Carbondale native to showcase film at the Crystal Theatre |

Carbondale native to showcase film at the Crystal Theatre

Ben Phillips photoValley natives Taylor Phillips, right, and Jennifer Clasen come home from L.A. for the Colorado premiere of the film "Waterborne" Thursday at the Crystal Theater in Carbondale. Phillips co-produced the film, and Clasen was the still photographer for the project.

CARBONDALE – Next week’s Colorado premiere of the critically acclaimed new independent film, “Waterborne,” in Carbondale, is also a homecoming for some up-and-coming young film talent.”Waterborne,” which recently won several awards at the SXSW, Harlem International and Methodfest film festivals, was co-produced by Carbondale native Taylor Phillips, and stars another Carbondalian, Jake Muxworthy.Taylor’s brother, Ben Phillips, was also part of the film crew as a camera assistant, and Basalt-area native Jennifer Clasen was the still photographer for the project.The Carbondale Council on Arts and Humanities sponsors the screening at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Crystal Theatre, followed by a reception from 9-11 p.m. at the Black Nugget. Tickets are $10 at Sounds Easy or at the door.All four valley natives will be on hand for the event, and another local talent, Emily Blong, will perform her original music during the reception, starting at 10 p.m.In addition to CCAH’s ongoing mission to showcase local talent, Phillips said premiering the film in his hometown could accomplish another goal.

“I’d eventually like to bring the local film community together so I don’t have to go back to L.A. to make movies,” Phillips said. “There are a lot of the elements here, but the film community has some building to do before it could support a full-time industry.””Waterborne” is about a terrorist attack in Los Angeles, in which the city’s reservoir is poisoned and effectively turns the town into chaos. The movie uses a kinetic and captivating approach to thread three separate story lines together in a web of current issues that mirror modern society.In addition to Muxworthy’s role as Bodi, the film stars Christopher Masterson (Malcolm in the Middle) as Zach, Magiena Tovah (Spiderman 2 and 3, Joan of Arcadia) as Lillian, and Ajay Naidu (Office Space, The Guru) as Vikram.Phillips, 27, was raised in Carbondale and attended Aspen Community School and Aspen High School. He graduated from the University of Colorado with a bachelor’s degree in film production.While in film school, he was mentored by documentary filmmaker Jerry Aronson and the late revolutionary experimental director Stan Brakhage. His thesis documentary, “March of Time,” about his eccentric grandfather, won the 2002 Goldfarb Award for Best Documentary.Phillips got his first break in feature film production working for the Coen Brothers on their Oscar-nominated “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” Since then, he has worked on more than 20 feature films, including the Coen Brothers’ “The Man Who Wasn’t There,” “Intolerable Cruelty” and “The Ladykillers,” Brett Ratner’s “Red Dragon” and “After the Sunset,” and the high-budget studio films “Secondhand Lions,” “Hidalgo,” “Just Like Heaven” and “Friday Night Lights.”

He met “Waterborne” writer/director Ben Rekhi and co-producers Smritri Mundhra and Salvy Maleki while working on “O Brother Where Art Thou?””(Rekhi) came to me with the money and the script, and I used some of my L.A. contacts to pull together a crew,” Phillips said. “He’s very concerned with material elements, like water and oil, which goes along with the main threat in the film.”Phillips is one of the youngest filmmakers to join the Director’s Guild of America. He wrote his first screenplay, “The Americans,” while on vacation in Europe, and is working on his second. “Waterborne” was his first film as a producer.Phillips had heard of and briefly met Muxworthy, and invited him among dozens of other actors to play the part of Bodi.”Bodi is a lumberjack, and Jake had worked in saw mills, so there were a lot of parallels,” Phillips said. “He fit the role perfectly.”Muxworthy also grew up in Carbondale and graduated from Yampah Mountain High School. He made his feature film debut playing an out-for-trouble skateboarder in “Grind,” opposite Adam Brody and Mike Vogel.

He has since played opposite Dustin Hoffman, Jude Law and Jason Schwartzman in David O. Russell’s “I Heart Huckabees,” and will appear as Tom Sizemore’s murderous son in the upcoming film “Piggy Banks.” He has also appeared in several television shows.Rounding out the local film crew: Ben Phillips, 25, attended CU Boulder where he won a Goldfarb award for his 16 millimeter film “Spine,” and his film “Not Quite Sure” was nominated for a Grillo award. He also won the award for “Most Innovative” In the locals category of Aspen Shortsfest 2004 for his project “As Of Lately.” He works for a film production company in Durango.Jennifer Clasen was born and raised in Old Snowmass and attended Aspen High, then graduated from the University of California Santa Barbara. She inherited her father Norm Clasen’s passion for photography, and after completing her work on “Waterborne, has continued to work as a still photographer for other films. Her photos can be viewed at the Norm Clasen Gallery in Basalt.Meanwhile, Emily Blong and her band, My Velcroe, will perform her original mix of eclectic, soulful indie pop tunes, during the reception at the Nugget.Blong is also a Carbondale native and a self-taught musician who was turned onto electronic music production while going to school for Web design.Partnered with a life centered around computers, she said she is fascinated by the idea that voltage can be converted into an audible state of emotion.”My Velcroe currently resides in L.A. but has been entertaining audiences since 2002 in Denver where we started,” said Blong, who credits influences such as Tori Amos, Tricky and Regina Spector.

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