Justin Fornal is an eccentric independent film maker with a unique creative mind and hardcore guerrilla approach. Since graduating with a degree in film from University of Pittsburgh in 2000 he has produced a series of acclaimed underground science fiction works including the much sought after feature length cult classic Canzo Empyrean. The film’s final scene features Fornal’s character fighting on the Manhattan tower of the Brooklyn Bridge, a scene which landed the film maker in jail. Quotes such as, “I can’t imagine someone renting the Brooklyn Bridge for less than I did…a $160 fine,” summarize Fornal’s no-hold barred way of getting cinematic results.
The film premiered in Monrovia, Liberia in June 2007 and led to near riotous conditions. The film’s U.S. premiere took place one year later in an abandoned ballroom beneath the Bronx. Fornal transformed the space by hand into his own personal guerrilla theater equipped with a bar, chandeliers, and 12 foot screen, and seating for 100 people. He christened it the “Mastabah to Megiddo”.
Since moving to the Bronx nine years ago he has become one of the borough’s most recognizable faces. This is due largely to his presence both on and off screen as culinary ambassador Baron Ambrosia. The character first emerged in 2006 when Fornal produced the Underbelly video podcast for Libsyn Media. The show’s unique hybrid format of sketch comedy mixed with culinary journalism enabled it to quickly become iTunes #1 food podcast. Handling both creative (writing & directing) and technical (editing) aspects of the project enabled Fornal to get large amounts of work done in a short time with no budget. In 2008 the show was picked up by Bronxnet 67, given a budget, renamed “Bronx Flavor” and received a New York Emmy Nomination. Episodes have guest starred Bronx legends Grandmaster Melle Mel, Joe Bataan, Sal Fever, and Opera Steve.
On Wednesday May 12, 2010, with BronxNet’s consent,” Bronx Flavor” Season 3 began its rebroadcast on NYC Life (aka NYC TV). NYC Life reaches all five boroughs as well as parts of Connecticut and New Jersey. As part of the campaign, NYC Life put Baron Ambrosia (along with other show hosts) on 103 New York City bus shelters. Footage from the show is also included in a preview reel of the network’s new programming on small monitors in 13,000 taxi-cabs.
On May 14, 2010, New York Times City Critic Ariel Kaminer reviewed Bronx Flavor saying, “In its own bizarre way, the show’s humor is as unpredictable, and as specific to its time and place, as Monty Python was to Oxbridge of the late 1960s (fewer references to Proust and more to bikini waxing).”
In between seasons Fornal zipped off to West Africa to personally mine for a conflict-free diamond to use in his wedding proposal. He documented the process for a documentary project called Forever in the Rough. Today Fornal continues to blend and bend genres to create fresh recipes of cinema and recently gained the film rights to the life of African Warlord General Butt Naked (a script that is in the works). Through all manner of projects Fornal has always sworn by VEGAS Pro Software.
“VEGAS made compositing effortless, made manipulating text a breeze, and was really the first (and still only) NLE to allow real-time, not-having-to-wait-for-a-render to do anything! And all of this running on a $400 PC built out of spare parts. When we started editing (circa 2002, or maybe 2003) we were doing things with much higher production value then our equipment should have allowed for. Today, there is still no program that we can use to get from raw footage to final render quicker. Its strong roots in audio production means you can edit your full score or quickly drop in some MP3’s and sound effects with no problems at all. With plugins like Magic Bullet even on budget hardware you can create high production value.
“The editing I do in VEGAS is as much the identity of my work as the script and story boards. Comedy is all in the timing, and the timing is all in the editing. A few misplaced frames can drain a massive amount of a joke’s impact. In regards to the look; as outrageous as a visual effect I may want pull off, very rarely have I ever had to look outside of VEGAS’s abilities to make it happen.”
Get a taste of Bronx Flavor at: www.bronxflavor.com