Last year, to continue the tradition of supporting new talent like the Weinstein’s did back in the day, we launched an Emerging Filmmaker Blog Series. We first highlighted the filmmakers at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Since then, we’ve invited directors, writers, editors, actors, producers, film festival programmers and many others from around the world to contribute to our blog and tell us about their work. If you haven’t yet, check out the entire Miramax Guest Blogger Series to meet some fascinating people in film representing many different areas of expertise.
Today, we are expanding our guest blog format with our first Emerging Filmmakers video. To kick off this endeavor, we asked filmmaker Joshua Moïse and his Warehouse District Productions partners to produce a video introducing us to their first feature film Medal of Victory which is currently in post-production. Joshua and actor/producer, Will Blomker talk about what it takes to make an action-packed, independent film on a shoestring budget and credit some of our favorite Miramax films as early influences. Take a look!
Now that you know more about Medal of Victory, learn more about Joshua Moïse – the director, editor and writer, in this revealing Q&A!
Hey Josh, you know Miramax has always been a big supporter of emerging filmmakers and that hasn’t changed through the years. It’s impressive that anyone can make a film, let alone do it outside the studio system, so congrats on getting this far. Can you tell our readers how Medal of Victory came to fruition…story, cast, crew, and the BIG question – financing?
From a blank page to picture lock, Medal of Victory has been a four year journey. Starting with a crude idea about a fake war hero’s homing, I kept writing and rewriting right up until the camera started rolling. Like my previous short, Treasury Men in Action, I had the good fortune of partnering with Warehouse District Productions consisting of Jason Schumacher, Mason Hill, and Will Blomker. All fine gentlemen, incredible performers, and responsible troublemakers, as all good filmmakers probably are. Through blood, sweat, tears and other things we won’t speak of aloud we raised an initial $40k on Kickstarter. That experience not only allowed us to get that seed money but served as an essential segue for investors who came in to complete the production budget with private equity. What followed was a grand caper that tested all of our skills, endurance, and love of the movies.
What’s been the most challenging part of your filmmaking journey so far? MOV related or in general?
Every aspect of filmmaking has it’s own challenges but, physically, the shoot. We shot a very ambitious film on a low budget in 24 days, shooting 6-9 pages of script per day in numerous locations often with a bare minimum of crew. The daily problems ranged from simple fixes to full blown, all-hands-on-deck complications that required every ounce of our concentration and cool nerves to fix and keep the train moving. Writing and editing I can do in my skivvies by myself at 3 in the morning.
Aside from the Miramax films you mention in your video below, what other films/filmmakers have been most influential?
Medal of Victory is a celebration of the films of my youth. Ghostbusters, Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, Raising Arizona, Airplane, The Last Dragon; as a kid I wore out these VHS copies, watching them until they became a part of my DNA. Fast-paced, innovative, fun, daring– these movies are truly free You watch them and experience the joy the creators had in making them. I can only make the kind of movies that I want to see, and Medal of Victory is certainly in that genre of films meant, above all, to delight audiences.
Why do you want to make films?
It’s a great job! Chaotic, but never boring. I’ve had boring jobs. Once while temping in New York a decade ago, I showed up to what I thought was a day gig in corporate America, only to find out I would be shoveling sand for a swimwear display. Believe me, making movies is a lot more fun than shoveling sand in a suit and tie.
Current favorite voices in TV/FILM?
Right now I’m in the cult of Jonathan Glazer after seeing Under the Skin. Definitely one of the scariest movies of the last decade. Breaking Bad, of course. It, to quote Sir Anthony Hopkins, “started as a black comedy, (then) descended into a labyrinth of blood, destruction and hell.” That’s entertainment.
Favorite performance of all time?
While I don’t have a favorite performance for sheer viewing delight, I am partial to Kirk Douglas, especially in Ace In The Hole and Paths of Glory. He always tread the line between comedy and tragedy and has the most winning chin in Hollywood history. And he’s 97 years old! Yes, a true American hero for us all.
Got any advice for other aspiring filmmakers?
Keep writing, shooting and editing until you get it right. In the beginning, whatever you’re doing will always suck, that’s normal. The key is to keep improving it until it’s great. And anything less than great means it still sucks.
Anything else you want our readers to know about MOV? What’s next?
Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for updates! We’ll be rolling out all sorts of fun stuff in the coming months; election ads, commercials, possibly even a music video, all a part of the world we created for Medal of Victory. There’s a lot to enjoy with this film.
To finish up the movie in time for festival submissions this fall we’re partnering up with a great post company, Light Iron, for our digital intermediate and for our sound mix, One Thousand Birds, located in Brooklyn.
In closing, can you please tell us a random gem about you that not too many people may know?
I’m a triplet, the fraternal one. My bro’s are also filmmakers and live in sunny LA. But really my true random claim to fame is a two minute piece on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s love of guns and asses set to live polka music that’s garnered over 1,900,000 hits on YouTube. Thank you, Arnold.
Thank you, Josh! And thanks to you and the Wharehouse District Productions team for contributing to our Emerging Filmmaker Series. Best to you guys and we’ll be on the lookout for Medal of Victory. Keep us posted on the journey!
Jason, originally from Alaska, is one of the founding members of
Warehouse District Productions and serves as its chief executive.
He lives in Nashville and has worked around the country
as a producer, actor, stuntman, fight director and stunt coordinator.
He also spent six years as a flying director for ZFX Flying Effects,
rigging and choreographing flying effects around the world on
everything from film and TV commercials to Broadway musicals.
He’s been stung by a sting-ray and charged by a moose.
Mason is a Chicago based actor, producer and fight director whose work has been seen on stages across the country.
He is one of the founding members of Warehouse District Productions and serves as its chief of operations. He also wrote and directed Warehouse District Productions’ first short, The Captain and Me, which appeared in numerous U.S. and international film festivals including the L.A. Shorts Film Festival and the Melbourne International Film Festival. He was a charter member of Polarity Ensemble Theatre in Chicago where his portrayal of Hamlet and his fight direction for the same show helped Polarity earn the recognition of “Best Emerging Theatre Company of 2008” by the Chicago Reader. While spinning yarns of gold he often dreams of weaving tree-top hammocks of twine.
Joshua is a director, writer and editor living in Brooklyn, NYC.
His student thesis film at the University of Wisconsin, Supermax Wisconsin, premiered at the Slamdance Film Festival and went on to play festivals nationwide. The late Howard Zinn wrote of it, “I know of no film that tells the story of American prisons more dramatically, more powerfully than the documentary, Supermax Wisconsin.” His short film, Treasury Men in Action, was acquired by Cinetic Rights Management and Indieflix and made its premiere on Hulu.com. Josh has edited for National Geographic and national campaigns for Skype and ESPN. Medal of Victory, an action comedy, is his first feature film.
Will is an actor and producer living in New York. He is one of the founders of Warehouse District Productions and serves as the company’s chief of development. He received his MFA at the Actors Studio Drama School, studying there under some of the great film and theater artists of our time. Will was the youngest accredited elections monitor in El Salvador in 1994 after its long civil war, has traveled extensively through Central America, the Caribbean and Australia and climbed to elevations of over 18,000 feet while driving the road from Manali, India, over the Himalayas to Leh in India-controlled Kashmir, 50 miles from Tibet. He can be seen this Fall as Stephen Heinz in the upcoming NBC series State of Affairs.