Monday, July 22, 2019

2019 Festival Judge: Jozef K. Richards

Jozef K. Richards (born July 9, 1989) is an American film director, actor, screenwriter, and producer. He founded King's Tower Productions, which controls numerous other entertainment-based companies and primarily distributes media through Vimeo, Amazon, and YouTube.

Jozef K. Richards is the founder and owner of King's Tower Productions and the writer and director of the 2011 film, The Amateur Monster Movie; the 2013 film, The Wayward Sun; and the 2014 short film, "Un Jardín Adentro de La Violencia".

Since 2015, Richards has produced and starred in the satirical Amazon series, "Holy Shit", which takes aim at religious dogma, its lack of credibility, and pokes fun at the lesser-known absurdities of The Bible and similar religious texts, including many of those taken literally by some sects of the Christian faith. The show often features skits with atheists cholars and celebrity guests, which have included comedian Paul Provenza, theologian Robert M. Price, historian Richard Carrier, actress Heather Henderson, author David Fitzgerald, and American rapper and Wu-Tang Clan affiliate Killah Priest.

In 2016, the teaser trailer for Richards' third feature film, Batman & Jesus, was unveiled and used as the lead-in video by members of the Wu-Tang Clan (GZA, Method Man, Raekwon, Cappadonna, Killah Priest, and DJ Mathematics) during their first ever performance at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. where they appeared as the headlining act for Reason Rally, one of the world's largest secular and religious skeptic gatherings. Richards' Batman & Jesus is an atheist-leaning documentary on the historicity of a Jesus of Nazareth that stars Provenza and features interviews with many who Richards worked with previously on "Holy Shit", including Price, Carrier, Fitzgerald, and Killah Priest, as well as activist and podcaster Aron Ra. The film premiered at Milwaukee's Pabst Theater on September 30, 2017 following Mythinformation Conference IV which featured a live debate on "The Future of Islam in the Age of Trump" between Asra Nomani and Faisal Saeed Al-Mutar, who appears as an interviewee in Richards' film as well.

Beyond religious examination, Richards has also released several broader projects and series within the comedy genre, including the web-series "Friday Night Weekly" that ran for two seasons, traveling to Colombia, Egypt, and the UAE in that time. Richards starred as himself in "Friday Night Weekly" and was joined by co-hosts Matt Henry, a Milwaukee area comedian, and future WYMS Radio Milwaukee deejay Makenzie Boettcher. Satirist Reuben Glaser was featured as the special reporter, and Aaron Fronk, Vince DeGaetano, and Cooper Johnson of FND Films guest starred in one of the series' most viewed episodes, "FND for Vendetta". Richards also worked with fellow Wisconsin filmmaker Mark Borchardt of American Movie on his first film, The Amateur Monster Movie, which premiered at the Oriental Theatre on January 1, 2011 and was featured in the 2012 Wisconsin Film Festival with a double screening on 4/20 and 4/21.

Richards would later go on with Reuben Glaser, creator of 2012's "Little Face Mitt" meme, to create a widely covered segment at a political rally in Appleton, Wisconsin for then-candidate Donald Trump during his 2016 Presidential Campaign where they managed to get into the press box alongside reporters from CNN, NBC, MSNBC, and others, despite the Trump campaign's rigid entrance requirements and Richards and Glaser's blatant lack of adequate credentials.

In 2018, Richards' fifth short film "Nicolas Cage Mother Mary" premiered at the Milwaukee Short Film Festival on September 8 where it won an Audience Favorite award. Richards was also featured on a filmmaker panel at the event discussing film in Wisconsin, hosted by Michael Viers of "The Shamelist Picture Show".

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