By Jacob Engels
Last month, a friend introduced me to local filmmaker and UCF student, Jason Jack Underwood. Jason, who is in the process of completing his latest project “Half Awake,” was kind enough to sit down with us and share more about himself and his projects. Dude has got some serious talent, so when he is on the silver screen….you heard it here first!
First, tell us a little bit about you —
My name is Jason Jack Underwood and I am photographer and student filmmaker currently pursuing my Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Filmmaking at the University of Central Florida. I entered the film program after earning my Associate in Science in Photographic Technologies from the Southeast Center for Photographic Studies. Originally hailing from Chicago, though spending most of my childhood growing up in sunny Naples, Florida—after finishing school in Orlando, I plan on moving out west to pursue my career and eventually enroll into grad-school to continue my education.
When did you decide that film was the direction you’d like to take in life?
I’ve always had an inkling that I would somehow end up in the arts, despite having interests in other fields, and while I realize that pursuing a career in the arts isn’t exactly the most secure life to lead, I’m proud of who I am becoming and what I am creating. I started out with illustration and painting, as most kids do, but wasn’t satisfied with the level of realism I could achieve, so I then went on to photography which still remains a tremendous passion of mine. I still wasn’t satisfied though, I wanted my images to move, to speak, and to breathe, and that was precisely what led me into film making.
What kind of things have you done so far?
This film will be the fifth short that I have created from concept to conclusion, though it has certainly proven to be my most ambitious project yet, in part because “Half Awake” is partially academic and largely personal. Certain aspects of this film come from a particularly personal place in my life and I genuinely hope that this film will be able to reach and speak to a similar place in those who view it.
Tell us about Half Awake?
“Half Awake” is an independent short film that is currently in production. The story follows the final nights of Cid’s friendship with Lu, the little girl who accompanies him within his dreams. “Half Awake” will expose the importance of the sacrifice Cid must make and the difficulties that he will confront when attempting to break free of his escapism—discovering that he is not only his own best friend, but quickly turning into his own worst enemy. Cid must face himself and realize that if he continues to retreat further and further into his own mind, he may find himself too lost to make his way back.
How can people help?
Any and all support we can get on Kickstarter is key. By helping us fund the film, we can truly make it a reality. Also, sharing Half Awake’s Kickstarter profile with your friends on facebook, twitter, and any other social media account.
What’s on the horizon?
I have a couple projects lined up, and a few that I’ve been itching to put some time into. I’m currently working on the treatment for my next film, which is set to be in production in the fall. I don’t want to give too much away, but it’ll be another story of growth, but this time with very different individuals than you’ll find in “Half Awake”. As humans we’re constantly in change, both the worlds inside us and everything that exists around us. This reality fascinates me, and something that I want to play with in my films.
******To learn more about “Half Awake,” visit the Kickstarter page by CLICKING HERE
Jacob Engels, is the Founder of East Orlando Post. Along with the Post, he owns several other businesses and is currently enrolled at Valencia College. Jacob has lived in Avalon Park since it’s founding and enjoys playing with his black Labradoodle Jasper, listening to indie rock, and seeking out new business ventures. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org