He is the man behind My Pretty Pony Dollar Baby Film.
SKSM: Could you start with telling me a bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
Maciej Barczewski: Hi, I’m a director and producer affiliated with Gdynia Film School in Poland. A lawyer by training, I also teach copyright and media law in Europe and the US.
SKSM: When did you make My pretty pony? Can you tell me a little about the production? How much did it cost? How long did it take to film it?
Maciej Barczewski: We shot it in the summer of 2016. The whole shoot lasted almost 10 days. We intended to make it in 7 days, but the frivolous weather rendered that goal impossible. The budget was ultra-low, not more than 15.000 dollars. Yet, thanks to the efforts and combined talents of our whole film crew, one of the professionals who saw the final cut estimated that we had to spend more than 200.000 dollars to achieve such a level of quality. We did not correct him.
SKSM: How come you picked My pretty pony to develop into a movie? What is it in the story that you like so much?
Maciej Barczewski: I recall that when I read it for the first time in 1993 in the collection of Nightmares and Dreamscapes I did not enjoy it as much as other stories. As a young reader I was disappointed that there were no supernatural elements, no twist or even a distinct ending to the story. At that time it seemed to be just a long scene of a grandfather talking to his grandson. Many years later, when I thought about making a film with time as a main theme, and I revisited this story it struck me as a deep and multilayered reflection on both the nature of time and family relationships. Then everything just clicked and I knew I had to make my version of ‘My Pretty Pony’. The movie is about time and it took time to grow up to it.
SKSM: How did you find out that King sold the movie rights to some of his stories for just $1? Was it just a wikd guess or did you know it before you sent him the check?
Maciej Barczewski: I heard that Stephen King supports independent filmmakers by allowing for non-exclusive adaptations of some of his stories. That is very gracious and a proof of his love for the art of cinema.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when you made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
Maciej Barczewski: There were many, as usual. For example, one day me and my DOP Krzysztof almost got electrocuted when we moved a piece of set design. Fortunately, at the end of the day everything turned out fine.
SKSM: How does it feel that all the King fans out there can’t see your movie? Do you think that will change in the future? Maybe a internet/dvd release would be possible?
Maciej Barczewski: From the perspective of possible future studio adaptations of these stories it is entirely justified. Yet, I guess that some kind of a limited DVD edition of the best dollar babies would not hurt the commercial potential of their studio reworkings. But it is up to Stephen King to decide about such an endeavor.
SKSM: What “good or bad” reviews have you received on your film?
Maciej Barczewski: So far the reception has been terrific. Within only a month of a festival circuit our film has been awarded seven times at festivals both in Hollywood and Europe. Reviews say that it’s ‘captivating’ and ‘charming’. A number of times I heard that its cinematography and soundtrack is reminiscent of the early works of Spielberg. One cannot imagine better compliments and all our film crew earned them through their hard work.
SKSM: Did you have any personal contact with King during the making of the movie? Has he seen it (and if so, what did he think about it)?
Maciej Barczewski: I have received a contract signed by Mr King, but all the arrangements have been made with his kind assistant Margaret. I have recently sent him a copy of the movie, but I guess that at the moment he’s too busy with his professional commitments to provide any feedback.
SKSM: What are you working nowadays?
Maciej Barczewski: Just a few days ago we have wrapped a major feature film I’m co-producing called ‘The Fastest’ (pol. Najlepszy) which will enter screens late autumn, with any luck not only in Poland. It tells a true extraordinary tale of a former drug-addict who becomes a triathlon world champion. I’m also working on a script of a World War II drama I would hope to shoot next year. Apart from the film work I’m putting finishing touches on two books on intellectual property and high technology law. So it’s a busy, busy time.
SKSM: Do you have any plans for making more movies based on Stephen King’s stories? If you could pick -at least- one stroy to shoot, which one would it be and why?
Maciej Barczewski: Oh well, I would love to. The problem is that almost of all them have been optioned or have been recently made. I always dreamed of plunging into the Dark Tower universe and ‘Wizard and Glass’ is a masterpiece of magical storytelling. It would also be fun to revisit the little town of Salem’s Lot.
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to your fans?
Maciej Barczewski: If you have an opportunity to see ‘My Pretty Pony’ at a festival nearby, do not hesitate. You will enjoy it.