Photo by Susan Bell -- Naum Kleiman (on left), Director of Moscow's 'Cinema Museum,' hosts director/writer J. Mitchell Johnson at Moscow's 'Cinema Museum' before the premiere screening of "World Without Waves" on June 25.

World Without Waves

By Gene Deason -- Brownwood Bulletin

After returning to Fort Worth two weeks ago tonight, J. Mitchell Johnson barely had enough time to check his office for messages before he arrived at the airport early the next day to catch a flight to Moscow. But he managed to find a few minutes to return a call to his hometown newspaper to provide details of the top award his feature film, "World Without Waves," had garnered that weekend at the Santa Fe Film Festival.

"I'm thrilled that my first feature film has made its American debut in one of our country's most captivating and artistic centers," Johnson said. "The story questions our ever-accelerating lifestyle, a theme that resonates with almost everyone in America these days and, of course, in Santa Fe especially."

Johnson's production won Best Southwest Title at the New Mexico festival from among 45 entries. Set in rural Texas, the film draws parallels among substance abuse, sexual abuse and the pervasiveness of technology.

Johnson co-wrote and directed the film, and John George, also of Fort Worth, served as executive producer.

"World Without Waves" tells the story of a successful New York television producer who is stricken by a sudden and agonizing allergy to electricity. It causes him to flee the fast pace of Manhattan and seek refuge in an abandoned Texas town. A troubling story unfolds as he encounters love and conflict involving drugs, sexual abuse, alcoholism and electric sensitivity on his journey to reclaim his soul.

J. Mitchell Johnson is the son of Blanche Dadney Johnson of Brownwood and the late J. Edward Johnson.

Portions of the film were made in the Brownwood area, along the Colorado River near Regency.

A native of Brownwood, Johnson formed Abamedia in 1996 to produce feature films and documentaries as well as Internet projects for the global marketplace with an initial focus on the Russian-American relationship. Abamedia's first project was a public/private initiative to provide access to the Russian State Film and Photo Archives at Krasnogorsk entitled "Russian Archives Online."

Its newest Russian-American venture is in the first phase of a pilot project that will lead to a Russian-American Web-based system called World Archives Online for Education. This proposed free-for-use, multimedia "encyclopedia" will eventually include more than 60,000 film clips, photos, and digitized art objects.

In the realm of films for television, Johnson was the originator and series producer of Abamedia's critically acclaimed "Red Files," which reveals the Soviet view of recent history through interviews with key Soviet participants, never-before-seen archival film, and declassified dossiers. Many of these compelling stories of personal and political intrigue were hidden from the West -- and even fellow Russians -- for generations. Produced for prime-time PBS and distributed worldwide by Buena Vista Television and Home Video, Red Files won "Best Limited Series" award for the year 2000 from the Los Angeles-based International Documentary Association.

Johnson recently produced and directed Abamedia's "Yanks for Stalin" for The History Channel. It chronicles the improbable union between the forces of capitalism and one of the most infamous dictators of the 20th century.

A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor of science degree in radio/TV/film, Johnson also holds a master's degree from University of Southern California's Cinema School. He serves on the board of The Russian-American Center in San Francisco, Calif., and has served as chair of the Media Panel for the Texas Committee for the Arts.

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