The Art of Pain: An Artist Learns A Brutal Lesson

This was the official website for the 2008 indie film, Art of Pain
Content is from the site's 2008 archived pages as well as from other outside sources.

INSPIRE AN ARTIST, RUIN HIS LIFE -- Jack works an easy job at the movie theater with his pal Nick, a sci-fi geek, and his aspiring actress girlfriend, Sharon. He used to be a pretty good painter, but there isn’t much inspiration in this zombie-like existence. All of that is about to change. Enter Marcus, a pissed off ninja-in-training with something to prove. Fueled by disgust for Jack’s apathy and a cruel sensei, Marcus takes it upon himself to teach a brutal lesson: Great art comes from great pain. What follows is a bloody trail of seduction, murder and maiming that only a ninja can inflict. Now, painting in a frenzy, Jack must fight not only for his art, but his life.


IMDb User Review

You must be kidding me!!!

6 January 2009 | by SmoothGooch

I was so unfortunate to have a friend that got hold of one of the copies at the festival. He was so proud that he made me watch it which i really count as intellectual assault! The acting is really poor, the plot is weird and just because you arbitrarily mix up genres doesn't mean you create a new one.

Don't believe the reviews on this one, the film crew seems to be pretty desperate and busy on writing them to make a few people watch it.

Nice effort guys, but everything you create is Disappointment. Solicit this film for what it is, a senseless, stupid, no-point-making, B-Ninja-Zombie-Trash-Film.

There are people out there who could like stuff like that, THESE are your customers, not the people you make expect Oscar-worthy performances with your crap!





Matt Brookens: Writer/Director/Producer/Editor

Matt Brookens hails from the land of Lincoln and corn dogs, Springfield, Illinois. It was here that Brookens and younger brother, Greg, began cooking up movie ideas to kill the boredom of living in perhaps the most normal city in the country. Even as "tweens" the Brookens brothers were writing, directing, shooting and editing their comically twisted movies about murder, drugs and monkeys.

Unsatisfied with the fine art degree he was pursuing in Springfield, Matt moved to Chicago to attend Columbia College, where he earned his BA in film in 1999. Together, the Brookens brothers have completed scads of short films and won heaps of awards. Films like Roni vs. Lincoln, Of Bass and Men, and perhaps most noticeably Skunk Ape!? have all garnered awards and praise on the festival circuit. Skunk Ape!? achieved distribution through Troma Entertainment in 2004 after winning "Best of Tromadance." Most recently, Matt has completed principle photography of his first feature, The Art of Pain: a dark comedy/action HD project. Matt also recently illustrated a kid's book called I Have Five Senses, and works as a graphic artist to pay the rent.Matt enjoys pad thai and watching the Discover Channel. The Brookens brothers have several new films in the works.


Matthew M. Jones: Producer/Editor

Matthew was born and raised in the southern suburbs of Detroit. Woodhaven, Michigan to be exact. He spent his days drawing comic book characters, creating haunted house tours through his friends basements and acting in the Woodhaven High School’s theater program. Matthew moved to East Lansing and graduated from Michigan State University with a B.A. in Advertising. Where he concentrated on graphic design and marketing. After graduation Matthew moved to Chicago, where he worked as a print and web designer.

In 1999, he entered the Film and Video Program at Columbia College, Chicago, where he graduated with honors. Developed and released uPressplay Online Entertainment Network in 2001. Promotiing over a 1,000 filmmakers, artists, musicians and actors; by providing a free online resource to showcase their skills and productions. uPressplay also produced many original titles including, Stay Dead, Two Days in Limbo, Palooka, Roscoe Village, Back to Reality, Soldier, Terrorvision and music videos from Marazene, Lexceone and Court Jester.

uPressplay has been awarded 15 Official Film Festival Selections and winning Best Dramatic Short at the Michigan Independent and NY International Film Festivals. In 2006, Matthew produced his first feature, The Art of Pain, with fellow Chicagoan Matt Brookens. He’s currently in development on his next feature, an action hero, comedy entitled Etiquette Man.

John LaFlamboy: Producer/Marcus

John received his B.A. at Southern Illinois University and finished his advanced acting studies at the Hague School of the Arts In Holland. Needing to raise funds for an art project, he spent a summer working for a national industrial cleaning supply business, selling products like cleansing agents and detergents to local businesses. One of his co-workers was Mark Hamill (who was responsible for toilet paper sales) who later collaborated with him on the comedy sketch that won the Obie. These 2 guys from the cleaning supply world hit the entertainment world about the same time and both have since made their marks far from the call of custodial products and into the limelight. John often jokes about this background leading him to only tell "clean" jokes.

Recently, John has been performing improv and sketch comedy in Chicago. Also, he is a co-host on "The Odds Squad", a sports television show. Some of his favorite stage roles were; Joe Pitt in Angels in America and Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz. In 1998 he created The Foundation Theatre Group, and is presently the Artistic Director. Although acting is his first love, John has taken on the roles of producer, designer, and director of Chicago's #1 Haunted House, Statesville Haunted Prison.

Daniel Kenji Levin: Cinematographer

Born and raised in downtown Chicago, Daniel K. Levin started his college career studying studio art. After two years of experimental painting and photography, he moved onto filmmaking by studying at NYU and USC. He recently graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a concentration in cinematography. He now works as a freelance DP and steadicam operator on independent films and corporate videos.


Amber Blasco, Lead Makeup

Amber Blasco currently works as a regional trainer for Smashbox Cosmetics. She travels nationally doing PR work for the biggest studio make-up line in the US. Amber has worked at Mercedes-Benz LA Fashion week (at Smashbox Studios, 2006) doing make-up for runway shows and VIP lounges. Amber also works as a studio make-up artist for Nightengale Photography, working with models from Elite, BMG, and John Robert Powers. HYPERLINK ""


Jacob Elihjah Hallinen: Comic Book Art

Co-founder of Shadow Tactics, a Chicago based illustration and art company, Jacob recently released his first comic book series, Ghost Spy: Toxin. The comic achieved world wide distribution through image comics. See Jacob’s art at


Steve Kiefer: Composer

Steve has worked on many projects with the Brookens Brothers. Including the award winning shorts Roni vs. Lincoln, Skunk Ape and Son of Roni.



Anders Erickson: Jack

Born in Wisconsin, improv training brought Anders to Chicago. After taking classes at The Second City, IO (formerly Improv Olympic), and most recently the Annoyance Theatre, he's put his primary focus on film. The Art of Pain is his fourth feature length filmed in town. Past film credits include Stand Alone, Umlaut: Around the Sound, and Lost Along the Way. Anders loved his time with the Art of Pain cast and crew, and looks forward to working with all of them somewhere down the line.


Lauren Bishop: Sharon

Lauren Ashley Bishop is an actress, writer, and standup comedian and who currently resides in Chicago, IL. She is originally from Little Rock, AR, and a graduate of Northwestern University where she earned a Bachelor of Speech in Theatre. She also trained at Improv Olympic and the Annoyance, and then went on to perform with ComedySportz Chicago for 4 years, on the mainstage and as part of the national touring company. She was then cast in the 1st National Tour of Scrooge the Musical, which starred Richard Chamberlain. Since then she has pursued work on the stage, screen, and in the studio, appearing in productions such as Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues and Second City’s Romeo and Juliet Musical at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre.

As a comedian, she is regularly seen at The Chicago Improv and Zanies, and has performed at Gotham Comedy Club in New York as well as numerous other clubs across the Midwest. She is the host of Chicago NBC”s, and guest contributor for the comedy site, and has appeared in national campaigns for KFC and Quaker Oats. She is also a professional voice over actress, heard on TV and radio commercials for countless clients over the years.

Greg Brookens: Nick

Greg Brookens is the brother of the director and the other half of Zabba Zabba Productions. When not working out Greg likes to...ummm...actually he's always working out. Perhaps you've noticed his rippling six pack, and firm muscular buttocks. He's got this, like, charisma that I totally can't describe. His natural musk smells like steak mixed with onions, but in a sexy way. When he's on top of you he's powerful yet gentle. If I were a beautiful woman I'd definitely want to date Greg Brookens.

He also plays Nick. He helped punch up the script, and did a bit of assistant editing. In the past he's co-written and co-directed such masterpieces of cinema as Skunk Ape!?, Of Bass and Men, and Roni vs. Lincoln. His new movie Son of Roni is, um, new. Oh, and he plays accordion in the band Dr. Killbot.


Jake Hames: Charlie

Midwest native, Jake Hames first stepped into acting at the University of Wisconsin, Stout. There he appeared in several plays including Woody Allen’s “God” as Diabetes and Stephen Sondheim’s “Assassins” as Charles Guiteau.

Jake then transferred schools to the University of Minnesota, Duluth in order to focus strictly on acting. His first play at UMD was an original piece that chronicled the events of the Holocaust called “Dear Finder” which was selected at the American College Theatre Festival (ACTF) in 1999.

Soon after, Jake moved to Chicago, where he continues to enjoy acting in original material including Thomas Doyle Piwnicki and Joe Elsey’s Zombie comedy, “Stay Dead” as Russell and Dan Pico’s World War II Drama, “Two Days in Limbo” as Al. Jake will next be seen in Boathouse Studios and Compost Productions feature length horror film, “Stump the Band”.

Arvin Jalandoon: Nobu

Arvin has been acting for over 2 years in the Chicago area. Training at Act One Studios under John Green and Grant Stokes and with Jan Radcliff and John Lorden. He has been in theater production as Kent in "King Lear", Hermocrates in "Triumph of Love", Thomas Putnam in"The Crucible" and Lefty in "The Advetures of Nac Martinez."

Being cast in independent films as Calvin Hobbes in "Pivot Point" and the Neurotic Director in "Between Takes" has given him the impetus to perform in this production. He is also active in commercials and print ads for regional and national campaigns. Much thanks to the 2 Matts, John, and Wesley, cast and crew for the learning experience.


Leena Kurishingal: Stacey

Leena grew up in the Chicagoland area of Illinois and attended Columbia College, where she received her Bachelor of the Arts in Film/Video. After a year or so of giving crew work a go, she decided to make the transition to where her heart has always lain; in acting. Roles portrayed range from the classic girl-next-door, to the harlot down the street, to the badass detective who does the eventual crackdown. All of this occurs in a variety of shorts and festival pieces, as well as the occasional commercial or print ad. Sprinkled in has also been a theatre project or two along the way. Currently Ms. Kurishingal is focusing on honing her craft through more formal training and auditioning, when not working for the Man, every night and day...


Elliot Fredland: Rex

Elliott has been seen in independent films (The Thirsting with Mickey Rooney; Get a Life) and stage productions in Chicago. Recent roles include Lane in The Importance of Being Earnest, Baron Van Swieten in Amadeus, Carr Gomm in The Elephant Man, and Major Metcalf in The Mousetrap. He has appeared in several commercials, and in a previous century in a distant land he also worked as a radio and television newscaster.

Lloyd Kaufman: George Romano

Stanley Lloyd Kaufman never really wanted to make movies, but wanted to work in Broadway musicals. During his years in Yale, though, he got introduced to "B" pictures and the works of Roger Corman. Lloyd later got the opportunity to executive-produce a short movie made by a fellow student. The film, called "Rappacini", got him even more interested in movies. He bought his own camera and took it with him to Chad, Africa, were he spent his summer. There he shot a 15-minute film of a pig being slaughtered. That was his first movie, and was the birth of what was later to become known as Troma Films.

Lloyd Kaufman and Troma have become icons in the cult-movie world, and Troma has distributed over 1000 films. Lloyd has continued his career as a director in addition to producing, and Troma has turned out such films as Monster in the Closet (1987), Class of Nuke 'Em High (1986), Combat Shock (1986), Troma's War (1988), and Fortress of Amerikkka (1989). Lloyd himself is working on Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead (2006), which follows an army of undead chickens as they seek revenge on a fast food palace.

Wesley Chu: Fight Choreography