Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Filmmaker Focus: Jeremy Kipp Walker

J. Anderson Mitchell (left), writer/co-director, and Jeremy Kipp Walker (right), producer/co-director, SUPER POWERS

Jeremy Kipp Walker & J. Anderson Mitchell's 2007 Academy Award-qualifying debut short film "Goodnight Bill" screened at more than 20 premiere film festivals on the 2005 circuit, winning the Jury Award for Best Short Film at the 2005 Austin Film Festival, a Best of Fest Screenplay Award from the 2005 Rhode Island Film Festival, and numerous other accolades. Walker recently co-produced Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden's feature film "Half Nelson" starring Ryan Gosling, released by ThinkFilm. He joined the staff of Journeyman Pictures in 2001. Prior to Journeyman, Walker worked in production at Woody Allen's Perdido Productions on Allen's features "The Curse of the Jade Scorpion" and "Hollywood Ending." Mitchell recently completed his MFA in dramatic writing at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and has written numerous short and feature screenplays.

How did the initial idea for this story come about? How did it develop?
On his way to work everyday in Manhattan, John (the writer and co-director) would pass an adult store on Sixth Avenue that had a Wonder Woman costume in the display window right next to a bevy of lingerie and naughty ensembles. It always struck him as funny and a bit out of place, but eventually it became the seed to this short film.

Goodnight Bill, which won the Jury Award at the 2005 Austin Film Festival, and Super Powers are very different in tone. Are you deliberately exploring a range of styles?
They are very different projects, indeed. John and I always try to find the best style to coincide with the specific story we're telling. We've made quite a few short films, and each one has a different look, feel and tone because each world and each set of characters are distinct. Some directors have a signature style. We prefer to let the story dictate the mood and feel of the film and interpret our approach from there.

How long did it take to shoot? Given the costumes, were there any funny encounters?
We shot the film over three days in Manhattan. We did two days in an apartment on West 15th Street and then a third day for exteriors and an interior pharmacy in the Financial District. It was a lot of fun having our lead actors running around the streets of Manhattan in their underwear, but the best part had to be when Jay Klaitz (Larry) was dressed as Batman running down a fire escape and a little boy on his father's shoulders looked up from the sidewalk with a huge smile and said, "Look, Daddy! Look! It's Batman!" It was as if he'd just seen Santa flying through the sky on Christmas Eve.

What other types of projects are you working on?
We're working on the script to our first feature project. A small, personal film that we hope to be able to shoot in 2007.

The narrative short SUPER POWERS will be screened as part of Shorts Program 2 at 7:40 pm on Friday, Oct. 20, and at 9:15 pm on Sunday, Oct. 22. Film passes to the Austin Film Festival are just $35 for admission to all screenings (space permitting).

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