Behind the Scenes with Michelle Schumacher Director of “I’m Not Here”
San Diego International Film Festival CEO and Artistic Director Tonya Mantooth sat down with Director/Producer Michelle Schumacher about the upcoming release of I’m Not Here
I’m Not Here will be opening in San Diego on March 8th at AMC Fashion Valley!
Tonya: I’m excited that I’m Not Here will be opening in San Diego on March 8 at the AMC Fashion Valley. The San Diego Int’l Film Festival was so fortunate to screen your film at the Film Insider Series last year and it was wonderful to have you and JK Simmons here for the Q&A. What has your journey with the film been since we saw you last?
Michelle: Thank you again for that. It was incredible to have our North American debut here in my home town of San Diego, CA. We had several offers for our film, including one from a rather large company. The problem was they wanted to attach their names as producers of the film, take complete control of any marketing (including the title of the film, trailers, posters, platforms etc.) and they wanted a substantial percentage before recouping production costs. I know a lot of Indies have to go this route but our team (Producers Randle Schumacher, Eric Radzan and myself) decided to take a different path. We decided to self-distribute. We had an incredible trailer created by AV Squad, a dynamic poster by BLT and hired THINK JAM and PMK to do some PR work for us. We’re in the top 20 of pre-orders on iTunes, we’ve been on The Late Show with Seth Meyers, The Today Show, The Talk and numerous other Sirius XM, TV and Radio spots and our Social Media platforms are reaching millions. I’M NOT HERE will be in over 20 major cities starting March 8th as well as most Digital Platforms. It’s been an incredible ride. Best decision we made!
Tonya: What surprised you the most in the process of getting distribution and releasing your film theatrically?
Michelle: It surprised me how difficult it is today to get distribution unless you’re affiliated with a major studio. True Indies don’t have the platforms they used to have.
Tonya: Why was this film so important for you to make?
Michelle: My writing partner, Tony Cummings and I wanted to tell a human story. We’ve both always been interested in the human condition and quantum mechanics (strange I know) Every time we think we understand even a little bit about either, we just as quickly think-What?!? We both had people in our lives who had addiction problems and we wanted to write a story that many people can relate to. We thought, what would life be like if we could really understand the idea of infinite possibilities?
Tonya: JK Simmons is such a consummate actor, what did he bring to the role that was unexpected?
Michelle: Hmmm, unexpected… I don’t know that I expected anything other than his full commitment, which he definitely gave. I will say that JK had several very heavy and dramatic scenes in the movie and during every take, the entire set was in tears. Every single take.
Tonya: You Co-Wrote the film, directed and edited the film…what is the part of the process that “lights you up” the most?
Michelle: There are moments in all of those areas: when Tony and I have an inspired breakthrough in the script, when a scene between actors is so grounded and authentic it’s palpable, when I lay a sequence and the rhythm is almost musical. They all light me up!
Tonya: You’re a San Diego native. You grew up here and were in countless theatre productions. What does it feel like to have your directorial debut releasing in theaters in your home town?
Michelle: I feel grateful for the creative foundation I received in my youth. I went to the Chula Vista High School of Performing Arts and studied with Jack Tygett and Javier Velasco, as well as many other incredible teachers. I did several plays and musicals at Southwestern College under the inspired direction of Bill Virchis and at The Starlight Bowl with Don and Bonnie Ward. I was fortunate to have Welton Jones as a mentor. These remarkable teachers along with the infinite love and support from my Mother and my family, gave me everything I needed to connect with the artist inside me and the courage to share my art with the world.
I’m Not Here opens in theaters March 8th. Find a theater near you. #ImNotHereMovie