These days Paul Lovelace is a 30-year-old documentary filmmaker in New York City. He travels the country shilling his own motion picture projects – and on his own dime. Last night Lovelace returned to Kansas City (he’s a 1995 graduate of Shawnee Mission South High School) for a screening of the film The Holy Modal Rounders…Bound to Lose at Screenland; Lovelace co-directed the documentary about the famed psychedelic folk duo with Sam Wainwright Douglas and was also one of the film’s four producers.
Lovelace’s return visit was also a chance for his fiancée, filmmaker Jessica Wolfson, to get a chance to explore Kansas City for the first time: “I was here once before, briefly,” she said. “The only thing I remember is that we ate at Arthur Bryant’s.”
Tomorrow night at 8 p.m. the documentary that Wolfson co-produced, Crazy Sexy Cancer, will be aired on The Learning Channel. Crazy Sexy Cancer follows actress-photographer Kris Carr after her diagnosis of a rare and incurable cancer in 2003 and through her tenacious battle for survival and 2006 wedding to cameraman Brian Fassett.
Lovelace and Wolfson are currently working on their first film together, a documentary celebrating the life and long radio career of veteran New York City disc jockey Bob Fass, who has hosted the late night show called Radio Unnameable on WBAI-FM since 1962 (although Fass, now 74 years old, only the midnight-to-6 a.m. shift on Thursday nights anymore instead of six nights a week). The iconic Fass introduced a number of musical legends on his program during its heyday in the 1960s: Bob Dylan was an early guest and Arlo Guthrie played “Alice’s Restaurant” for the first time on the show. Fass named his program after Samuel Beckett’s The Unnameable, which he was reading at the time he was hired by WBAI.
Lovelace and Wolfson are raising money to produce the film at the same time they’re filming it, in bits and pieces as the funds come in. It’s not easy finding investors in a documentary, Lovelace says, since it doesn’t pay back a lucrative return like, say, The Bourne Ultimatum.
In the meantime, Lovelace and Wolfson are flying to film festivals, screening their movies, meeting potential new investors, planning their wedding and scouting locations for the feature film they would like to someday shoot in the Kansas City area.
“I’m interested in an old restaurant in a former trolley car in Independence,” Lovelace said. “Have you ever eaten at the Trolley Inn?”
It serves up one of the best cheeseburgers in the Midwest, I told him, hinting that I’d be happy to be an extra in that future movie. They could pay me in cheeseburgers. -- Charles Ferruzza