Fairview St. (USA, 1 hr 51 sec)
Directed by: Michael McCallum
Written by: Michael McCallum
Elizabeth Moore, Jeff Bone, Jerrod Root, Justin Muschong, Michael McCallum, Shane Hagedorn
Paroled after serving four years in prison for armed robbery, James Winton is coming home, uncertain of his future. When a murder occurs, he becomes the prime suspect, pursued by two detectives, determined to make him pay
An Interview With Writer/Director/Actor Michael McCallum
JWB. What was the inspiration behind your feature film Fairview St?
MM. Fairview St. is my first feature film as a writer/director. It took me years to write. Through that process I hit every possible stage of writer's block. I didn't write from any autobiographical place, but I did pull certain story ideas and situations from people that I knew. That combined with a vivid imagination and a love for classic films helped be gear the look, feel and tone to the film. I wanted it to to be a modern day noir story. Following the lines of a true noir: "wherever the protagonist goes, fate is tripping him up."
JWB. And what inspired you to become a film maker?
MM. I originally started out just acting. I took a film course at the college that I attended, briefly, with the hopes of finding a way to better communicate with directors. After my three short student films, I had a better understanding of what a director goes through and also a drive to tell my own stories.
JWB. Were you expecting the film to be as well received as it has been?
MM. I hoped it would blow people away. I didn\'t expect that we could get it out to as many festivals as we have, initially, but I did have the hopes of grabbing every audience that saw it. Or at least a few of those folks in the seats would be drawn to it and it would touch their imaginations as well.
JWB. Do you have a lot of encouragement from family and friends? Do they get involved?
MM. My Father is my rock. He's my best friend and someone that I can truly count on. He's never let me down. It also helps that he's an incredibly natural actor. He gives a powerfully weighted performance in Fairview St. and plays the comedic heavy in Handlebar. I'm also writing him (along with A.E. Griffin, my long-time friend and collaborator) as the lead character in my fourth feature, Buffalo. The rest of my family is pretty fractured, so my friends have become, over time, my true family. Most have gotten involved in some way shape or form. Whether it's acting, donating time, meals, or helping to promote the films, they have a hand in it. We're like a band of gypsies here in Mid-Michigan. I also have an incredibly talented and patient girlfriend.
JWB. I believe the most important part of independent film making is that you enjoy it? Have you enjoyed working with your team on films?
MM. I really have. When we're working, we're the happiest. I love all areas of filmmaking: the idea stage, pre-production, actually shooting and making magic and the power of editing is such a beautifully rich place to be. The lack of money when promoting it can be a strain. That is something I don't enjoy.
JWB. What can we expect from you in the future? Do you have a preferred genre or style?
MM. I don't have a preferred genre or style. With Fairview St. & Shadowpuppet both playing at the Astoria/LIC International Film Festival this year it could be easy to say black and white noir, but Handlebar was a color dark comedy and Lucky, a color dramedy. Waiter From Hell, a color trilogy of comedic films. Buffalo, will be a color drama. I just like to tell honest stories with a truth and care given to the story and acting first and foremost. The people in the story are the most important. That doesn't mean the other elements aren't, because they are, but the acting and the story come first. No compromise there.
JWB. Can attendees expect to see you at the festival?
MM. This is the disappointing part of the interview. I'm a blue-collar filmmaker. I made Fairview St. & Shadowpuppet for what most big "Hollywood" films would spend on catering. I'm proud of that. Just because it's low budget, doesn't mean it's low quality. But unfortunately I work a day job and live in Michigan. I'd give anything to be there...Hopefully next year with Handlebar I'll be able to attend. Anyone interested in seeing any of the other previews to the films and/or purchasing a dvd/cd soundtrack can find them at: rebelpictures.net
Writer/Director/Actor Michael McCallum’s Bio
Michael McCallum is an award winning director/writer/actor who was born in Lansing, MI where he currently resides. His first feature film as a writer/director, Fairview St., was premiered in Jan. 2009 at Celebration Cinema to sell out crowds. The film has been accepted into 19 film festivals nationally, played in 12 different states and won 8 major awards. His second feature as a writer/director, Handlebar, premiered at Celebration Cinema in Feb. 2010 and has been accepted into its first 4 film festivals and has won two awards so far. Lucky, his third feature will premiere in 2011. The acceptance of Shadowpuppet into the Blue Water Film Festival marks its 4th film festival. In addition to film, Michael is also an accomplished theater performer. He stepped back on to the stage and played "Nickles" in J.B. last year for Capital Theater Works. He recently worked as the assistant director for Dying City with Capital Theater Works. His films, trailers and writing can be seen and purchased at: rebelpictures.net Thank you very much to Michael McCallum for taking the time to talk to us about Fairview ST. You can read the movie review HERE.
Usually when I think about independent films I think low budget, inexperienced, messy and full of dialogue that is questionable, this however just shows how much the big movies can hypnotise and cram us full of nonsense. I have now watched a multitude of independent films that have surprised and delighted me, with a professional look and the obviously talented contributors having done an amazing job. Though one stand out film for me is Fairview St from Rebel Pictures, it is by far one of the best independent films I have ever had the pleasure of viewing, and that is my honest opinion. I may not have seen many, but easily enough to know when heart and soul have been pumped into the production. Who needs the big budget when you have determination? Fairview St follows ex con James Winton (Michael McCallum) who has been paroled from prison after a four-year sentence. As he tries to leave behind a life less pretty and start a whole new legitimate lifestyle with his wife Natalie (Elizabeth Moore) and father (William C. McCallum), things can never be so simple. Old acquaintances and former friends like Bobby (Jerrod Root) tend to do there best to keep this from happening. When a few people start to turn up dead, like Pop (Gary Glenn), the man who owned the restaurant where James and Natalie had there first date, and Craig (Justin Mustchong) another old friend with an immediate link to James, Det Massy (Jeff Bone) who put him behind bars the first time is determined to see him back where he belongs. If James is to lead a normal and happy life then he will need to get rid of his troublesome friends and prove his innocence. But luck is not on his side and neither is the law, though Det Ferguson (Shane Hagedorn) tries to understand, it doesn’t stop James’ whole world from crashing down around him. Something that really made this film feel like it was coming to life was the soundtrack, a very beautifully and wisely selected ensemble of tracks that really complimented the feature. Soundtracks and scores are usually quite difficult to get right within a film, but the Fairview St movie really has the right track for every mood. This film is a rollercoaster ride of crime and violence, yet told in a dramatic and light-hearted way. If I were to recommend a small screen hit to anyone, this would be it. The writer, director and star Michael McCallum definitely knew what he was doing when he created this little gem of an independent film. I will definitely be going through his back catalogue of shorts and watching the latest feature from Rebel Pictures – Handlebars, but that’s a whole other movie. Fairview St is a must watch at the Astoria/LIC Int'l Film Festival.