see: www.lisaglennarmstrong.com
  • Yiyi Shao
    Motion Graphics
    Please see: www.yiyishao.com
  • Reuben Uy
    Key Cast
    “FG97”
  • Adam Von Almen
    Key Cast
    “Violinist98”
    Please see: www.adamvonalmen.com
  • Stephanie Cecile Yavelow
    Key Cast
    “June99 ”
    Please see: vayymusic.com
  • Molly Connor
    Key Cast
    “Roommate”
  • Joyce Lai
    Key Cast
    “Roommate's Friend”
  • Loren Battley
    Key Cast
    “Roommate's Friend”
    Please see: www.imdb.com/name/nm8546609
  • Steven Cahill
    Sound Mix
    Please see: www.stevencahill.com
  • Eduardo Vega, Humannovations
    Mental Health Advisor
    Please see: www.humannovations.net
  • Film Type:
    Experimental, Music Video, Short, Web / New Media, Other
  • Runtime:
    40 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    January 27, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    20,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Film Language:
    English
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Los Angeles Experimental, Dance & Music Film Festival
    Los Angeles, California
    United States
    February 6, 2020
    OFFICIAL SELECTION - UPCOMING SCREENING - 2/6/20
  • Los Angeles CineFest
    Los Angeles, California
    United States
    January 18, 2020
    SEMI-FINALIST
  • International Shorts Film Festival
    Southbank, Victoria
    Australia
    December 2, 2019
    Official Selection
  • Indie Short Fest
    Los Angeles, California
    United States
    November 29, 2019
    OFFICIAL SELECTION
  • Soundwaves-Santa Monica Library New Music Series
    Santa Monica, California
    United States
    April 8, 2020
    UPCOMING SCREENING - 4/8/20
  • Rome Independent Prisma Film Awards
    Rome
    Italy
    September 5, 2019
    SEMI-FINALIST - BEST WEB SERIES - OFFICIAL SELECTION
  • Short, Tight and Loose Global Film Festival Competition
    Delaware
    United States
    June 29, 2019
    OFFICIAL SELECTION - AWARD OF EXCELLENCE - ORIGINAL CONCEPT
  • One-Reeler Short Film Competition
    Los Angeles, California
    United States
    July 22, 2019
    OFFICIAL SELECTION - AWARD OF MERIT
  • Web Series Festival Global
    Los Angeles, California
    United States
    August 10, 2019
    OFFICIAL SELECTION
  • The Lift Off Sessions
    Pinewood Studios, Ivers, England
    United Kingdom
    August 11, 2019
    OFFICIAL SELECTION - ONLINE SCREENING
  • Lift-Off Global Network Online Festival
    New York, New York
    United States
    June 24, 2019
    OFFICIAL SELECTION - ONLINE SCREENING
  • Best Shorts Competition
    San Diego, California
    United States
    June 18, 2019
    OFFICIAL SELECTION - AWARD OF MERIT
  • Experimental Forum
    Los Angeles, California
    United States
    August 11, 2019
    HONORABLE MENTION
  • Red Hen Press - Hen House
    Pasadena, California
    United States
    January 27, 2019
    PREMIERE/LAUNCH EVENT SCREENING
Director Biography - Kate Jopson

Kate Jopson (director) is the Artistic Director of the Aliso Theatre Company, having previously been Artistic Director of both Circle X Theatre and the Flagship Theatre, all in Los Angeles. Recently, she directed the short film PROTECT & SAVE (official selection Pasadena International Film Festival, Alexander Valley Film Festival, Dam Short Film Festival) and developed documentaries with the Academy-Award winning company Stick Figure productions. As a theatre director, she specializes in experienced-based productions in locations as varied as a Frank Lloyd Wright house, a horse ranch, a beach, and a flower-filled basement. Recent theatre credits: HOLE IN THE SKY (Circle X Theatre); CANDIDE (Santa Cruz Shakespeare); FEFU AND HER FRIENDS (Circle X Theatre/J.U.S.T Toys Productions, LA); 1984 (Greenway Court Theatre, LA); AN ACCIDENT (Griot Theatre, LA), TWELFTH NIGHT (Courage Theatre Co. LA); SECOND SKIN (The West/The Flagship Ensemble); A WILLOW GROWS ASLANT (La Jolla Playhouse —Without Walls Fest.) B.A UC Berkeley; M.F.A in Directing from UC San Diego. http://www.katejopson.com

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Cruelty can happen so casually, especially with the distance that social media allows. Social media is a double-edged sword, it can help those who feel isolated find a community and it can also bring out the darkest urges in humans. You no longer have to look someone in the eye and see the damage you have wrought. Micro-aggressions and unexplored prejudices can balloon into great wrongs. In the first three episodes of The Web Opera, we see how two young men's choice not to face the discomfort of addressing their differences leads to a thoughtless and deeply violating action. We also examine how privacy is willingly and unwillingly taken from us.

The youngest in my "millennial" generation grew up without ever knowing a time before the internet. Some of us feel that privacy is overrated, that "we have nothing to hide so why does it matter?" I also fall into that reasoning, at times. But then something like the true events at Rutgers that The Web Opera is based on happens and I must re-examine my online presence. When I do, it is often terrifying how much of my life can be easily accessed and how little is under my control. That is why I wanted to film it in a way where you are watching people through their devices while they are going about their daily lives, unaware of our gaze.

While the story is small, the ramifications are big. Composer Michael Roth felt that an "opera" would help us find the emotion behind these small moments while keeping the larger scope of the message always present. The music defies genre, having moments of rock, pop, new music, musical theatre, and sound design fused together into the experience. The webseries itself also invents a new genre of "Web Operas."

Overall, we tried to suit the medium to the story and the story to the medium to find a way to get into the heart of some of the largest issues of our time.