Cleveland International Film Festival } April 7 – April 20, 2021

Hobos and knives and wolves. Oh my!

March 20, 2015   |   posted by Lara Klaber in Filmmakers

jojo.jpg

When a director warns you that his children’s film is not for over-protective parents, it’s hard to know what that means. That is, until you see an image of a wolf dragging a young girl by her pant leg. The young actress is the director’s daughter, but more surprisingly, the wolf is real.

“The Incredible Adventures of JoJo (And His Annoying Little Sister)” is a thrilling adventure ride that will surely inspire laughing and giggling from young audiences along the way. Yet it’s the parents who seem to enjoy it the most, according to writer Brian Schmidt, who co-directs with his wife, Ann-Marie.

The film is about a boy named JoJo who feels he is being sidelined by the attention his baby sister is getting. They end up in a car accident deep in the woods and over the course of their grand adventure to find their way home, JoJo comes to terms with the fact that he loves his sister. And that he probably shouldn’t sell her to the circus, either.

“What we really want is for kids to realize there is an entire world of adventure they can have right in their own back doors,” Schmidt says. “We also hope parents remember when they were younger and they were the ones staying out until the street lights came on; and maybe they’ll let their kids have a little bit more freedom to get into their own adventures.”

The Schmidts use a narrator so that the audience can share in the experience by understanding how the kids perceive their environment. They credit their nephew ,Jojo, who plays the title character, with helping them work out what he thought would be the best way to accomplish what they were going for.

“When you’re a kid, you see the world in such a different light, it’s always endless possibilities,” Schmidt says. “As a filmmaker, we get a chance to play around with that vision and make things more fantastical.”

He likes that however bad things seem to get, Jojo and Avila are able to hold on to their optimism. In making the film, the Schmidts wanted to capture the spirit of the two children as much as possible, saying that even for the next year or so afterwards, JoJo would continue to refer to Avila as his sister.

“Avila had a bad habit of trying to eat anything she could get her hands on, sometimes with disasterous results like cigarette butts and other gross stuff she found in parks,” he says. “JoJo also has a unique look on life; and as a side note he was at that age where he had a penchant for peeing on stuff wherever he was.”

The Schmidts want people who see their film to learn that a good film can come from anywhere, not just Hollywood.

“We were living in the middle of nowhere [Suey Creek Canyon in Nipomo, CA], at the end of a very long dirt road,” he explains. “They have bullfrogs the size of softballs there, and you are constantly trying to dodge the deer that seem to lie in wait in the brush before they see your truck and then dash out at the last second. We got a camera, took our kids, went into the canyon, and we came out with a film that we’re very excited about.”

Lisa Curland

PDF  Download Related PDF [1.4 MB]

Related Screenings:
03/19/15 @ 2:10 PM – The Incredible Adventures of Jojo (and his annoying sister Avila)
03/20/15 @ 4:30 PM – The Incredible Adventures of Jojo (and his annoying sister Avila)
03/21/15 @ 7:30 PM – The Incredible Adventures of Jojo (and his annoying sister Avila)

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