Jonathan Newman Director, "Father's Day"
Hear what Ford Mustang Stories Grand Prize Winner Jonathan Newman had to say about his exprience of the competition.
What kind of response has "Father's Day" received?
It has been overwhelming. When you enter these things you always expect it to be a bit of a lottery, and you never expect to win. Sandy Grushow from Filmaka graciously introduced me to a few people around town and I secured a top agent at ICM. I have since met with some pretty powerful people and companies around Hollywood who have all really reacted strongly to my work, and I have a pile of scripts to get through. My only other submission to Filmaka, Swinging with the Finkels, made it to the last two to be turned into a series for FX network, and although didn't make it, is since being turned into a feature film by a major player.
What inspired your Ford Mustang Story?
I felt the key to bringing this film alive would be to focus on the human element. Rather than making a 'commercial' it was more important to make a 'film'. One that focussed on real people and real emotions. The Mustang is a much loved and cherished vehicle by mustang owners and enthusiasts. It is clear from the reaction I have received from mustang owners that have seen the film that they relate to the story of cherishing a childhood dream. At its heart, Father's Day is about having that childhood dream fulfilled, relayed through the simple bond between a Father and Son - a father who has perhaps given everything to his son, even though he has perhaps not had very much to give.. and conversly, a way for the son to say 'thank you' in a way that hits the heart.
What attracted you to the competition?
Initially, the fact that all I had to do was write a good script ( as opposed to going out and shooting something with no money), meant that I could use my skills without any financial outlay to possibly advance to the next stage. Second, its's JWT. JWT is big, and they are international, and even I know them over here! And third, it's FORD, one of the biggest car manafacturers in the world. What wouldn't attract any sane individual to something like this?!
What was it like to attend the LA International Auto Show?
Wow! Amazing. The reveal event was incredible. FORD and JWT did an amazing job of putting that together. It was literally like a rock concert ( Aerosmith, not Madonna). They had some incredible stunt driving, all the legends of Mustang over the past 50 years were present. The guys from JWT deserve an award for organising that event. They were very generous in bringing me out to LA for the event and I was so pleased to be a part of it and proud of my film screening there.
Any advice for other filmakers who are thinking of submitting to Filmaka?
Script, script, script. Second, read the brief carefully. Submit what is requested of you. Third, pull out the stops to make your project of the highest production value possible. Cast good actors, shoot on a good format. Get someone else to produce it for you. Have your own choice.
What's next for you?
Where do I start? It's been very busy for me recently. In the first instance, I will be shooting the next film(s) for Ford and JWT ( possibly more than one!). Those will be on pretty enormous budgets, which is great to get the chance to make something of real high end production value and possibly even use celebrities to star in it. That will shoot in LA in the New Year. The canvas is blank and JWT and Ford have given me great creative freedom as to the script and the creative elements. It is a real buzz to be able to shoot a film for one of the biggest ad agencies and car manafactures in the world. A real sense of pressure to,as I want to deliver something that they are both very proud of exhibiting.
Next, I have two feature films that are scheduled to shoot next year, one shooting in London and the other in Puerto Rico - they are currently being casts as we speak.
There are also new opportunities coming my way regularly, and the door is wide open for the future. I just have to pick which door to walk through...
Ford Mustang Stories Competition
When Ford asked our members to send in their Mustang Stories, our members submitted almost 400 scripts. Ford gave $5000 to fund production for 22 Semi-Finalists. They each had 2 weeks to produce their film.
See who our 10 winners are!
Bullitt Mustang by Aion Velie
Down the Road by Alejandro Marquez
And Then We Kissed by Azhur Saleem
First Kiss by Colin Costello & Lloyd Stein
Mustang Magic by Cullen Wright and Scott & Paula Merrow
The Good, The Bad, & The Mustang by Erik Snove & Joachim Ronning
The New Girl by Jon Hill & Cary Dicristina
Father's Day by Jonathan Newman(Grand Prize Winner)
My Father and I by Sammie Lau
Numskull by Zack Resnicoff & Sonny Calderon
Man's Best Friend by Brandon Graham
The One by Carolyn Kras & Dave Korta
Passion by Dana Barnaby
Run With Me by Dario Ingrami
Neighborly Love by Frederico Forcolini
Road Trip by Jesse Selwyn
Seems Like Yesterday by Kaye Kittrell
Unleashed by Mike Rix
002 vs. Dr. Buzzsaw by Quad Deuce
Soooo Happy Birthday by Tom Wozny
Summer Fun by Varda Hardy & Carrie Love
You Gotta Say Mustang by Yaara Sumeruk