--2 Less Is Moritsugu
Sept. 20, 2017
Jon Moritsugu

Less Is Moritsugu

Independent filmmaker Jon Moritsugu discusses his craft and screens his work.

December 3, 2010, 1:00 am
By Bryon Adams Harford
For anyone who has ever wanted to make an independent film, for lovers of indie punk rock or for those who think a film sequence set amid 800 pounds of rotting flesh sounds cool, A Day with Jon Moritsugu might just be the go-to event of the year.

The faculty of the Moving Image Arts Department at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design pulls back the veil to examine the product and process of underground filmmaker and musician Moritsugu.

The filmmaker joins his wife Amy Davis and independent film distributor Tetsuki Ijichi to discuss “How to make your own independent film and make a living doing it.” Later, Moving Arts Department faculty member and fellow underground filmmaker Anthony Buchanan joins in a panel discussion with Moritsugu, and several of Moritsugu’s early short films are screened. A screening of Moritsugu’s feature length film Mod Fuck Explosion follows, along with a Q&A session with the filmmaker and Davis afterward. These events give attendees practical insight into the method behind Moritsugu's madness. 

Born in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1965, Moritsugu now lives and works in Santa Fe. He released his first short film in 1986 and his first feature length film in 1990.

Moritsugu has directed six feature films and six short films, 10 of which he also wrote. He is the recipient of three best feature awards at the New York Underground Film Festival for Mod Fuck Explosion (1994), Fame Whore (1997) and Scumrock (2002).

The director credits indie music as a major influence on his early career in film. 

“I definitely noticed, in the indie music scene in the '80s, that those musicians who weren’t getting one of the major record deals were just getting out there and doing it on their own,” Moritsugu tells SFR.

Moritsugu’s films mix driving punk rock soundtracks with poorly constructed set pieces and intentionally cartoonish acting. He often uses 16mm film to enhance the lo-fi effect, and does much of the editing himself.

His films combine themes such as alienation, teenage angst and the evils of commercial success for low-budget cultural satires.

“They just sort of push your buttons, you love them or hate them,” Moritsugu says. “I think my films are absolutely funny and they’re artsy at the same time.”

When asked if he has a favorite among his films, Moritsugu says he is still most proud of Mod Fuck Explosion

“It’s also the film where Amy [Davis] and I were falling in love on the set. It’s like you’re making a cake and you’ve made it a thousand times, and that one time it comes out perfect,” Moritsugu says.

What’s next for the DIY filmmaker?  Moritsugu is working on what he describes as his magnum opusPig Death Machine, with director and frequent collaborator Todd Verow.

While he is reluctant to talk about the project, because it is still in production, Moritsugu does say, “We’re also making a documentary about the making of the film, it’s kind of like Apocalypse Now and Hearts of Darkness [: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse]."

Find out how it's all done Wednesday, in this one-of-a-kind event.


Noon-2 pm
Wednesday, Dec. 8


Short film screening and panel discussion

6:30 pm


Screening of Mod Fuck Explosion

10 pm


The Screen
1600 St. Michael’s Dr.


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