He is the man behind The Man Who Loved Flowers Dollar Baby Film.
SKSM: Who is Justin Zimmerman? Tell me a bit about yourself and what you do or have done.
Justin Zimmerman: Here’s the one paragraph answer used in some press release somewhere:
Justin Zimmerman has been an Assistant Professor of Cinema, the School-Based Programs Coordinator for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Athens County, and has directed Bricker-Down productions for six years. Zimmerman was the youngest, and most recognized, independent artist by the Ohio Arts Council during the 2003 – 2004 cycle, and his films have won multiple awards, including best documentary at the Chicago/IFP film festival. Zimmerman’s films have been aired on public television and are distributed nationally. Zimmerman, 27, is currently an Assistant Professor at the Western State College of Colorado, is in post-production on his first feature documentary, Fireland, and holds the rights to a Stephen King story to be filmed in Maine in 2006.
More information about Zimmerman can be found at his website, www.brickerdown.com.
SKSM: How come you chose The Man Who Loved Flowers to make a movie of?
Justin Zimmerman: It’s a visceral story that simply nails you. It’s clearly defined in terms of characters and set pieces – though I moved the film to Maine – and I thought it could be wonderfully adapted to the screen.
SKSM: At first you wanted to do this movie as a short film… why did you change your mind and decided you would make it a full length movie?
Justin Zimmerman: The character stuck with me, and I wanted to know more. If this did happen in a smaller locale, what would the repercussions be? How would daily life be changed? Who would care? What would happen? The short story became an important beginning to a feature film. One theory of cinema is that the screen is simply a window to another world. Well, the short story became that for me – a window to a larger screen story.
SKSM: Last year to have took a trip to Maine to shot pictures for the preproduction, how was that?
Justin Zimmerman: Incredible. I’ve been traveling to Maine since I was a child with my family — we camped at Acadia National Park for years. But last summer I went to shoot and scout. I shot 16mm and DVCAM footage and took a number of stills. I’ve released three official pre-pro shots of the MWLF. I also met with the wonderful individuals at Philtrum Press and the Southwest Harbor Chamber of Commerce to discuss aspects of the production, should it occur. It went extremely well. I drove to Ohio when the trip was done with a producer. We listened to King read his own On Writing on the way back. It all felt right.
SKSM: Will you be using the same actors, before knowing that you want to create a full-length movie? If not, who will you choose?
Justin Zimmerman: I didn’t get to that point. I secured the rights to the short, scouted and organized my pre-production, then secured the exclusive, commercial rights to adapt the short into a feature. The script is now on its third draft, to be turned in to Mr. King in March for his approval. Wish me luck.
SKSM: Are you planning to release this movie to the public (cinemas/dvd etc.) or will it remain a movie especially for film festivals.
Justin Zimmerman: If it’s the feature, I sure hope it’ll be in your local cinema.
SKSM: When and where will this movie be shot?
Justin Zimmerman: This also depends on budgetary restrictions and studio involvement. There are sections of the film specifically written for Southwest Harbor – including the story from Night Shift itself – these scenes have to happen there.
SKSM: Is it more difficult to make a 100 min movie than to make a short movie?
Justin Zimmerman: Yup.
SKSM: When will the movie have its premiere?
Justin Zimmerman: I won’t have the timetable for a couple of months. I’ll keep you updated.
SKSM: What do you think of Stephen King as a writer?
Justin Zimmerman: I remember reading a critique of the Children of the Corn awhile back. It dealt with the social ramifications of the piece – connected it to Vietnam, if I’m not mistaken. Bill, in IT, has some similar experiences with an egomaniacal teacher – the story HAS to be about social or cultural events to be relevant. King argues, of course, that sometimes the story is enough. And I love a good scare – ask my poor girlfriend, who has to play all the Silent Hill games with me and who’s seen Halloween and Jaws and Psycho more times then is humanely necessary. But here’s the deal – though King is amazing at creating terrifying scenes and scenarios, he taps into some amazing cultural and social phenomena. If you look at my doc work, you’ll see that I largely deal in the realm of socially oriented docs. And I’ve always been profoundly moved by that aspect of King’s writing – whether it’s intentional or not. From the Library Policeman (which I’d love to film someday) which deals with characters recovering from sexual abuse and personal addiction – to Rose Madder and the continued evolution of King’s battered women from victims to empowered individuals – often in the same book – he deals his characters out as individuals and not types. And those short stories – I mean, Bradbury, Salinger, King. Put me on an island for a year and that’s all I need. I grew up reading King’s stories. I’m still growing up reading King’s stories.
SKSM: Again, thanks for doing this interview. Do you have any last word for the people that read this?
Justin Zimmerman: Well, thanks for your interest. I’ll do the best I can with the work. For continued MWLF updates, check out my website: www.brickerdown.com.