Written By: Nicki Legge
Last summer semester I took a screenwriting class at Scottsdale Community College with my wonderful boyfriend/producer, JP Frydrych. We met a ton of amazing people in this class; some of them were budding filmmakers and some were just taking the class because it sounded interesting. This is where I met Jonathan Maiuri of A Mexican and a Jew Productions. I got along with Jonathan right off the bat because of his genuine, kind personality and his knowledge of the film industry, and when we read his script in the class, I realized that Jonathan truly is a talented storyteller. His script, “The Lesson,” kept the whole class laughing from beginning to end, so when I found out that A Mexican and a Jew Productions was actually filming it, I knew that I needed to share his talent. This is why we have chosen Jonathan Maiuri as our Jump Ship Productions Filmmaker of the week.
Jonathan was born in Boston, Massachusetts. When he was eight years old, his younger sister was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. “A warm dry Arizona climate was the prescription” so his family uprooted and moved to Arizona. Jonathan has been fascinated by the film industry his whole life, “whether it’s been through the art of storytelling, or growing up imagining (he’s) actually living inside a movie.” Over the past four years, he has dabbled in multiple different areas of filmmaking, but it wasn’t until about a year and a half ago that he really became serious. He has since completed nine total films to date and created his own production company, A Mexican and a Jew Productions, with his good friend Mike Diaz. Jonathan has primarily been a producer and director, but has “started writing this year as well and truly enjoys being able to create and develop a story from the absolute beginning!”
A Mexican and a Jew Productions is currently working on bringing Jonathan’s script, “The Lesson” to life. “’The Lesson’ was originally inspired by a man who had worked over a hundred jobs by the age of twenty-four. After a brainstorming session with (Jonathan’s) brother, it then morphed into the current story about a downtrodden middle aged man in pursuit of employment who continuously gets derailed by an unstoppable force.” This project has been Jonathan’s favorite production so far. It is the second script he has ever written and he is acting as “the Co-Producer, Director, and Editor of the project!” Jonathan says that this has “been (his) biggest challenge in (his) short filmmaking career, but (he’s) got a great team and cast that have been helping bring the script that (he) wrote this past summer to life. (He’s) so thankful to everyone who’s contributed along the way and I can’t wait for the final product to be completed!”
“The Lesson” is still in preproduction right now, but it is scheduled to start shooting today, October 19th! Preproduction has gone incredibly smoothly, with the exception of one “location change a week and a half before the shoot.” Jonathan says, “this project has taught me to aim high. You’d be surprised what you can accomplish by simply reaching out and asking for something. There are truly no limits but the ones you put on yourself. Also, it’s shown me how important it is to have a great TEAM of people around you.” A Mexican and a Jew Productions plan to Premiere “The Lesson” in mid to Late November and hopes to take it to various film festivals throughout the US.
Jonathan’s ultimate goal in the film community is to enjoy “a fulfilling and long lasting career while bringing some originality to the industry.” Aside from “The Lesson” he is also working on “a documentary on student filmmakers shooting on 16mm film.” Jonathan is all about collaboration. He believes that “teamwork is the only way! Anything that can help improve a project is what I am about. Every single one of us can learn something new every day.” For updates on current and upcoming projects, like A Mexican and a Jew Productions on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. If you would like to work with Jonathan, you can email him here.