Welcome To The Sewer Den

Awesome. Righteous. Bossa Nova.
The official film about me and my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles collection is here!

Welcome to The Sewer Den is a glimpse into the real-life of New Jersey native & ultimate TMNT fan, Jonathan Zelenak. That's me! Venture inside a fandom full of nostalgia & the value of collecting. Journey with me & a peek into the jaw-dropping collection. The Sewer Den houses childhood toys, one-of-a-kind collectibles, weird rarities & even Ninja Turtles bunk beds! Take a trip with me back to the late 80s, where I recount childhood memories. From there, you'll discover the inspiration behind The Sewer Den & how eating pizza is essential for Turtles culture. This ridiculous but true life documentary doesn't fall short of being memorable, and will be just comedic enough to make you question if this dude is real - and the answer is YES.

Get sentimental. Get silly. Get to watching Welcome To The Sewer Den
It's 9 minutes of your life you'll never regret.

How did we get here?

In January of 2011, my life was at a crossroads. After graduating film school, my friends and I made a 98-minute feature film & toured the country promoting it. In between and after that, I worked for a handful of big entertainment companies on TV and digital projects. It all added up to a fun, memorable ride, but something wasn't clicking... it was time for a major shake up. I quit my job, took a break from movie making, moved out of my Brooklyn apartment & went on a 2-month road trip across the country with a friend. I traveled from state-to-state, camping in the oddest of places in hopes of finding inspiration and discovering my next steps. It all sounds so cinematic... and it was! We had a blast. I returned with a newly-found determination, but not necessarily any direction.

I did what anyone does when lacking clarity and feeling lost - I started combing through my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles collection. At the bottom of a box holding vintage action figures and other oddities from the 80s, I found something else... inspiration. And in January of 2011, The Sewer Den was born.

My agenda was simple: assemble the collection, make it visually dynamic & document the fun stuff inside.

Who knew a small blog about Turtles nostalgia would serve as a compass for my life moving forward? It's unreal how it has parted the seas for every step moving forward.

Personal achievements.
Personal growth.
New friends.
New job.
New sunglasses.
And now, new movie.

Now in 2019, almost 9 years after from The Sewer Den's origin, the cowabunga compass points me in another new direction. Going back to my movie roots, I've reconnected with the best dudes out of my film school. Mike Rizzo & Brian Bonz, lovingly known as Bobo Touch, are a Brooklyn-based duo known for their surreal brand of comedy & music. We've stayed well-connected over the years, eager to collaborate on another project. As The Sewer Den grew in popularity online and on social media, we had the gnarly notion to make a mini movie about me and my passion for the Turtles. But could one goofy guy and a collection of old-school junk be a worthy return to filmmaking?

We took a chance. After a few pre-production coffee sessions, we dedicated a weekend in April of 2019 to make the movie. With a utility van packed with gear, a crew of filmmakers made the trek from New York City to Cape May, New Jersey - home of The Sewer Den collection. We crammed way too many bodies into the small space to make a movie dedicated to all things Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It's an exploration into my half shell haven, a nostalgic tour dedicated to rare collectibles and uncommon oddities. Like I've said since 2011, "it's a museum of memories, a collection of cowabunga."

Welcome To The Sewer Den.

Shout outs! 
This movie wouldn't be possible if it weren't for the skills & contributions of the following:

My Mom & Dad: the 2 Splinters of my life!
Mike Rizzo & Brian Bonz: creative angels, film pals for life
Chris Consalvi - owner of House of Fun: filming in your toy store was pure heaven
Simon aka Necrotic Doctor: my dude who has been sifting through toy junk with me for years
John Kent aka Toyfinity: master of toy connections & maker of awesome toys
Scott "Mojo" Modrzynski: he made the movie poster & logo, a true renaissance man
Merso X: the best TMNT game ever was made by this dude
Robert Lum: creative master, good dude & the best TMNT fan
Steven Lowe: voice over master who's been in my films since college
Zach Norris: podcast guru, Turtles homie with all the positive vibes
Jessica Z: my beautifully wonderful wife who inspires & embraces my Turtle Power, along with bringing Sewer Den Jr. into this world!

And my cats, cause why not?

1 comment:

  1. That was RADICAL!!! Would love to see all the cool stuff you have in your collection. Someday, I hope to have enough space to display all my TMNT stuff. Right now I have limited space and have to be picky about what can go out. Thanks for sharing and … COWABUNGA!!!!


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