Jason Todd Ipson and the Movie Genre Mix

By By Erik Lopez, Staff Writer

By Erik Lopez, Staff Writer

“I care more about story than genre. If someone came in with a script for a musical and it was a cool idea, I would be all over it. I just like storytelling,” said Jason Todd Ipson, a U alumnusnus and writer-director of the forthcoming romantic comedy, “Everybody Wants to be Italian.”

“Everybody Wants to be Italian” is the mixed-up tale of a Polish fishmonger living and working in Boston’s Italian North End who can’t get over a relationship that ended eight years ago. Couple that with his Italian coworkers trying to set him up with a lady who they believe is Italian (which in turn convinces him to act and be Italian to impress her) and you can see that multi-ethnic and Freudian humor will be rife. Considering that this hilarious melodramatic romp chases right after the gurney of his 2006 psychological thriller, “Unrest,” it’s not that much of a stretch to say that storytelling is Ipson’s genre, par excellence.
Ipson enrolled at the U at age 16, majoring in biochemistry. After graduating, he was accepted to the U’s medical school and began training to become a doctor, a move that would eventually lead him to Boston to do a residency in plastic surgery.

“I had film aspirations going through medical school,” Ipson said. “I remember the first day of medical school8212;I looked around the class and thought, “Oh man, am I in trouble8212;I don’t want to be here.'”

It was during this time that Ipson took an honors genetics class at the U so he could study illness and spend his time writing screenplays. He then went on to spend the first half of his first year of medical school writing.

It was during his residency in Boston that Ipson decided to cut his ties with medicine and focus on the power of the talkies. “I didn’t think I could get into film school,” Ipson said. “I thought it would be easier to get into medical school than film school. When I was in residency, I realized life is too short8212;if you are going to do it, do it now.”

It was at this point that he applied, and was ultimately accepted, to USC where he sharpened his filmmaking chops on a short film that would eventually become “Unrest.”

What is interesting, however, is that Ipson started out making comedies but eventually wound up making a horror film to get away from that genre, only to come back to comedy with “Everybody Wants to be Italian.”

“It is much cheaper to make a horror film,” Ipson said. “I won a national scholarship to do a film and I wanted to make a film that would help us “figure it all out.'”

Ipson also credits the College of Humanities for helping him realize that filmmaking was his artistic vocation. “Humanities classes (Intellectual Traditions of the West) kind of screwed me up,” Ipson said. “Because to go from a broad education and thinking all over the place to a focused education is a large reason why I ended up leaving (medicine). I wanted to be able to think and create outside the box.”

Ipson is currently working on two films: one is an action-adventure film while the other, tentatively titled “Suicide Bomber,” is about the Russian-Chechen conflict. Both are slated to be released under his own production company, Asgaard Entertainment, which he runs with another U alumnus, James Huntsman.

“I hop (genres). For me, what matters is liking the story,” Ipson said.

You can catch Ipson’s playful and entertaining spin on the traditional romantic comedy this Friday when it opens in more than 100 theaters nationwide. To find out more, visit www.asgaardentertainment.com.

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