Filmmaker sets sights on revealing a forgotten musical link
Photo: Natasha Kahn in ‘Madly,’ screening at The Neon July 6
By T.T. Stern-Enzi
For one night only on July 6, The Neon will host a benefit screening of “Madly,” an anthology collection comprising six international shorts from an eclectic group of directors (including actress Mia Wasikowska), offering six unique visions of modern love, which, as David Bowie told us back in the 1980s, “walks beside me / walks on by.” Love certainly is a mercurial thing, yet in the hands of these filmmakers, it has undeniable allure.
The film’s producer, Eric Mahoney, will be on hand to introduce the film and answer questions following the screening. He’s promoting his next project, a documentary feature he’s producing and directing on Brainiac, an influential indie band from the 1990s that arose from the Dayton music scene, capturing worldwide buzz. The film is a labor of love by a filmmaker and musician (fronting Murder Your Darlings) ready to show how Dayton’s art scene has always been ready for the world.
I spoke with Mahoney, in advance of his appearance, about his twin passions—film and music.
How did you get involved as a producer of the project? How closely did you get to work with the individual filmmakers, casts, and crews?
Eric Mahoney: In May of 2014, I was hired by Executive Producer Nusrat Durrani to be the lead producer on this idea he had for a global anthology of love stories. My directive was to enlist and curate six filmmakers I thought were doing interesting work and could create unorthodox and challenging stories about all different types of love (be it romantic, paternal, love lost, love of self, first love, etc.).
Over the course of a year and a half, I sought out the directors, got them on board, and oversaw the production in six different countries. Initially I asked for treatments from the filmmakers and based on the strength of those submissions green-lit the short films or not. Once we had all the directors and stories in place, I oversaw all aspects of their productions from NYC (sometimes visiting set), but mainly reviewing scripts, cuts, etc.
Once the films were delivered I worked with an editor and designed the intro and closing credits as well as the interstitials between films that “move” the audience from one place to another.
In 2016, the film earned the opening night selection for international competition at the Tribeca Film Festival where it later won best actress (Radhika Apte) for her performance in the first film by Anurag Kashyap. I then took the film to numerous festivals around the world (Melbourne, Mumbai, Martha’s Vineyard, and many others).
As a filmmaker yourself (and more importantly as a Dayton native), if you were to create a Dayton segment, what would it look like and focus on?
EM: In regards to a Dayton version…interesting question. I think given the current political landscape perhaps a story about whether or not love can conquer in a relationship where people hold different political ideologies would be interesting to see.
Time to get a couple of questions in about Brainiac. As a newbie with no familiarity with the band, could you discuss the music scene—both in Dayton and beyond—during their time? Were you aware of and following them at the time? And did Brainiac influence your own music?
EM: So yes, the ’90s music scene heavily influenced me musically. I graduated high school in ’96 so being in Dayton during the mid ’90s was a real gift. I began playing guitar in ’92 and going to local shows. I often saw The Method, Guided by Voices, Cage, and, most importantly for me, Brainiac. They were absolutely jaw-dropping and, along with the rise of The Breeders and GBV, gave me a tremendous sense of pride about where I was from. Additionally, they made me feel like being in a successful band from a small town was possible.
During that time period, The Jesus Lizard, Girls Against Boys, Fugazi, and The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion heavily influenced me. I definitely feel like one of my first bands, The Vincents, was directly trying to emulate Brainiac, but I quickly realized that they were way too original and brilliant to be copied. Hence, I went on to do what served my abilities and sensibilities better. You’re never going to produce good art wearing your influences on your sleeve that obviously, and I needed to find my own voice. I just think being a young musician with such admiration for Brainiac, I initially just wanted to be like that.
How is the documentary progressing? What are your plans for its release and distribution?
EM: The documentary has been an incredible experience thus far and I have about 20 interviews in the can. I am currently looking to partner with additional financiers to complete the post-production process. My intent is to get the film on the festival circuit in 2018 and seek distribution at that time, as well.
‘Madly’ screens Thursday, July 6 at The Neon, 130 E. Fifth St. in downtown Dayton. For tickets or more information, please call 937.222.8452 or visit NeonMovies.com. For more information about Eric Mahoney’s documentary, please visit