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Ash Avildsen talks ‘What Now’ and Sumerian Films

Filmmaker Ash Avildsen just released his first projects, "What Now," which he wrote, directed and starred in. (Courtesy of  Bobby Quillard)

Filmmaker Ash Avildsen just released his first projects, “What Now,” which he wrote, directed and starred in. (Courtesy of Bobby Quillard)

Ash Avildsen has accomplished a lot in his life.

He’s a successful music man as the founder of Sumerian Records.

The company is home to bands such as Asking Alexandria, Circa Survive, I See Stars and Periphery to name a few.

Yet there was something missing.

Avildsen has made his way into the film industry with his first film, “What Now” which he wrote, directs and stars in. He’s also started a film company called Sumerian Films.

“The response has been great,” he says during a recent interview. “We’ve been pushing the movie on social media and it’s out now on video on demand and iTunes.”

In addition to writing and directing the film, Avildsen stars as “DJ” alongside his two real-life best friends who are all trying to come to terms with being unfulfilled by their careers and lack of girlfriends.

They discover the swipe dating app, Tinder, which leads to a wild ride as doors open and close, and the friends discover that anyone who would judge someone based on how many followers they have online, where they live, work or the car they drive has their own soul-searching to do.

Avildsen wrote the film at the end of 2013.

Ash Avildsen is also the founder of Sumerian Records. (Courtesy of Bobby Quillard)

Ash Avildsen is also the founder of Sumerian Records.
(Courtesy of Bobby Quillard)

“I didn’t think there had been a fun comedy that tapped into online dating,” he says. I thought it would be fun to look into the swipe dating world.”

Avildsen says the fact that online dating through the swipe app says something about our society.

“The most popular dating is based on seeing someone’s photo for a second,” he says. “It’s very superficial. At the same time it’s efficient.”

Casting was held for the characters in the film.

Avildsen says every role was cast except for the three main roles.

“I couldn’t find anyone to bring together and have the chemistry that the characters had on the page,” he says. “This is when my best friends and I stepped in. The movie was already based a little on us. And we had the chemistry.”

Avildsen says it ws fun to work with two of his closest friends, though the lines of friendship and work got blurred.

“At the end of the day, I pushed them and it turned out way better,” he says. “Luckily, I had experience working together with them in the music business. Though with music, I was there advising them on their careers.”

After filming for a few months, Avildsen began the editing process with his team of editors.

He often found himself sitting in on every session, which was about 300 hours of editing.

“Editing can make or break a film,” he says. “It was important to get this film right in every aspect.”

Avildsen is excited about his new film and hopes to make more in the future.

He’s finding ways to balance both a film and music career.

Though to choose between the two, it’s a difficult decision.

“There are pros and cons to both of them,” he says. “That’s a loaded question.”

He loves music because once a song is created you will listen to that song probably more than you watch a movie.

Working with his bands, he is constantly involved in every aspect.

“I’m always trying to make the best move for my artists and guide them,” he says. “A lot of them can be stubborn. With film, it’s refreshing because you can take everyone’s ideas in and work from there. I’ve spent many years convincing artists of the right thing and with film, everyone’s on the same boat. Everyone is looking to get the job done in the best way possible.”

The film also co-stars Ice T, Bone Thugs N Harmony, WWE Legends Jim Ross, Jake The Snake Roberts and Steven Adler of Guns N’ Roses.

Avildsen says he hopes to create more film projects and hopefully will land some in New Mexico.

“I’m always looking for great locations for films,” he says. “We’ll see how all my projects go in the future.”

Ash Avildsen wrote the film, "What Now" at the end of 2013 and spent nearly six months working on the film. (Courtesy of Bobby Quillard)

Ash Avildsen wrote the film, “What Now” at the end of 2013 and spent nearly six months working on the film. (Courtesy of Bobby Quillard)

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