Archive for the 'Interviews' Category

Another Talk with Mark Freiburger
From Jimmy to Michael Bay, Freiburger Impresses

When I reviewed Mark Freiburger’s debut film Dog Days of Summer less than four years ago, I described it as having “the period spookiness of Something Wicked This Way Comes” with “macabre touches hinting of Tennessee Williams… and the lighter moments of Rob Reiner’s Stand By Me.” That’s pretty serious praise for an indie “faith market” film. Since then, Freiburger has worked on three other feature films—as screenwriter on The List and The Trial, both directed by Gary Wheeler, and as director on the straight-to-DVD release Jimmy. Upon the release of the film to DVD last week, I exchanged some emails with Freiburger.

A Talk With Charles Martin Smith
A Talk With Charles Martin Smith

“Ultimately what moves us is people,” says Charles Martin Smith, the director of Dolphin Tale. “Having grown up with an artist as a father, I was always fascinated by the Impressionists and the post-Impressionists—and the difference between the ones who concentrated on landscapes, and the ones who felt like there was nothing worth painting except humans. You know, the people who did portraits: Toulouse Lautrec’s studies, and Degas: how they would study people, and what they were like, as opposed to the others who were doing landscapes, largely. Which is more valid? I don’t know; they’re both valid, I suppose. But it’s the connection between the two that I find the most interesting.”

A Talk with Alex Kendrick
Courageous Director Goes All Out

“In this movie, Courageous,” says director, co-writer, and star Alex Kendrick, “there are five fathers who all take the same pledge, and not all of them turn out well. At the end of the movie, some turn out terrible. Some are in transition, and some make horrible decisions and have to face the consequences of their decisions. So I don’t think anyone will say of this movie, ‘Everything’s tied up in a nice, neat bow.’ But with God, all things are still going to be possible. He’s going to be able to do miraculous things, even if they’re in the heart. You’ve got to find that balance.”

A Talk with Gary Moore
Getting Lost, Getting Saved

“As you know, this business is type-casting,” says Bill Collector star Gary Moore. “And when you’re a good fit for the part it’s just so fun and easy. And I was just really Lorenzo. I was arrested at sixteen years old for being a pretty major drug dealer. And I was sent off to a work farm in South Dakota. And when you’re in South Dakota in the winter, on a work farm, you tend to think your life over real fast. I thought, ‘Wow! Where am I now? I’m a Chicago inner-city kid in the middle of nowhere, and I think God’s trying to get my attention!’”

A Talk with Sean McNamara
McNamara Dissects the Shark Attack

“The shooting of the shark attack really had to be plotted out,” says Soul Surfer director Sean McNamara. “We rehearsed it in the ballroom at Turtle Bay, you know: in the meeting room; and we rehearsed it in the pool. We had the water team there, me, the helicopter unit: everybody was there, and the doubles. Everybody had to be in the same position because we shot it in six different locations. Then we took it from the pool into the beach cove right out in front of the hotel, and rehearsed it again. I just wanted to make sure that all the actors instinctively knew that Bethany was on the right, Holt was pulling her in front, Alana was on the left, and that Alana’s brother ran ahead to make the phone call. We literally rehearsed that so we could always recreate that.”

A Talk with Kevin Sorbo
Soul Surfer Co-star Talks About Kids

“You want to know three things about my charity, my foundation?” asked Kevin Sorbo, better known as TV’s Hercules, at the New York premiere of Soul Surfer, in which he costars as Alana Blanchard’s dad. “I have a foundation called A World Fit for Kids. And it does more than three things. But since I’m only getting three things… Number One: It teaches and trains kids to become mentors to younger children in their own community. It also works with them on physical aspects, fighting childhood obesity to become more healthy. And the major component for me is that it gives them a better education, prepares them for the real world when they get out of school, and hopefully makes them better, more productive citizens in our society.”

A Talk With Connie Nielsen
Shine of Rainbows Takes on Bullies

“Little children have these amazing antennas to know which kid can be dumped on and which cannot,” says Danish film star Connie Nielsen, most famous for her role opposite Russell Crowe in Gladiator. “John Bell, who plays the child, does an amazing job of creating this character. Just an absolutely astounding job of creating this character. And I doubt that anyone can see this film and not come away without having a wonderful discussion with their parents about how they can help kids like that in their school—how they can be a part of lessening the effects of the pain and suffering that some of these children go through. You know, this is one of those films that can do things like that.”

Another Talk with Gary Wheeler
Better All the Time

“Every filmmaker—every artist, whatever form of art they are involved in—has this inner thing that makes you passionate about a piece,” says Gary Wheeler, director of his second Robert Whitlow adaptation The Trial, new on DVD last week. “Passion about making a movie demanding two years of your life or something. And more than anything, that’s the path that I follow: something that inspires me enough that I think it’s a story worth telling and committing that much of my life to. I use that as a guide. But long term, I just want to become a better storyteller. And I thought that this was the perfect film to help me become a better filmmaker, become a better storyteller.”

A Talk With Derrick Warfel
Putting God in “God Knows What”

“I went to The Twilight Zone [for inspiration] because Rod Serling was one of the best writers around,” says first-time feature director Derrick Warfel of his low-budget apocalyptic thriller Midnight Reckoning. “He did Playhouse 90 before he did Twilight Zone, and people don’t realize that those Twilight Zone episodes are little morality plays. A lot of those, aside from the little twists that make them interesting, are just good dramatic writing. And those were done on a budget, a prayer and a song, basically, in terms of getting them made—and yet they stick with us today. So basically, that was my goal—to have some mind-bending twists in the story to keep people’s attention, but to also have good writing.”

A Talk with Tracy Trost
Christian Filmmaking, Not Just Films for Christians

“Another director who I’ve followed a lot is J.J. Abrams,” says low-budget indie director Tracy Trost. “And seeing how he treats his crew—that’s how I want to be. To me, they are human beings first—and then they are crew. I want to treat them the way I would want to be treated. I worked my way up through the ranks—I’ve done practically every job that those guys out there are doing, some not as well as others. But I’ve worked with some real jerks. And you know what? If I’m not enjoying it, I don’t want to do it.” For Trost, it’s not just the final product that counts—it’s how you get there, too.

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