‘Jamie Marks is Dead’ Makes its Youngstown Debut

The 2014 film “Jamie Marks is Dead,” based off YSU professor Chris Barzak’s novel, “One for Sorrow,” will be shown Saturday at The Little Youngstown Cinema. “Jamie Marks is Dead,” starring Cameron Monaghan, was shown at Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.

By Mary Van Jura

On Saturday, Nov. 21, The Little Youngstown Cinema will be showing “Jamie Marks is Dead,” a film based off “One for Sorrow,” a book written by Chris Barzak, author and Youngstown State University associate professor.

“It wasn’t even on my bucket list to see a book turned into a film, but it happened anyway,” Barzak said.

Barzak said he was extremely excited when he was contacted about his book getting made into a movie. “Jamie Marks is Dead” was directed by Carter Smith, and was shown at Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.

Though there were a number of changes made to the storyline, Barzak liked and accepted them. He said that an added scene that did not appear in the book really added to the subplot of the story. The director of the film would even occasionally contact him to consult on changes to be made.

“The filmmakers really didn’t need my approvals — they bought the rights to turn the book into a film, and with those rights comes creative freedom of their own — though the director was kind enough to consult and include me regardless,” Barzak said.

As for the storyline, Barzak said he didn’t have a certain message to get across because it’s not typically his style. He just wanted to present the realities of growing up and dealing with decisions and morality.

“I think I just wanted to capture what it feels like to be a teenage loner in a small town in the Rustbelt who feels different and alienated by his difference from others, and trying to connect with other misfits,” Barzak said.

Barzak said that as a writer, he enjoys how people see his work differently. He may have something different in mind while writing, but it could take on something totally new in the eyes of readers.

“People bring their own experiences to anything they read or watch or listen to, and what one reader or viewer or listener experiences in a work of art or entertainment will be different from someone else with a different set of experiences or background, which influences how we understand and appreciate anything,” Barzak said.

Aspasia Lyras, owner of The Little Youngstown Cinema, said she has wanted to show the film since hearing about its production. She felt that it needed to be brought to Youngstown, and she is excited to show it.

Lyras said she has been a fan of Barzak’s work since she met him at a book release, and she thoroughly enjoys “Jamie Marks is Dead.

“I rented the movie when it first came out. I thought this was a unique coming-of-age story with a chilling atmosphere. It’s eerie and unsettling,” Lyras said.

“Jamie Marks is Dead” will be shown at 5:45 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. at The Little Youngstown Cinema on Nov. 21. Barzak will present and conduct a question and answer session after the 5:45 p.m. showing and before the 8:45 p.m. showing.

The Little Youngstown Cinema is located at 112 W. Commerce St., Youngstown, Ohio. Tickets are available for purchase at www.youngstowncinema.com and Joe Maxx Coffee.