Corey Asraf splits his time between LA and NJ and just wrapped up his first feature film, Let Me Make You A Martyr that is set for a June premiere in Montreal. The sordid film features Marilyn Manson as a hit man and the story scratches at the dark corners of the mind.
“If I were to put it into movie critic lingo,” Corey said. “I guess I’d say it’s a cerebral crime drama set in the gritty backdrop of the underbelly of a forgotten America.”
But where did the idea for Let Me Make You A Martyr come from?
The Land Of Misfit Toys
Growing up in Asbury Park and filming experiences on the boardwalk with his brother influenced Corey to pursue film by the age of 13. “I was in a really dark place in my life, I had no means to realize my dreams and I was terribly depressed. Getting from running around with a camera and a dream to working with professional crews took a long time,” Corey explained.
But there was something about Asbury Park that perpetuated Corey forward into a creative life of shaking things up and using film as his vessel to express great ideas. “Asbury Park has a long history of incubating creativity, the community there is tight-knit and extremely supportive,” Corey said. “I’ve heard it called ‘the land of misfit toys,’ and that always stuck with me.”
Corey is currently working on a story about his father and will be abroad for a few weeks doing research. “My father was heavily involved with organized crime, he had a few semi-legitimate businesses on the boardwalk in the 90’s until he fled the country and lived in hiding for close to a decade. The reason I wanted to become a filmmaker was to tell his story,” Corey said.
What Does A Shaker Do?
Shakers don’t just shake things up out of nowhere. It takes time, hard work, and according to Corey, “listening to the new Brick + Mortar album a few times.” Perfecting his script was one of the most important things that lead to the success of the film. In addition to focusing on the development of meaty characters to draw extraordinary actors to his script, Corey conducted a thorough search for cinematographers as well.
“Waiting around for some mysterious ‘producer’ to make the film happen just doesn’t work at all,” Corey added.
It wasn’t until coming across one of Jeff Melanson’s films called ‘Mateo’s Room’ that Corey knew he found his guy.
“What we learned from shooting that film is how critical it is to surround ourselves with people we can communicate in order to have the vision realized despite the inevitable problems that arise,” Corey said. Surround yourself with like-minded people if you really want to get the most out of the day.
Working with Marilyn Manson was a game changer according to Corey.
“One moment that stands out in my mind would be while in a conversation he was referring to a version of the script that was over a year old,” Corey said. “Apparently he had read a copy long before we knew he was going to be in the film, or even had the money to shoot it for that matter. The guy’s got magical powers, spooky stuff.”
Where Does A Shaker Go From Here?
In order to keep shaking things up in the film industry, Corey plans to experience as much as he can and write most of it down to share with all of us.
“For the rest of the year I will be writing and reflecting,” Corey said. “In 5 years, I am ideally surrounded by a team of people working to make films that I care about. In 10 years, I’ll probably be sipping San Pellegrino and vodka with Richard Branson in outer space.”
Here at Cowerks, we hope Corey gets it all on video.