Wednesday, July 15, 2015

New Press Release for the short film Ivy League Exorcist: The Bobby Jindal Story


The Film Bobby Jindal’s Spokesman Denounced as “Insane”

On June 24, 2015, Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal announced that he would be a 2016 presidential candidate. The members of the film collective CultJam Productions had released the short film about Jindal’s college years, Ivy League Exorcist: The Bobby Jindal Story, on its website ( to rave reviews.  Richard von Busack, the film reviewer for Metro Silicon Valley, called the film “a sharp shocker .  .  . worthy of John Waters.”  Peter Jacobs of the Ivy Gate Blog (now at Business Insider) wrote that Ivy League Exorcist is “probably the best 11-minute film you will watch all day. Trust us.”  The film also was covered by The London Daily Telegraph, Wonkette, and The Huffington Post.

Governor Jindal’s people were less impressed.  Governor Jindal’s spokesman, Kyle Plotkin, said of the film, “That movie is insane. It’s just plain absurd.”

The film is a deadpan comedy film, a postmodern mumblecore-style examination of a disturbing event. The film is a tongue-in-cheek dramatization of the bizarre events that took place in a Brown University classroom in 1990.  Jindal and members of a student Christian group were holding a prayer vigil for a fellow member who had been diagnosed with skin cancer when the afflicted woman suddenly collapsed on the floor, convulsed, and showed sudden and drastic personality changes that Jindal and the other students interpreted as demonic possession.  The group performed a do-it-yourself exorcism on the woman. 

Jindal wrote about the incident in a conservative Catholic journal The New Oxford Review in 1994; the title of the article was “Beating a Demon: Physical Dimensions of Spiritual Warfare.”  Davis got the idea of doing a short film about the incident after he read the New Oxford Review piece in the summer of 2011: “After I finished reading the article,” recounted Davis, “my first thought was, ‘Wow, this is totally surreal!’ My second thought was that of a filmmaker, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to do a reenactment of the exorcism in the form of a mumblecore-style film?’” The film is intended to have a deconditioning effect, that is, it is intended to jolt people out of ordinary modes of thinking.  This film is very postmodern in that it employs pastiche, intertextuality, and blends highbrow and lowbrow elements.  

Eventually Davis saw the subversive media potential of the film: “On the one hand,” Davis quipped, “using a cinema vérité or mumblecore cinematography style, the film would have a documentary feel to it. I was convinced that some people viewing the film would be convinced that it was a documentary of the actual events—I’m reminded of a recent survey indicating that many people didn’t realize that Stephen Colbert’s TV show persona is satirical in nature.  We decided to introduce some over-the-top elements into the film, not just for shock value or cheap laughs, but to test the naïveté of the audience—were they in on the gag?”

Davis noted that the members of CultJam Productions, a film collective, were uniquely suited for the odd nature of the film: “In the nineties, I discovered postmodernism, media hacking, and cyberpunk culture; these aren’t just theories, they were and continue to be a way of life.”  Mario Glaviano, the director, and Francesca Stonum, the co-DP and editor, are graduates of the film program at San Diego State University when they were protégés of postmodernist and cyberpunk theorist Larry McCaffery. The assistant director, Mark Schwab, is a veteran of the mumblecore film movement and whose experiments in improvisation and the do-it-yourself ethic have been landing him accolades in underground film festivals. 

CultJam Productions did a guerilla-style promotion of the film at Comic-Con in San Diego in 2012.  Davis noted, “We created a mini-comic book promoting the film that mimicked the style of the inflammatory fundamentalist Jack Chick comic book tracts; it can be seen here:  Davis quipped, “We handed them out to the conventioneers and most thought we were crazy religionists but some of the more discerning people appreciated the irony and the fact that they were in on the joke.” 

Members of CultJam Productions are concerned that people will think the film is an attempt to influence politics.  “People who think this is a hit job on Jindal don’t get the point,” Davis said, “The college years are a time for people to do stupid things. If anything, I think that with Jindal, unlike Barack Obama who was doing coke in college, at least his heart was in the right place. He meant well. I think there are some deeper issues, nonpolitical ones that the film addresses. 

CONTACT:  Troy Davis, co-producer of CultJam Productions  

Ivy League Exorcist site:
Ivy League Exorcist blog:
CultJam Productions blog:
Ivy League Exorcist IMDb page:

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