Mark Webber’s “Explicit Ills” – A Day of Filming In Philadelphia

These shots, and the story fell through the cracks as it was the weekend before I went to NYC to cover Fashion Week (see September).

This past summer Philadelphia raised Mark Webber shot a movie he directed, here in PhillyWood. It’s called “Explicit Ills” and is based loosely on kids he knew growing up and well you are just going to have to see it as it should be great. It stars mostly unknown Philly actors and a few heavy hitters that I was explicitly told by the producers not to use their names to promote the film as it is in their contract. On this particular day, the shoot was being done in a community center in Kensington, near A, B, C Streets. The nieghoborhood was a buzz with excitement, and the film crew was very respectable to the neighbors. For me I was so excited as it was my first “invited” on location movie shoot. (Usually I just crash the filming, or shoot from a distance)

In April, I met Mark Webber while I was covering the Phila Film Festival and Mark received the Rising Star Award. At a party Mary Patel and the Phila Film Festical threw in his honor I made his acquaintance (I am a big fan of his mother’s, Cheri Honkala , a social activist with the Kensington Welfare Rights group Here Mark directs Noah Simmons All I can tell you is he is in a karate outfit and the temperatures in this room are above 120F and he and all the castmates were real troopers.
To the left is one of the stars I am not allowed to mention his name, as he is doing the movie as a favor for Mark. A movie he stars in opens on Friday, and premiered tonight in NYC and this past weekend won the top prize in the LA Film Awards. He also shined in Little Miss Sunshine
Lots of little kids, and one of them may be the next Dakota Fanning or Jerry O’Connell; they were all very well behaved, even having waited for several hours for an earlier scene to be shot. They waited patiently upstairs with their parents, and were fed and played games. I spoke with the parents and they all said it was worth it as the kids really wanted to be in a movie. The actors are on the left, Mark is on the far right with the green hat, it’s pitch dark behind us
but during the take, I shoot this. The assistants at the table are playing chess, in the pitch black, but the flash lit up the scene. I guess they were used to working in the dark.
Mark gives Nicholas Simmens directions. He is to play his own tune, as this is a low budget, meaning good quality film, but not lots of cash to fund, movie. If he picked out a commercial tune there would need to be money paid to the writer of the tune, residuals. But everything worked out well as it was an awesome set, Nicholas was told to do a three minute song, but he played about 5 minutes of the most awesome tune with a spectacular guitar solo that would make Jimmy Hendrick’s proud. Finally it was a wrap, I thanked Mark, and although he invited me to shoot the finale in two weeks, where the girl from “Rent” would march along Market Street, I knew I wouldn’t go since I wasn’t allowed to photograph and market the shots of some of the stars (because it was in their contracts says the producer [not Mark, who was terrific to me and I appreciate it, and he had no idea the producers had told me this new info. Congratulations I hear you got “Explicit Ills” in Sundance – YIPPEE!! ], Instead that weekend I went to NYC and shot the NY Film Festival, and its a good thing as I got Halle Barry in People Magazine from a shot I took that weekend)I did read later in Dan Gross’ column: Rosario Dawson was among the cast of Mark Webber’s “Explicit Ills” celebrating at Rae inside the Cira Centre Sunday night at the wrap party for Webber’s directorial debut. * (But I already knew that)A friend of mine just got a photo with her last Thursday in NYC, I’ve shot her before, she is a SWEETHEART!! see the guy to the right, that’s the famed Radioman (again see the other blog and do a search on his name) but a Christmas tibit is he is the bum on the bench in the movie ELF, when Santa flies out of Central Park. He is crazy like a fox in person, but knows all the stars, and is invited to the Oscars every year, oh and has an XM radio show about celebrities.