Jordan Raup – Movie Enthusiast and Co-founder of thefilmstage.com
An interview with Jordan Raup, movie enthusiast and co-founder of the website The Film Stage (www.thefilmstage.com).
First off, the basics. Tell us who you are, your favorite movie ever and why, and a little about your website.
My name is Jordan Raup and I’m the co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Film Stage. I started the site back in September of 2008 with a friend, while studying film at the University at Buffalo. We both loved the medium and figured we could provide our own look at the industry. A major proponent was the lack of interest in current Hollywood trends, in both arthouse and blockbuster cinema, at our college. Frustrated, we created this site to provide a mix of both, but leaning towards the former.
As for my favorite film, I have two go-to answers. On a technical level, I believe The Godfather Part I and II are the finest crafted, must engrossing examples of as close as “perfect” a film could be. On breaks during college I would catch up on so-called classics at night. At around 1am one early morning, I popped in The Godfather and was so enthralled, my eyes were glued to the screen until it ended. The next night I did again with Part II. It sounds like a cliche answer, but the pair of films did more to open my eyes than most.
Then there is the film that confirmed my love for cinema and making it a career. That would be Alfonso Cuaron’s Children of Men. I remember getting a screener of the film and immediately watching it again as soon as it ended. When it finally came out in theaters in the states I was there opening day again. Cuaron is able to create such a vivid world, I was captivated from the start.
Give us some background on your website. How did it get started? Was the idea yours? Are you doing as well as you thought you would? What’s your goal for the website?
I previously expanded it a bit, but we began the site in September 2008 on a simple Blogspot domain. I remember talking to my co-founder and saying we should have a place where we should cover film, as our non-film friends complained of us talking about it 24/7. Our first big coverage was of Toronto International Film Festival 2008. Going to school in Buffalo, it was a quick trip. That next January 2009 we got our own domain where we reside now and it has grown ever since.
It has far exceeded my expectations. With each new month as we’ve grown and grown, we’re astounded at our audience’s dedication. All the opportunities we’ve been given whether it be the screenings, interviews or ability to cover film festivals, it has been an absolute joy to be able to do what we love on a daily basis. We have many goals, but ultimately it would be a dream to become the top place to go for extensive film festival coverage, as well as analysis on happenings in the industry you wouldn’t get anywhere else.
When did you realize you wanted to focus your career around movies?
Since I was little (I’m talking toddler-age) I wanted to watch as many films as I could. I remember my mom only letting me have one during the morning or afternoon. I would, of course, choose the morning most days to not excuse the possibility of two films a day. It started off with such films as The Land Before Time and The Lion King, but my adoration for films only increased from there.
Since then I focused my sights on the media industry and always been heavily into technology, and the marriage of the two. In high school, I started my own video editing business, a craft which still continues today. In college, I knew exactly what I wanted to study and pursued that with passion.
What film festivals have you been to? Award shows? What’s been your favorite experience so far and why?
I attend New York and Tribeca Film Festivals, and as I site we’ve covered Cannes, SXSW and more, but there are two festivals that I adore more than the rest. The first is Toronto International Festival, as it will be my sixth year going. The selection is vast with hundreds of films, but if you plan carefully one can see a fair chunk of the movies that will be the most awarded of the year as well as many that will see releases in the coming years.
I also love attending the Sundance Film Festival, as I just got back from my second trip there. There is an unparalleled sense of discovery as the majority of films one has little idea what to expect going on. It is also the most “fun” of festivals, with a great feeling of community. If anyone lives anywhere near a film festival is going on, I highly encourage them to check out the line-up and visit. With so many Hollywood releases getting shaped after test screenings upon test screenings to be the most audience-friendly film as possible, it is a treat to see some unfiltered cinema.
Have you met anybody of note?
I find it a bit silly to get excited over a celebrity you met for no more than five minutes. But the true “people of note” I’ve met is the community of fellow film journalists and critics I’ve gotten to know over the years. As we come together during film festivals or at screenings a number of times to week, I’ve made some great friends to talk movies and more with.
Good answer. Is the website the only part of your movie career? Do you have time to do anything else?
With the site in its infancy, it still just a part-time hobby and would honestly be impossible to live off in a city like New York. I also have a day job in social media and currently editing an independent feature film. I find it to be nice to get another perspective on film from different facets in the industry. Time is certainly tight juggling all these activities, but I enjoy working hard.
Where do you see the website going in the next few years? What are your plans to expand it?
I can’t reveal anything specific but the internet is drastically changing and it is advantageous to be on top of the latest evolving technologies. We have many plans to expand into new areas, so stay tuned to The Film Stage for the latest.