Book-Ness with K.P.-Ness: The Adderall Diaries

adderall diaries book artThis is the story of a book → that was made into a movie → that was made into a movie about making the movie → and the film festival that was started because of the movie about the movie.  This is probably a good time to mention that Adderall is involved.

“The Adderall Diaries” is a true crime story about Hans Reiser, a man accused of murdering his wife in 2006.  Reiser is a computer genius who invented a journaling system that changed the way we can retrieve information from our computers.

“The Adderall Diaries” is also a memoir that chronicles Stephen’s attempts to create and understand a relationship with his father, a man he describes in previous books as being abusive. “The Adderall Diaries” shows Elliot trying to understand there are two sides to every story, and that those stories we tell ourselves are true to us and affect us truly, whether they are based in fact or fantasy.

Elliot weaves in and out of these two topics and draws poetic parallels.

“Storing data on a disk, like committing an event to memory, is almost never a one-step process.  If the computer gets interrupted between steps, the file system becomes inconsistent, the computer crashes, and certain data is lost forever.  The journal allows a computer to recover from this catastrophe by resolving inconsistencies, reconciling what can be known with what can’t, providing the narrative bridge between where the computer has been and what the machine has become.”

The person who ties together Stephen’s life and the life of Hans is a character named Sean, who was once a heavy player in the BDSM community but has since become a born-again Christian and has subsequently confessed to the murder of eight people. There is plenty going on in this book, but it all comes together beautifully, although sporadically.  Again, I believe the warning is in the title.

“The Adderall Diaries” was published in 2009; a year later it was optioned by James Franco, which he made into a movie in 2015.  The movie starred James Franco, Christian Slater and Amber Heard.  According to Stephen Elliot, he had nothing to do with the movie, other than writing the book it was based on.  He never went on set while it was being made and only saw the film when it premiered at the Tribeca Film festival in 2015.

Dissatisfied with the way he was portrayed on screen, Stephen Elliot started work on a movie about his book being made into a movie. “After Adderall” is a retaliatory reciprocating movie starring Michael C. Hall and Lili Taylor, as well as authors playing themselves, including Stephen Elliot, Jerry Stahl, Susan Orlean and Michael Cunningham.

Once “After Adderall” was finished, Stephen Elliot began submitting his film to film festivals.  He was surprised at what he found while doing so, ultimately writing an article about the cost and politics of submitting a film.  Then Stephen did what we would expect him to do- make his own film festival- because Stephen Elliot is a Punk Rock, DIY kind of guy. That is how the Rumpus Lo-Fi Los Angeles Film Festival was born.  And guess what movie will be premiered there?  “After Adderall.”

As a fan of Elliot, I am looking forward to the film festival and excited to experience something new, something grassroots.  The Lo-Fi festival will be held on July 30th at Brewery Arts Complex in Los Angeles.  Four movies will be shown, interspersed with two discussion panels; one called “How to film festival” and one called “Life into Art,” the latter about having your art made into a movie.

The movies that were picked to show at the Lo-Fi festival were chosen while Stephen Elliot was writing the article- no fees were charged to these film makers.  You can check out trailers on the website for the four movies that will be shown. Tickets are also available for purchase, either for the entire day, or just for viewing one movie.

Lo-Fi Festival schedule:

  • 11:30 Movie: Search Engines
  • 1:30 Movie: S & M Sally
  • 3:30 Panel: How to Film Festival
  • 5:00 Movie: Creedmoria
  • 7:00 Panel: Life into Art
  • 8:30 Movie: After Adderall

Previously on the L.A. Beat:  Guess I was the last to meet Stephen Elliot 

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K.P. Rennie

About K.P. Rennie

I generally only write reviews about books that I am inspired to read more than once, so my book reviews aren't about new releases that I liked, they are about tried and true books that I LOVE. I favor quirky stories, inspirational memoirs, and real life drama. There are many movies and books that I have enjoyed more than once. If you liked any of these, we probably have similar taste- Books: Peter Pan, Choke, A Life Without Consequences, Fight Club, The Adderall Diaries, Lets Pretend This Never Happened, The Glass Castle, Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, Wild, The Tribes of Palos Verdes, Just Kids, Movies: Little Miss Sunshine, Seven Psychopaths, Ghost World, Pulp Fiction, Hook, Big Fish, Reservoir Dogs, Moonrise Kingdom, Being John Malcovich, I am President of The Fun Zone; The Center for the Study of Funism.
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