Jordan Warner, a senior at Cheektowaga Central High School, is aspiring to be a part of the film industry and has already made two movies, remakes of "Batman Untold" and "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street." NeXt recently talked with the young director who has received a letter of encouragement from filmmaker Tim Burton.

>NeXt: What inspired you to start making movies?

Jordan Warner: I grew up watching monster movies like "King Kong," "Godzilla" and all the great classics. Tim Burton has been one of my heroes that has inspired me. His sense of being eccentric and different became personal to me because if everybody is making the same thing, it's boring. Tim Burton gave me a sense of being myself and a release for making films. When I make a film, I literally put my life story in it and it's almost like therapy. It helps show who I really am, how I feel and what it really means to me when I make a movie.

>NeXt: How did you get started in film?

Jordan: I've always had a fascination with cryptozoology. Cryptozoology is the study of hidden or unknown animals. I asked my parents to buy me a video camera for my birthday so I can make a documentary series on the subject which was called "Cryptid Hunt." In 2008, I traveled to Lake Champlain, which borders between upstate New York and Vermont. I traveled up and down the lake interviewing eyewitnesses and talking to researchers that claimed to have seen the legendary Lake Champlain monster known as "Champ." In 1977, a woman named Sandra Mansi took the first image of Champ, which is one of the most famous pictures in cryptozoology. I called her and asked for an interview. She never gives interviews, but I became the first kid in the world to interview her. From then on it was like a snowball effect. My passion just grew even more!

>NeXt: How did you get started writing and making "Batman" and your other movies?

Jordan: In the summer of 2009, it dawned on me that I really wanted to start making movies because I've been doing documentary work for a few years. I've always been a fan of Batman since kindergarten. I'm not really a comic book fan, but I really liked the world of Gotham City and the characters in the Batman universe. After "Batman," I wanted to make something that was truly personal to me. I've been a fan of dark musicals. I listened to the music of Stephen Sondheim's musical "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street." I felt so connected with the character of Sweeney Todd and the music as well. The story of this character felt so personal to me, I felt like it was the making of Jordan Warner almost.

>NeXt: What have been the responses of people when you ask them to be a part of your movies?

Jordan: The responses of people have been amazing. Every time I ask somebody to help me in my film, they immediately think they are in Hollywood or something because of the work I've done. I like to work with kids who like to express themselves through the character they are playing. And when they feel excited about it, I feel like I'm helping them be who they really are, like I'm letting them come out of their shell to express their feelings. They are one of the reasons why I make films.

>NeXt: What is it like working on a movie? Do you ever get frustrated or have doubts?

Jordan: When I'm filming/working on the movie, I feel every emotion you could possibly think of. As a director, you need to feel every emotion of what the character is feeling because it's the director's vision. Without passion and emotion, it means nothing to the audience. I've had doubts from other individuals. But those who give negative feedback to me only make me stronger and push my limits even more to make my passion even stronger.

>NeXt: What are your plans?

Jordan: I'm going to Erie Community College this fall for Media Arts for two years. I want to be able to save enough money and go to a better film school possibly in New York City or California after ECC. After college I'm hoping to get a position in the film industry as a director and come back to Buffalo and start making films here because Western New York is full of great locations and architecture that has a gothic, European quality to it. Also, Buffalo has so many ghost stories and haunted places. This area is so fantastic.

Jordan's work can be accessed via his film company, Swordfish Films. Swordfish Films can be found on its Facebook page, YouTube at, and Jordan's blog,


Derik Wagner is a senior at Canisius High School.