Kuner X of Homer is looking to connect with artists in the greater Cortland area as he works to complete an animated film.
The caregiver to people with disabilities and the elderly has a young family and teen son, yet carves out time for his film project in his home studio.
“It’s a story I wrote a few years ago,” X said. “It’s been in the works since then.”
His film, “Amen” is a satirical dramedy, following the plight of characters coming to grips with a string of suicides in a large city. A team of investigators are tracking the deaths. But the story follows a group as they explore their spirituality.
X is an Auburn native who has his bachelor’s degree in film and TV production from SUNY Fredonia.
He worked on three episodes of The High School Drama Show several years ago, a YouTube cartoon for adults, published a satire script, “Imagine X” in 2009, and has done wedding videography, animation and public relations work more than 15 years.
“I film people in front of a blue screen,” he said. Then he meshes their image via computer with animation to tell a story.
Anyone interested in an audition can email firstname.lastname@example.org. People can do one- or two-hour roles and those who are new to acting can use a teleprompter. He’s looking for a waiter and waitress, a male and female newscaster, an elderly woman and male and female bartenders.
“I’ve been doing this process about a decade now,” said X, who changed his name five years ago to create a memorable name in film. His last name was Coon and his friends in high school called him Cooner, so he came up with Kuner X.
X also loves tattoos. He’s been tattooing himself and friends since 2008 and has a couple of tattoo artists, one at Omorphia Ink in Cortland, he goes to.
“I’m a big tattoo fan. I love the art form,” X said. “I do a lot of yoga deep breathing to get through it and red wine afterward.”
He’s got tattoos over most of his body.
“You get all types of reactions. … I am asked the certain same questions. ‘Is that real?’ ‘Does that hurt.’ ‘What the hell were you thinking?’” X said. “This area is a family-friendly town. However I have had nice comments with people around here. They may not agree with me but it’s an ice breaker. Another thing to talk about, like the weather. I have had my face tattooed for years.”
“People stare at you, but you get used to it.”
He’s also into piercing and has 13 earrings on each ear, two nose rings and a ring on the inner nostril.
“I love earrings. I have been pierced over 100 times over the years,” he said.
His son, Logan, 16, is more embarrassed about his look than his two daughters, who think nothing of it, he said.
X is married to Ashley Bobbett-X, a painter, set designer and actor and they have two daughters, Joy, 3, and Maxine, 7 months. X’s son Logan is from a previous marriage.
The Xs enjoy the Center for the Arts and they want to get more involved. Bobbett-X has been a contributor to Center for Arts’ art challenges.
Sam Avery, SUNY Cortland film professor and head of the college’s Blackbird Film Festival, has not met X, but he knows about film making. Completing a film takes “time, money and a whole lot of grit.”
But all films are different, he said.
“Depending on the length, the format, the size of the cast/crew/story … There are so many variables. I’ve made a film in a weekend while other projects have taken 10-plus years,” Avery said. “If we’re talking about a more typical feature-length film, like the type of films they are making at American High in Syracuse, we’re probably talking three months of preproduction, two months of production and another three months of post.”
Film makers create a story from nothing and must convince everyone involved that it’s worth their time, Avery said.
Shooting the piece can be tedious and expensive. And then, another hurdle, getting it out there.
“The struggle is very, very real,” Avery said.
X worked with local actors Matt Steele and Jack Carr, who are in his film.
Carr, of Cortland, is a singer, actor and director of musicals and met X at Anytime Fitness, where X was hanging up a poster about “Amen.” That started a conversation.
Carr did a part in front the the blue screen in his wool suit from his wardrobe collection, a first time experience. Carr seemed fascinated by X’s studio.
“I met his wife and children,” he said. “I think he’s very creative. I think he’s a very kind person. He’s got so much going on. … This Kuner guy is somebody to know. Anything we can do to help him on his path.”
“I’m always working on projects to keep the habit up,” X said. “My power bills are bad when I am productive. It’s all good. All for the struggle.”
X’s goal is to get the project done and entered into filmfests like SUNY Cortland’s Blackbird Filmfest and Ithaca Fantastik in 2021 or 2022. He wants to get into a guild, too.
But first, the film.
“If I could do that sooner, before the next cholera epidemic, before that happens!” X said.