“I’m gonna tell you a story of vice and of glory” - intones legendary tattoo artist and elder statesman, Mark Mahoney, launching us into SUNSET STRIP, a documentary feature about the most storied street on the planet.
With its unconventional mix of storytelling, original concerts, live performances, animation, and rare archival films, we dive into the mystique and hidden history of this curvy mile-and-a-half stretch of road that has steered world culture for nearly a century.
The Strip itself was born in the roaring ’20s as a dirt road connecting Hollywood studios to a new development called Beverly Hills. This “strip” between two cities fell just outside Los Angeles city limits, a no man’s land outside the reach of the LAPD, which gave free reign to both creative and dark forces. Generations of great artists were inspired here and great art was created here, right along side notorious speakeasies, nightclubs, casinos, brothels, and opium dens. It is truly a mix of light and dark, sunshine and noir, that is uniquely L.A.
Of course, when limits are pushed this hard, crash and burn is inevitable. Up and down cycles come fast and furious. So it’s no surprise when tragedy strikes and the death of The Strip is pronounced. It’s been that way since the very beginning. But the lights always come back on and suddenly she’s alive and kicking with another burst of creative energy for a new generation. The Strip remains true to her nature and her calling as ground zero for the biggest sounds, images, and cultural movements to echo around the world.
Today, huge tectonic shifts in the music industry have energized live music and music venues, so a new generation of idealistic artists, fans, and club owners are using that energy to make Sunset Strip their own, forging their own history, just like all the generations before them. Something fresh and cool is brewing!
Johnny Depp, Keanu Reeves, Mickey Rourke, Ozzy Osbourne, Courtney Love, Sharon Stone, Pamela Des Barres, Alice Cooper, Hugh Hefner, Perry Farrell, Peter Fonda, Sofia Coppola, Tom Arnold, Slash, Richard Lewis, Paul Mooney, Dita Von Teese, Paris Hilton, Lou Adler, Tommy Lee, Billy Corgan, and Lemmy, along with historians, authors, former mobsters, kids who call it their playground, and families who call it home… all come together to take us way beyond a rock doc and down the rabbit hole into a fascinating world called SUNSET STRIP.
Hans Fjellestad, Director/Writer/Producer
Los Angeles filmmaker/musician Hans Fjellestad has been making music-oriented documentary features for over 10 years. His films include MOOG, FRONTIER LIFE, WHEN THE WORLD BREAKS, SOUNDING THE SPACE: MUSIC FOR ARCHITECTURE, and THE HEART IS A DRUM MACHINE with Juliette Lewis, Elijah Wood, John Frusciante, and Jason Schwartzman. He also helmed SUNSET STRIP, featuring Johnny Depp, Mickey Rourke, Ozzy Osbourne, Keanu Reeves, Sofia Coppola, Sharon Stone, Hugh Hefner, and Courtney Love. Hans is set to direct his debut narrative feature LORDS OF CHAOS, shooting Fall 2011.
Hans has screened his work in theaters, museums, and festivals throughout the world and on major television networks including Showtime, MTV, Adult Swim, PBS, Arte, and BBC. His films and video art have shown at the London Institute of Contemporary Arts, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Tokyo’s Shibuya Cinema Society, Los Angeles Grand Performances Series, BorDocs Foro Documental Tijuana, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Columbia University, Gene Siskel Film Center, Miami Art Central, ARCO Madrid, São Paulo International Short Film Festival, and Centro Universitario de Estudios Cinematográficos in Mexico City.
As musician, Hans tours and records extensively as a solo artist and in collaboration with numerous players on the experimental music scene in over a dozen countries. He composes original music for theater, television, and film. He has been artist-in-residence at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood since 2008, where he programs and hosts the popular monthly concert series ResBox.
Follow Hans on Twitter @sanjusan
Joe Mundo, Producer
Specializing in physical production and finance, Joe has extensive experience in business, television and film. Joe physically produced the feature documentaries THE HEART IS A DRUM MACHINE, JOHN HENRY: THE STEEL DRIVING RACEHORSE (with the producer team behind the Sundance Grand Jury Prize winning film I.O.U.S.A.) and WHEN THE WORLD BREAKS, which takes a fresh look back Depression era art, cinema, literature, music, architecture, business, culture, and politics. WHEN THE WORLD BREAKS features interviews with Depression Era survivors such as Mickey Rooney, Phyllis Diller, Buzz Aldrin, Ray Bradbury, Jack LaLanne, Art Linkletter, and Jerry Stiller. In addition to his work in documentaries, Joe worked on the feature films AWAY WE GO, JAKE’S CORNER, S.I.S., and MIDDLE MEN. Prior to working in film, Joe worked as a remote broadcast producer for NBC Sports. Joe received his B.A. in Mass Communications and Business from Arizona State University.
Tommy Alastra, Producer
Under the banner of TAP Inc. (an event production, lifestyle and entertainment marketing company), Tommy Alastra has built brand awareness in film, TV, fashion, beauty, and luxury goods for a wide array of clients, including Jay-Z, Reebok, Victoria’s Secret, Jaguar, The Maybach Foundation, Trump, and William Clinton Foundation, to name a few…
Tommy has created and produced PSA’s, TV segments, films, and television, including the MTV/BBC reality series “Totally Calum”, “Rock & Roll Revolution” (with Lionsgate/MTV), “The Rope” with CSI writer Dustin Lee Abraham, and Dash Mihok’s “THAT GUY” starring Ryan Seacrest and Danny Masterson. Tommy is also the Executive Producer of Lexi Alexander’s Lifted, a feature film produced by Deborah Dele Prete slated for release Summer 2011.
Follow Tommy on Twitter @TAlastra
Donovan Leitch, Producer
Donovan produced several documentary features, including THE LAST PARTY starring Robert Downey Jr., THE PARTY’S OVER starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, and the HBO film SCHMATTA. Donovan spent 5 years as a Senior Account Executive at the PR and marketing firm PMK/BNC helping create and oversee Entertainment Marketing for such brands as Playstation, T-Mobile, GM and Samsung. This marriage of Art and Commerce led to a development deal at MTV Networks, where Donovan develops both reality and scripted content for the network.
Matt Sorum, Executive Producer
The legendary drummer from Velvet Revolver and Guns ‘N Roses will provide experience, knowledge, and connections from 30+ years of being known as a Sunset Strip staple. Matt will be working with the production team to secure the biggest names and venues that have come through the Strip. Matt will also assist in music licensing and with the creation of a financially viable soundtrack.
Arlene Nelson, Cinematographer
Arlene Nelson is a groundbreaking cinematographer who holds degrees in philosophy and fine art photography. She served as the director of photography on Christopher Guest’s film, A MIGHTY WIND. Nelson has also shot additional photography on Guests film, FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION. Nelson was also the cinematographer on VOICES OF WOMEN, HBO documentary NAKED STATES, LES PLAGES DES AGNES, THE BROTHERS WARNER. She is currently wrapping a concert documentary called THE TROUBADORS on Carole King and James Taylor.
Titmouse Inc will be designing a five-minute animated opening tracking shot that will take us from one end of the Sunset Strip to the other. Through the course of the shot the Sunset Strip will be populated and reanimated with every major character and location from the Strip’s nearly 10 decade history. For more on Titmouse, please visit their website: http://www.titmouseinc.com/