Thomas L. Phillips, director. Photo by Mike Stanton
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, Thomas L. Phillips, director of "Where I Begin." 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: A decade after a tragic event, Jacob decides to return home to his small southern roots, only to find that the past is not really the past and that people may change but they never forget. His unexpected homecoming once again intertwines him with the family, friends and the town he left in his wake. Jacob searches for his way back home, but can you ever really go home? Q. 2: Biggest lesson learned in getting the film made? Best part in getting the film made? A: "Where I Begin" is the third feature film that I've directed, and it never fails, you always learn something new on each and every production. If you think you know it all, then you're wrong. This time I truly learned that working with people that believe in the project makes all of the difference in the world. You can do this for money, for fame or for acknowledgment, but when you do it for love and passion, the creativity can be seen and felt the entire way through. But most importantly it can be felt in the finished product.
The best part about getting this film made is that is was a life long dream."Where I Begin" is the movie I have wanted to make since I got into this business, I had always wanted to return to the south and shoot a movie set in the south. And thanks to co-writer Melanie Addington and Laura Warner, I was able to just that.
The south is always represented in a certain way, especially small towns, and being from the south and having lived in small towns, I wanted to be able to represent that on screen. Being able to combine that with a personal story that I had been wanting to tell, was the best part about getting this film made. Q. 3: Tell us about you. What is your movie making background? A: I got my start in theatre as an actor, which was nothing more than a stepping stone to directing theatre. It was fun being able to create different characters as an actor, but I am sure I got greedy. Watching directors get to create an entire world, and getting to helps actors mold their characters, was amazing to watch, and I knew that I what I wanted to do.
The stage shows I directed got smaller and smaller in black box theatres, that is because I wanted to be close to the audience and in their faces. I wanted the audience to focus on specific things at specific times, but you can only dot that so much in theater, so the idea of using a camera to make an audience see and feel what I see and feel was more than intriguing.
After getting my undergrad degree in theatre, I went off to Chapman University to get my MFA in Film/Television Production, and well, is is what I have been doing ever since. Q. 4: What's your dream distribution plan for the film? A: Well I think any filmmakers ultimate distribution plan would be to get picked up and get theatrical release, and in all honesty that is what I am hoping for. I mean is "Where I Begin" the type of film that will play 2,500 screens? No, but a nice independent theatrical release would be amazing. That followed by release on DVD. These are the main goals, always dream big. But nowadays there are so many outlets and ways to self distribute that anything is possible. Q. 5: What does the future hold in store for your film and for you? A: The future is looking bright right now for me and "Where I Begin." This is just the beginning of the film festival year. I hope to be traveling all over the world to as many film festivals as "Where I Begin" is accepted into, and we hope that will be many. I feel the movie can be a crowd pleaser on the film festival circuit, and hopefully find a distributor to call home before we are all said and done.
I have a couple projects floating around in my head that I want to do next. Nothing is concrete as of yet, but before I really get going on the festival circuit I will have something in mind.