KC Filmmaker Benjamin Meade’s newest project provides artists with room to work.
Local filmmaker Benjamin Meade (“Das Bus,” “Bazaar Bizarre,” “American Music: Off the Record”) rarely does anything halfway—including having a midlife crisis.
Two years ago Meade found himself reeling after the double whammy of his mother’s death (she was hit by a drunk driver) and the breakup of his marriage. He quit his job as head of the film program at Avila University and retreated to Arkansas to complete his latest documentary, “Woke Up This Mornin’ in the Arkansas Delta.”
Now Meade, 59, is back in town with a new passion. In November he rented 1,850 square feet of space in The Studios, Inc., the not-for-profit haven for artists at 1708 Campbell on the far eastern edge of the Crossroads.
Amid bohemian splendor/squalor, Meade works on his documentary film projects. He also has an analog recording studio with everything from a mini-Moog synthesizer, theremin and drum kits, to more than 100 guitars—many signed by notables like Pete Seeger, Eric Clapton, Les Paul and Willie Nelson. Here he hosts bi-monthly jam sessions.
But his real purpose is to encourage other artists who may not have the wherewithal to get their careers started. Meade provides free working space to upwards of a half dozen struggling creators, like video editor Jermaine Thomas and former Hallmark designer Deborah Wright, and he throws insurance and security costs into the bargain.
It’s all personally financed by Meade, who has a comfortable nest egg from a previous incarnation as a financial consultant.
“The idea is to take talented people who don’t have the means to move forward and give them a place to work,” he explains. “And it becomes a kind of cooperative…I help them with their projects, and they contribute to mine.”
Currently on Meade’s radar is a documentary about career-criminal-turned-born-again-Christian Henry Floyd Brown, who has spent 54 of his 86 years behind bars. He hopes to complete the project by summer’s end.
For more information on Meade’s new effort, visit cosmiccowboystudio.com