About Jonathan McNeal

Jonathan McNeal, a graduate of Wright State's Motion Picture Production program, has been managing THE NEON in downtown Dayton since the Fall of 2001. Having grown up in a small town in northeast Ohio, the idea of an independent movie theater that showed hard-to-find films seemed like something that could only be found in a major metropolis. Upon moving to Dayton in the early 1990's, finding THE NEON was a was like finding a new home.
McNeal's film work includes the documentary of Dayton's beloved drag troupe - THE RUBI GIRLS. The doc premiered in San Francisco in 2003 and played across the country and as far away as Australia. The film continues to be played at night clubs and on college campuses as an educational and outreach tool.
McNeal himself has been a part of the performance troupe since 1997.

TIFF 2015 Day #9 – My Final Day!


Hello Everyone, Today was my last day of screenings, and even though I feel like I've been away for months, I'm actually a little sad to be packing my bags.  There are several films I didn't get a chance to see, and every year I think I'm going to take part more in the industry activities (indiewire talks, a variety of lectures, etc.) - but I don't.  I just end up cramming in movies. First off today, I saw STONEWALL, directed by Roland Emmerich.  This film was lambasted before anyone saw it.  Criticism soared across the web based only on the trailer, and I must admit that I went into … [Read more...]

TIFF 2015 – Day #8


Hello Everyone. Today was the first day I didn't have to get up terribly early, and that extra 45 minutes of sleep was much appreciated. My day started off with a screening of a film that will be on the top of my list - SPOTLIGHT, directed by Tom McCarthy.  This is a newsroom procedural of the Boston Globe uncovering the Catholic Church scandal in 2001.  Starring Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams and Liev Schreiber, this film has a great script, tight editing and at times plays like a thriller.  The material is certainly chilling - especially when one character states that … [Read more...]

TIFF 2015 – Day #7


Hello Everyone. Today was a rough start.  One of the boys at IndieWire threw a little party last night, and I got in very, very late...so getting out of bed at 6:30 was a challenge.  But I made it...and managed to squeeze in a nice nap mid day. So everything worked out fine. First off, I saw THE MAN WHO KNEW INFINITY, directed by Matthew Brown.  This is a film about an Indian mathematician whose theories revolutionized his field...and the his hardships in having them heard due to racial tensions in England.  The movie stars Dev Patel and Jeremy Irons, and this is certainly Patel's most … [Read more...]

TIFF 2015 – Day #6


Hi Again. Thanks for coming back.  Today, in addition to 4 films and one late night party, I managed to have a window of time that allowed me to have a nice dinner and small shopping spree - so I have now contributed nicely to the Canadian economy. First thing this morning, I saw THE DRESSMAKER, directed by Jocelyn Moorhouse and starring Kate Winslet.  Moorhouse, known for her weepie HOW TO MAKE AN AMERICAN QUILT, wasn't quite sure which tone to give to this most recent novel adaptation...so she went with several.  What starts out as a "Screwball Western" changes genres and mood so many … [Read more...]

TIFF 2015 – Day #5


Hello Again.  Thanks for coming back! Half way through today marked the half way point of the festival.  And by the end of the day, I had seen 20 films in all...but there's lots more to go. My first film of the day was the thriller COLONIA, directed by Florian Gallenberger.  Starring Daniel Bruhl and Emma Watson, this film started out like a conventional political thriller about civil unrest in Chile in 1973.  But then it became an over-the-top cult escape thriller.  This is the story of Colonia Dignidad - a hideous compound in Chile that housed a religious cult and also served as a … [Read more...]

TIFF 2015 – Day #4


Hi Again! My first film today was TRUMBO, directed by Jay Roach.  For the first few minutes, I had to get over its visual style.  It seemed a little cartoony, and the cinematography seemed more like television than film...but then it took its hold on me with a sharp screenplay and terrific performances.  This is the story of Dalton Trumbo, one of the "Hollywood 10" who was Blacklisted during America's fear of people affiliated with the Communist Party. The script is terrific, and the story is playful but serious - and Brian Cranston is wonderful in his Big performance (during the Q&A, … [Read more...]

TIFF 2015 – Day #3


Hello Again, After my successful turn in line this morning, I was off to my first screening - MISS YOU ALREADY, directed by Catherine Hardwicke.  Many people refer to this type of a film as a "chick flick."  Though there are many films that get this label, there are a handful of these guilty pleasures that I have absolutely adored over the years...and I was hoping to find a new BEACHES today.  Hardwicke takes the story of two best friends since childhood (Toni Collette and Drew Barrymore) and gives it the energy and style of her film THIRTEEN.  There's lots of crazy camera moves and a … [Read more...]

TIFF 2015 – Day #2


Hello Again! Today started off much the way they'll all start.  I pulled myself out of bed after 4.5 hours sleep and scurried into the industry ticket line.  (Not having to run across town each morning is really fantastic.) The first film I saw today was from one of Canada's most beloved filmmakers - Atom Egoyan (THE SWEET HEREAFTER, CHLOE, and many more).  REMEMBER stars Christopher Plummer as a Holocaust survivor with dementia who escapes from his nursing home to seek revenge on the Auschwitz commander who killed his family.  Though a serious and intriguing subject, with moments of … [Read more...]

TIFF 2015 – Day 1


Hello Daytonians & Film Lovers! Thanks for checking in to see how everything went with my first day of screenings.  I got up early and was in the Industry Box Office line by 6:55...and there were still several people ahead of me.  This line starts a little earlier each year, and some folks have joked about possibly camping out.  I'm glad to report that I did get the tickets I desired for Saturday - including the premiere of THE DANISH GIRL. After grabbing tickets, I went to my first screening - HITCHCOCK/TRUFFAUT, directed by Kent Jones.  This is wonderful, and film lovers will … [Read more...]

Toronto 2015 – Day 0.5 (Pre-Festival)


Hello Readers. Thanks for checking out the blog where I'll cover my adventures during the Toronto International Film Festival! After almost 12 hours of travel (a cancelled flight, a delayed flight, an extra flight, etc.), I finally made it to Toronto.  Luckily, I never really let it get me down.  And upon arriving at the apartment I rented, any possible negative vibes were wiped clean.  The view is amazing, the apartment is adorable, and I'm less than 1/2 block from where I need to go every morning (instead of several blocks and 7 subway stops). Films don't start until tomorrow. … [Read more...]