Thursday, January 29, 2015

Jack Lewars on "Mount Joy"

What was your filmmaking background before making Mount Joy?

JACK: I graduated from the film school at Penn State. My first feature was a movie called Alligator Run. It was a documentary about two guys who drove their 5-foot pet alligator from their home in LA to release it into the swamps of Gainsville FL. I also work as a colorist at Technicolor New York - I watch a lot of great films and work with a lot of directors I admire.

How did you get connected to M. Angelo Mena's script and what drew you to it?

JACK: Mena and I grew up together in the town of Mount Joy, Pennsylvania. We based the film on a lot of our childhood friends and experiences. There was a thriving underground music scene there at the time. We wanted to make a movie about what it's like to dream of life beyond the borders of your small hometown -- set to a really great soundtrack.

Can you talk about how you raised your budget and your financial plan for recouping your costs?

JACK: We partnered up with an amazing DP, Mark Sparrough, who also came in as a producer. Mark brought in a lot of investors. Besides that we called everyone we knew. All in all, we managed to convince a dozen people to invest in the movie. We also had a successful Kickstarter campaign that brought in the remaining funds.

As far as our distribution: we had a limited theatrical release followed by a release on VOD platforms like iTunes and Amazon as well as having a Cable-on-demand run. We feel like we won the jackpot with the cable deal - not a lot of indies are accepted onto those platforms.

How did you cast the film and did the script change much once you had your cast in place?

JACK: Sure after casting I think the dialogue really came to life, we changed some of that around. But honestly the script went through its biggest transformation in editing. We had to cut out an entire section of the story that was hindering the pacing of the film. It was something we never would or could have predicted would be on the cutting room floor, but we had a great team of editors who made the suggestion and they were right.

What kind of camera did you use to shoot the movie -- and what did you love about it and hate about it?

JACK: We used the Panavision Genesis. Love? Out movie looks beautiful. It's one of the few digital cameras that actually looks like film.

Hate? It weights as much as a small VW car engine.

What was the smartest thing you did during production? The dumbest?

JACK: The smartest thing I think we did was to go home to a community who supported our production. Tons of people came out to help, acting as extras, lent us locations and spread the word.

The dumbest thing we did was crash our cube truck into the overpass of the motel where we were all staying - it was at the end of an 18-hour day of shooting and we were exhausted and over-heated and forgot the truck was too tall for that overpass.

And, finally, what did you learn from making the film that you have taken to other projects?

JACK: We assembled a good crew that we'll continue to use in the future. The vibe on-set really makes or breaks a movie. Well maybe the audience can't tell when they watch the finished product but certainly a big part of why I want to continue to make movies is because I have fun doing it.

Mount Joy is currently being released nationally on most cable on-demand platforms. The film is also available on iTunes, Amazon and DVD via their site:
Photo credit: BIANCA CORDOVA

1 comment:

Movie fan from Jersey said...

Loved the movie. Gotta see it again.