Well, we’ve got some pretty big news folks, and we’re going to shoot it from the hip, and give it to you straight from the heart. Forgive us if our commas resemble teardrops, because we’re going to get a little gooshy: a documentary our founder, Jeremy, produced and edited called Dennis & Lois is premiering at Doc NYC in November. Give us a minute.
And we’re back. First some details.
The director of Dennis & Lois Chris Cassidy and Jeremy first met in January of 2010, while Jeremy was working at the Emeryville office of a production house called TurnHere. One of the producers there asked Jeremy to tele-assist a fella in New York City having some exporting issues in Final Cut Pro. Always one to help, Jeremy answered the phone, and Chris introduced himself. And so it began…
Chris said he was having a problem with a project TurnHere had hired him to work on, and it was nearly impossible to diagnose the issue over the phone. Jeremy offered to remotely connect to his computer through iChat, and had the issue fixed in no time, leaving a lot of time for the two to lay the foundation for a long-lasting, long-distance friendship.
Fast forward a year (well, fast rewind 8, then forward 1) and Chris gave Jeremy a ring to tell him he was going to be in San Francisco for a project, and the two finally met up for drinks. They talked about everything and nothing, when the conversation ultimately tended toward a new film Chris was in the early stages on, about a couple in New York City that are the epitome music fans. Chris had already flown to England a few times to film the couple at rock shows in Manchester. Though the project still lacked a narrative per se, it caught Jeremy’s attention immediately, and there was already enough material in the can for a potential editor to take a stab at cutting together some short vignettes. In 2012, Chris gave Jeremy a shot at doing just that, and many of those early scenes made it into the final film frame-for-frame.
At its core, Dennis and Lois is a love story about Punk Rock’s most dedicated couple (the eponymous Dennis and Lois) and their 40-year devotion to music and the musicians they love. These two road warriors live for the live concert, in all its communal, ecstatic, transcendent glory and goodness, through the good times, and the bad. The movie tells the story of the duo’s journey, which began in the mid-70’s at a gritty little club in NYC called CBGB’s. It was there that Dennis and Lois befriended an up-and-coming band called The Ramones. You’ve probably heard of them. But back then, they were still paying their dues. D and L got there first.
After that, Dennis and Lois quickly became part of the Ramones’ inner circle, selling merchandise and assisting the future punk legends on tours around the world. This experience would set the stage for how their lives would unfold. Through the years, and to this day, Dennis and Lois continue to build friendships, support, and sell merchandise for the bands they admire and love. Happy Mondays immortalized them in a song, and SPIN magazine published a comic strip celebrating their “war stories from the road.” Dennis and Lois are veritable icons of Rock ‘n’ Roll, which is why, even as age and illness threaten their lifelong tour, it’s become a group effort to keep their journey alive. Through the tough times, they have needed to rely on friends and the music to keep them going, and to memorialize their journey.
This is what, in no small part, Chris has done. For nearly a decade, Chris has been documenting Dennis and Lois’s incredible story, and now it’s time to share it with the world. The film has been a catalyst of passion, brought people together, and will no doubt inspire others to come together — over music, over art, over film — as well. Jeremy came on as the first partner in the film, but he wasn’t the last.
The passion project has left an indelible mark on Jeremy’s life, teaching him a lot about patience, persistence, and the filmmaking process. Steve Jobs, one of Jeremy’s heroes, hit the nail on the head when he said,
“People say you have to have a lot of passion for what you’re doing and it’s totally true and the reason is because it’s so hard that if you don’t any rational person would give up. So if you don’t love it, if you’re not having fun doing it, and you don’t really love it then you’re going to give up.”
That’s Dennis and Lois all over. But don’t take our word for it. See the film.
The world premiere of Dennis and Lois is at Doc NYC on 11/15 at 9:45pm