Cultural Network

Jon Bokenkamp

Playwright, Film Producer, Kearney Supporter of Arts, Founder of World Theatre, Kearney, Nebraska
“He believes the best ideas come from real life, and he always says no matter how far-fetched your goals and dreams, maybe you should try for them." ~ Kathy Scott

Jon Bokenkamp created and serves as an executive producer on the NBC drama “The Blacklist.”

A native of Kearney, NE Bokenkamp’s feature film work includes the thriller “The Call” for Halle Berry and TriStar Pictures, an adaptation of the serial-killer novel “Taking Lives” for Angelina Jolie and Warner Bros., and “Perfect Stranger” for Halle Berry, Bruce Willis and Columbia Pictures.

He has collaborated with such directors as Tony Scott (“Top Gun”), William Friedkin (“The Exorcist”) and Joe Carnahan (“The Grey”). He also served as a creator and executive producer on NBC’s “The Blacklist: Redemption.”

Bokenkamp attended the University of Nebraska at Kearney, where he received an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts before graduating with honors from the USC School of Cinematic Arts. In addition to his work in television and feature films, Bokenkamp is the founder and creative director of the World Theatre in Kearney.

Written by Noelle Peek Ptomey during their Kearney High School years 1990-91 “Local boy aims high in film”

It appears as though ‘bright lights and big cities’ await senior Jon Bokenkamp. Theater teacher Bob Rose said “he has many talents, especially in the area of film and drama. He’s real good at taking direction and I think he’s respected by the other kids, when he shares his ideas people listen.” Rose continued in a complementary fashion to say “I see Jon ten years from now directing films in Hollywood—somehow, because I think he’ll make it.”

Jon’s friend of six years and movie cohort Senior Brian Bear said “Jon is enjoyable to work with. He really knows how to utilize the resources and abilities of people. Ten-20 years from now? General manager at the Fort Theater and still paying of college loans!” added Bear.

So it is quite evident that Jon has an immense talent in this area, but where did this fascination begin? “I did a project for a family reunion and kind of got on this big old video tape kick. I thought I was a movie star.” Jon went on to say those feelings were still there.

Sometimes Jon’s film fantasies do tend to interfere with school, but he thinks it’s worth it. This corresponds with Jon’s attitude about high school. “Right now I hate school, I have been and am disgusted by the immaturity of the place.” Mr. Bokenkamp thinks he’s got a pretty firm grip on reality. “I’m a cat who knows what is going on.”

Other talents of Jon’s include Art, music, sharing good comedy and of course the infamous Blues Brother routine (which he said may be back!). Although Jon does not have much spare time between school work and film, Bear said “He likes to go to the movies.” Junior Kathy Scott said “He has been doing some animation drawing through the college.” Jon’s art work does seem to consume a fair amount of Jon’s precious time. “He can always be depended up to do something creative, he puts in a full commitment” said art instructor Virginia Wattles.

Jon seems to have the respect of his teachers but what are his peers saying? Senior Emily Schuyler said “he’s a good guy—a real person ya know, maybe a little insecure.” Well that’s nice but what else? “He’s the worst speller I’ve ever met.” Said Scott. “He hates to read but he does like Nebraska, and he desperately wants to get on with real life.” She continued, “He drinks diet coke, that always gets me!” said Baer. “Jon has many talents but they are more advanced than high school,” added Scott.

So it appears that people really admire Jon, but who does he look up to? People like Stephen Spielberg, George Lucas, and Dustin Hoffman are your answers. “I feel intimidated by everyone. I worry because I think everyone thinks I’ve got a big head and I don’t want to come off that way,” said Jon.

Kathy Scott said, “He believes the best ideas come from real life, and he always says no matter how far-fetched your goals and dreams, maybe you should try for them”

Anyway, because if you don’t you’ll always wonder if there was maybe a chance.” This shows Jon’s determination to get in to film. He’s definitely got the talent and the support. “When I’ve made it in films, I want to reflect and see what a goof ball I was and still am.” Jonathan Thomas Bokenkamp.

Excerpt from “The Blacklist” Pilot 2013

Red strides through the lobby with purpose. He’s been here before. Belongs here. Finds his way to a FEMALE GUARD at the security desk.
Good afternoon. I’m here to see
Assistant Director Harold Cooper.
Do you have an appointment?
Tell him it’s Raymond Reddington.
The Guard scowls and calls upstairs. Red waits. Takes in the details around him; the bulletproof glass, the American flag, the display of the “Ten Most Wanted” on the lobby wall.
THE BLACKLIST “Pilot” – 2nd Pink Draft – 03/23/13 2.
Red takes off his jacket, folds it neatly, and places it on the ground next to his briefcase.
The Female Guard listens to the voice on the other end of the line, watching Red as —
— he lowers himself to his knees over the F.B.I. seal in the terrazzo floor. A passing AGENT sees this. Looks uneasy.
The poor Guard on the phone can hardly comprehend what she’s hearing. She follows Red’s eyes. Sees what Red sees. He’s staring at a picture of HIS OWN FACE among…
Red CLASPS HIS HANDS behind his head. Closes his eyes. The Guard calls for backup, but before she can muster the words —
— ALARMS SOUND. METAL CURTAINS drop over the windows.
The entire F.B.I. goes into ‘LOCKDOWN’ as F.B.I. POLICE swarm Red, WEAPONS drawn and SCREAMING into their radios.
But Red’s calm. Proud perhaps. As he’s thrown to the ground his expression tells us this is a day Red has anticipated for years. We DRIFT UP, over the chaos, past the American flag.
The F.B.I.’s NUMBER FOUR MOST WANTED has just surrendered.

Written by Chuck Peek and Noelle Peek Ptomey.
* "The Blacklist" permission of Jon Bokenkamp

Categories: Theater

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