He is the man behind The Man Who Loved Flowers Dollar Baby Film.
SKSM: Could you start with telling me a bit about yourself? Who are you and whad do you do?
Justin Zimmerman: Here’s what it says on the ol’ internet: Justin Zimmerman is a nationally recognized writer, filmmaker and professor. His narrative and documentary work has appeared in film festivals across the globe and has been broadcast on national public television, where he won two international television awards. He’s also been the recipient of multiple grants and fellowships, and his script and comic work has been optioned on several occasions. His work can be found at his website here: https://www.brickerdown.com
SKSM: When did you make The man who loved flowers? Can you tell me a little about the production? How much did it cost? How long did it take to film it?
Justin Zimmerman: I received approval from King’s office in May of 2014, then shot THE MAN WHO LOVED FLOWERS in October. I spent 5 days on location, which was 100% in and around Estacada, Oregon. We finished the film in February, 2015. The overall budget was reduced significantly by the fact that folks worked for scale, or in many cases, volunteered. This was a production where everyone – and I mean EVERYONE – poured their hearts and souls into doing this film right. That said, I could have bought a small car with the money put into the film, and if we calculated all the in-kind donations and help, I probably could have bought a house in Middle America for TMWLF’s total cost.
SKSM: How come you picked The man who loved flowers to develop into a movie? What is it in the story that you like so much?
Justin Zimmerman: To me, TMWLF is a perfect short story for film. Containable, adaptable and with a snarling subtext I wanted to explore in my own visual way. Fortunately I had the cast and crew to make that happen.
SKSM: Are you Stephen King fan? If so, which are your favorite works and adaptations?
Justin Zimmerman: I have been a Stephen King fan for my entire life. I also happen to love Maine, as my family has been traveling to Acadia National Park since I was a child. I grew up on his short stories – Night Shift and Skeleton Crew – and read It and The Stand pretty young. I was a voracious reader. I can’t say I have a favorite work, though, as so many of his books serve as benchmarks to different points in my life, including On Writing.
SKSM: How did you find out that King sold the movie rights to some of his stories for just $1? Was it just a wild guess or did you know it before you sent him the check?
Justin Zimmerman: I have my Master’s in Film, and heard about the non-exclusive, non-commercial rights contract in my MFA program. I actually secured the rights for a story for one of my classmates. So I was intimately familiar with the concept.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when you made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
Justin Zimmerman: I can tell you when I was my most terrified. A pivotal, exterior scene was in real jeopardy because of a sudden and unexpected storm. But the cast and crew moved quickly and followed me into an interior locale that we turned into a “store” in record time. I defy anyone to watch the film and find a moment where it doesn’t feel 100% authentic. I was so damn proud of my team that day, and I think they were proud of me.
SKSM: Do you plan to screen the movie at a particular festival?
Justin Zimmerman: The film isn’t even two months old yet and I’ve already been invited as a guest to several fests and screenings. The film is out for review at over 25 other fests as I type this. The easiest way to keep in touch with TMWLF is at the Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/TMWLFlowers
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 an internet/dvd release would be possible?
Justin Zimmerman: There are things you can control, and there are things you can’t. I knew what the bounds of the contract were when I signed it. Complaining would be disingenuous.
SKSM: What “good or bad” reference have you received on your film?
Justin Zimmerman: Reviews have been astounding. Here’s my favorite: http://www.nerdophiles.com/2015/03/20/the-man-who-loved-flowers-is-six-minutes-of-joyful-creepiness/
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)?
Justin Zimmerman: The approval from King’s office was instantaneous. I have not yet heard from Steve.
SKSM: Do you have any plans for making more movies based on Stephen King’s stories? If you could pick -at least- one story to shoot, which one would it be and why?
Justin Zimmerman: I would kill to adapt The Regulators. It was made for me.
SKSM: What are you working at nowadays?
Justin Zimmerman: I am wrapping up my first feature length film, a 3+ year in the making documentary about Los Angeles’ Specialized Mobile Animal Rescue Team. I’m writing a new feature. And I’m wrapping up a new graphic novel project.
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to your fans?
Justin Zimmerman: I’m not sure “fans” is the right word, but I want to thank everyone, once again, for supporting my independent work!