As we gear up for the Oxford Film Festival 2011 to be held at the Malco Studio Theater on Feb. 10-13, 2011, we thought we might introduce you to some of the people behind the movies we can't wait to show you. Meet Take 5 filmmaker,Mike Piccirillo - Writer, Director, Producer, of "April." For the full schedule and description of the films, visit www.oxfordfilmfest.com. Q. 1: In 140 characters or less, describe your movie and why someone should see it. A: It's the classic fish-out-of-water story of a teenage girl starting out at a new high school....with a twist. Q. 2: Biggest lesson learned in getting the film made? Best part in getting the film made? A: Never think that it will be an "easy day". It usually guarantees that you will have a sound issue, faulty equipment or some other technical problem. Always be ready for anything.
The best thing about working on "April" was that we had a fully professional cast and crew and the set was run like a studio-level production. I am extremely proud of that. The crew were top-notch across the board. Working with the cast was equally as gratifying. There was a wealth of talented (and funny) performers and I couldn't be more pleased with their work. I think that quality shows on-screen. Q. 3: Tell us about you. What is your movie making background? A: I was born and raised in New Jersey. My uncle owned a cinema and hired my mother to manage it for him when I was a young child. Instead of hiring a babysitter, my mother brought me along, plopped me down in one of the auditoriums and movies were my nanny. When I was thirteen years old, my uncle hired me and I worked at the cinema as well. At fifteen, I was running the projectors. This is where I knew I wanted to work in film. I spent over ten years working at my uncle’s and other movie theatres.
After college, I moved to California. I followed a friend who moved out to pursue a career in film as well. He got me my first job on a professional film set, as a production assistant on a low-budget Wes Craven produced feature called “Wishmaster”.
I spent the next fourteen years working on professional films; at first as a production assistant, and then moving in to the Art Department. I currently work as an Art Department Coordinator. My most recent films were “Tron Legacy”, “G.I. Joe”, “Cloverfield” and “Blades of Glory”.
I became comfortable in the film industry with steady work. One day my wife asked me why I hadn’t pursued my original dream of becoming a director. I told her that it had been so long for me that I would need to go back to school. She encouraged me to do just that. I enrolled in the Film Directing program at UCLA Extension and graduated with an honours distinction. “APRIL” started out as my thesis and grew into what you see today. Q. 4: What's your dream distribution plan for the film? A: For short films, distribution is always a challenge. I have had so much positive feedback and success with "April" that I have been prompted to write a feature-length version.
So, I guess my dream distribution plan would be to acquire the cash and shoot the film as an independent feature. Q. 5: What does the future hold in store for your film and for you? A: Aside from the feature-length “April” project, I am currently directing a few episodes of a web-series that will premiere later this year. I also have a number of other projects in development, ranging from features to television series.