by ari attack, editor
I met up with jace at Thirsty Scholar. I was excited to meet up with a director I’d heard so much about. Dressed pretty simple, but defined, Jeremy Wallace also known as jace arrived.
“What really inspired me really getting into filmmaking was seeing black people going through cool shit in films,” he said. “you don’t see them time traveling much, going through space and being the main focal point of the exploration. that’s something I really wanted to show.”
jace played with toys until his mid-teens. He said this creativity attributed to his arts today.
“I didn’t realize how impactful that was. I was pretty much story telling,” said jace. “I started a record label at 11 with a group of friends. We had one take to record a song. we overdubbed and sold them.” He also had a skate team and a clothing company in high school.
“Even through music and clothing, I never felt like I was truly being myself. I was always inspired by somebody else’s work. When it came to film, it was the first thing I tried that started first within. Not looking for validation from others on an idea,” he said.
“When I started directing in 2010, it was solely music videos. I was using videos as a way to storytell. I had limited performance shots and more focused on the storyline,” he said.
Five years after jace started directing, his project manager questioned why he was telling others stories, but not his. This encouraged him to begin telling his original stories through film.
“She basically sat me down and said you’ve been doing so much for the other people, so why don’t you make your own story? I was pretty nervous about that idea,” he said.
That year he shot ‘Alone, Together,’ the story of a woman who was bound to a man’s sheets. The male character had to go under the covers to meet her. They’re both alone, together in their own separate worlds.
“That was my first film ever,” he said.
In 2016 he filmed ‘Hello Malcolm,’ the story of a teddy bear in search of his owner and finding it’s voice. Last year, he shot ‘Wilderness,’ based off Carl Sandburg’s poem ‘Wilderness.’ The poem details the wild, animalistic parts of of man, told from a single perspective. jace added another voice to his film, expanding the perspective of the poem from a couple.
“Then came ‘Auntiler,’ the story of a 17-year-old kid who suddenly starts growing antlers out of his head,” he said.
jace’s process is different for filmmaking, from other creative platforms. Personal feats in his life connect him to ideas for his film, or just what randomly comes to his mind.
The Indy native, now NYC based artist travels back and forth for his connections in both cities.
“The biggest advantage of living in New York are the opportunities for certain projects and the opportunity to collaborate,” he said. “It’s a closed in network here. But I don’t necessarily get inspired to film there, because I’m from here. This will always be the backdrop of my film, from now until forever, really.”
“For the most part, all of my films have been shot here (Indy),” said jace.
One great connection jace has made is a mentorship with artist, Lena Waithe. Most known for her part in Master of None and other projects. Along with a group of other artists, they network and participate in opportunities there.
“It’s been really good! Just a lot of opportunities. The only downside is that she’s based in LA, so a lot of the opportunities are out there. That’s where I see myself moving,” he said.
When creating storylines in film, the characters wardrobe is the most muted part of the visuals. Almost as if you didn’t notice what the character is wearing, just that they’re clothed.
“That’s how I am as a person,” he said. “I don’t care about labels. The purpose is really to be covering to the person.”
jace said he’s working on being more intentional with certain direction, like shots.
“My focus has changed. Before it was, “create content, and put content out,” but I’m starting to understand that I need to play the game, ” he said. “I have to submit to festivals, and seek validation so these people can vouch for me. I want to be more intentional moving forward.”
jace is working on a few projects, like a new tv show and several ideas for a feature film.
“The most exciting thing I’m working on in a docu-series called, ‘99 Years,’ where we ask people from ages one to 99, a single question,” he said. “The first question is, ‘are you happy?’ We see over time how the answers mature. It’s like a time capsule for these people.”
He’s also working on a film about before the beginning of time.
His favorite director is Christopher Nolan, who wrote films like The Dark Knight, Inception and Dunkirk.
jace’s ideas with film are never the same, which is part of what makes him special as an writer and director. His audience can’t guess where he’s going next with his films. He also worked on his own episode of Donald Glover’s show, Atlanta.
“Never stop expanding your network, and never stop reading,” jace said. “Also, don’t stop talking to people. You get an idea of how people handle experiences. Then you’re able to create these experiences on film.”
You can check out his work here.