Photograph by Douglas Kirkland

A silent film by three-time Primetime Emmy award-winning filmmaker Mark Kirkland. Featuring "Weird Al" Yankovic, Haskell Wexler, ASC, and more.

The Moving Picture Co. 1914 

100 years ago in a long forgotten movie studio... Ellen, an aspiring actress, seeks her "lucky break" in a studio where everything goes wrong.

Filmmaker Mark Kirkland studied Chaplin, Keaton and Laurel & Hardy, as a kid, and with a Super 8 camera his dad gave him, he made films inspired by the classic comedians and developed an interest in visual, cinematic storytelling.

Later, Kirkland went on to win three Emmys directing The Simpsons (25 years - near 80 episodes), and has helped curate the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) collection of cameras. Mark's passion for century-old hand-cranked cameras has led him to make a silent film using those cameras. Husband and wife production team Mark and Leticia (Letty) gathered cast and crew, costumes and props and built sets in their Burbank hills backyard, where the entire film was shot. 

The silent format meant telling the story with gestures and facial expressions by the cast… Jeffery von Meyer (Boss), Jennifer Starr (Ellen), Adam Celentano (Comic),  Brendan McIvor Fleming (Main Director), Jody Fasanella (Secretary/Seamstress), Collin Fowler (Cameraman), Richard Gassparian (Cop), Eric Vesbit (Lincoln / Violinist), Ian McCrudden (Prussian Director), Anthony Molinari (Stuntman), and David Pierce (Various Roles).

Stellar comedic actor “Weird Al” Yankovic plays an actor portraying "Jesus" in a tableaux of Leonardo da Vinci's painting The Last Supper. Kirkland's father, renowned photographer Douglas Kirkland, who photographed Charlie Chaplin, has his acting debut as "Photographer." Legendary cinematographer Haskell Wexler, ASC shot much of the slapstick fight scene footage while acting as "Action Cameraman."

Achieving the silent era "look" involved both hand-cranked antique cameras and modern digital cameras, operated by cinematographers Roberto E. Lepe (DP), Clyde Smith, Helder K. Sun, Mark Kirkland and Haskell Wexler, ASC. FotoKem developed and transferred the film, removed color and added subtle tints, as used in silent films. The Simpsons editor Don Barrozo and Kirkland edited and Lepe added layers of film grain, blending camera sources and de-stressed images, to look like period film footage.

Greg Kellogg composed and recorded the score, while Kirkland played vintage clarinets, saxophones and slide whistles, reminiscent of a small town theater, with few musicians. 

FotoKem provided post-production services, designer Phil Hatten provided key art, Copy Central printed promotional materials, Chick Mokracek provided a Model T, long-time resident Bill Osbourne had his acting debut (Gaffer), former Warner Bros. scenic artist Don Hanson painted the backdrop for The Last Supper, Ryan Anthony Martin created titles and on-screen graphics and Robot Chicken Producer Matt Senreich (Lowly Extra) fueled a riot.

Mark & Letty Kirkland Contact: