Don't Wait for Somebody to Make Your Movie, Do it Yourself: The Award Winning Mantra Behind 'Thunder Road'
The future of filmmaking belongs to the people who can do every fIlmmaking job.
Some would say that Jim Cummings' journey to winning this year's SXSW Grand Jury Prize for best narrative feature started back in 2016 when his short film Thunder Road won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. Yes, the short, which many consider one of the greatest of all time, was the source for their feature adaptation, but in reality, Jim's journey to SXSW royalty started long before Thunder Road. And while he's certainly the star of this film, it would also be unfair to say that Jim made this journey alone.
Between Jim, the film's creative director Danny Madden, and producer Ben Wiessner, the tight-knit crew behind the film have worked together on projects at SXSW for the last seven years in a row. In 2018, their production company ORNANA, wasn't only in Austin to represent Thunder Road, but also for the Vimeo Staff Pick Award winning short Krista. Mere hours after winning their respective awards, the team was already at it again, creating a video and launching a Kickstarter for the feature-length version of Krista.
Even with a Grand Jury Prize from Sundance at their disposal, Jim and crew found it impossible to find anyone who would produce their feature. But that didn't stop them. It just fueled the fire more. Thunder Road, which tells the story of an eccentric police officer whose mourning over his mother's death leads to disastrous consequences, is the result of a decade of strong team building, work ethic, and an unrelenting desire to get stories told.
Joining me on the podcast today are several members of the producing team that made it happen, Ben Weissner, Natalie Metzger and Matt Miller. cinematographer Lowell Meyer (who himself had three projects in competition at the festival) and of course: writer, director and actor, Officer Arnaud himself, Jim Cummings. We discuss all aspects of production which surround their mantra: "Don't wait for somebody to make your movie, do it yourself."
Listen to the episode by streaming or downloading from the embedded player above, or find it on iTunes here.