Johnny Morehouse is an analog kind of guy. As an independent filmmaker and documentarian, he’s old-school, often working in Super-8 — or any kind of film you can run through your fingers and wrap around a reel — though he’s also astute with digital platforms as a professional producing music videos and commercials. In the DIY spirit, Morehouse, a 2006 Westword MasterMind, turns the tables by also acting in his friends’ films, being a team member of the Emerging Filmmakers Project at the Bug Theatre, promoting micro film festivals showcasing under-the-radar local filmmakers, and running the house at Deer Pile. It’s been a long time since Westword awarded Morehouse for these efforts, so we decided to catch up with him and see where life has taken him. His 100CC questionnaire follows.
Johnny Morehouse: Marc Chagall seems like a playful enough guy. We could probably run around town or a village and cause a little trouble, then go and paint backdrops, cast some locals and put on a play about the future past.
Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?
Anyone who is able to swim through the muck and grime that too often surrounds us, and who comes up for air still smiling.
What's one art trend you want to see die this year?
Hmmmm...do political town hall speeches count?
Manager at Deer Pile.
A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it?
I'd probably buy up a bunch of private land and make it public. Then I would hold huge barbecues and potlucks every week. Then I'd travel. Then I'd buy my mom a brand-new Ford van, even though she already has two.
Denver, love it or leave it? What keeps you here — or makes you want to leave?
I certainly don't want to leave Denver anytime soon. I love it here. Things change so fast, though. It can be both invigorating and infuriating. Rent brings a lot of us down, I think. I wish there [had been] some sensible rent control put into place years ago; now I fear it might be too late, but who knows? On the bright side, of late I have seen so many of my friends and fellow artists adapt and come up with inventive ways to stick around this wonderful city.
What's the one thing Denver (or Colorado) could do to help the arts?
Hold cool galas and fundraisers at the Governor’s Mansion — on a regular basis, not just a one-off — and break up the donations into mini-grants for as many creatives as possible. It’s amazing what just a few hundred bucks here and there will do for an artist. Then, as the archive and arsenal builds, you hold openings/premieres/readings/performances for each of the grant recipients so they can actually make money for their hard work.
Lennord Mullins is my very favorite Colorado Creative. By far. There are not human words to describe his brilliance.
What's on your agenda in the coming year?
Spontaneity. Maybe a role or two in someone’s film. Short film fests. And a graphic novella with artist James Hattaway. I'm writing. He's painting.
Who do you think will get noticed in the local arts community in the coming year?
James Hattaway. People will be hounding him for his mural skills and painting brilliance. All the participants at the Girls Rock Denver camp. And those who put their work in art and literary magazines like Birdy, Suspect Press and several other publications springing forth. The amount of talent that exists around us can be overwhelmingly great, so it is neat that there are so many more outlets now to let loose a little. Because these publications exist and they are collaborative and community-based, they allow almost everyone a chance to get noticed.
Johnny Morehouse will host the Den-Ex Film Fest, now in its third year, beginning at 8 p.m. Thursday, May 4, at the Bug Theatre. Admission is $10 at the door; learn more at the Emerging Filmmakers Project website and the Facebook event page.