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2017 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival

Norman Jones

Directed by Mike Sakamoto

Narrative Competition / USA / 2016 / 70 mins / English / B&W / 4:3, D-Cinema / World Premiere

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Downtown Independent
April 30, 2017 7:00 pm


Mike Sakamoto in attendance!  

To all who interact with him, Norman Jones is a nobody. To the flea market denizen who is attracted to one of Norman’s paintings, he is a skinflint who drives a hard bargain for minor works of art. To the landlady who demands no rent to allow him to live in a dilapidated trailer in her backyard, Norman is an ingrate whom she is too big-hearted to evict. And to disparate individuals ranging from an artist supply store clerk, a neighborhood handyman, and a lonely cleaning woman, Norman registers barely a blip on the radar. Yet it is those mostly obscure character quirks that intrigue director Mike Sakamoto (SECRET ASIAN MAN, Festival 2000; and a series of black-and-white workouts including the expressionistic 1999 ROLLING MAN). For whether or not anyone knows or cares, Norman (David Stamp) is in the process of leaving this community of strangers and misfits, and director Sakamoto, though his detailed, patient gaze courtesy of cinematographer Len Borruso, is seemingly the only one who truly cares what happens to this erstwhile Beat Generation artist.

    In carefully-observed monochrome scenes of his everyday routine, Norman’s life is gradually revealed, and it is decidedly bleak: eking out a living primarily through his paintings, Norman (a multiple heart attack survivor who pops handfuls of prescription meds, but still lives his life as a curmudgeon) has no friends, not even casual acquaintances, nor does he respond to the occasional helping hand with anything approaching gratitude. It is left to those whom Norman largely shuns to peel away the layers of his life — the landlady whose late husband befriended Norman and invited him home one day, only to see him stick around for ten-plus years; the movers who clear out his trailer and discover just what kind of a character Norman truly is; to the aforementioned cleaning woman whose act of kindness one day is a true rarity in Norman’s life. Seemingly about nothing at all, NORMAN JONES is actually something much more — a carefully-observed L.A. story in which characters come and go, but in which memory give way to the inevitable march of time.

— Abraham Ferrer


Community Partner: CineFile

Director's Bio

Writer/Director Mike Sakamoto was born and raised in Los Angeles, and currently resides in the South Bay. His short films (“Secret Asian Man,” “Rollingman,” and “Birdman”) have screened in numerous festivals around the country. “Norman Jones” is his first feature film.


Producers: Mike Sakamoto, Peter Dowd
Director: Mike Sakamoto
Cinematographer: Len Borruso
Writer: Mike Sakamoto
Sound Design: Mike Sakamoto
Sound Recordists: Austin Duerst, Masami Koyama
Editor: Mike Sakamoto
Production Assistants: Richard Bara, Matt Percival
Cast: David Z. Stamp, Joyce Sindel, Kelli Stokes, Harv Popick, Carl Turner, Ed Dyer, Matthew Payne, Mannette Antil, Garren Fagaragan, Sean Weyer, Nick Feller, Matt Percival

Preceded By

  1. Two-Sided Ride

    Jason Karman / Canada / 2016 / 9 mins
    Alex, a hopeless romantic, drives for a ride-booking company in the hopes of a love connection in the big city. His trials and tribulations lead him to lose his way—until fate stops by.

    Precedes: Norman Jones

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Dates & Times


Downtown Independent
April 30, 2017 7:00 pm