Thursday, January 26, 2012

Take 5 with "Cellmates"

Jesse Baget (right) with actor Tom Sizemore
As we gear up for the Oxford Film Festival 2012 to be held at the Malco Studio Theater on Feb. 9-12, 2012 and also at the Lyric Theater on Saturday, Feb. 11 as part of the Oxford Music Festival line-up where we will show music films, videos and a panel on music + film, we thought we might introduce you to some of the people behind the movies we can't wait to show you. For the full schedule and description of the films, visit

Meet Take 5 filmmaker, Jesse Baget, Writer, Director of Cellmates”

Q. 1: In 140 characters or less, describe your movie and why someone should see it.
A: Cellmates is a comedic take on a very serious subject matter. The story follows hardened Ku Klux Klansman Leroy Lowe played by Tom Sizemore and Mexican farm laborer Emilio played by Nacho Libre's Hector Jimenez as they are forced to share a prison cell. This is a film that will definitively make you think and laugh.

Q. 2: Biggest lesson learned in getting the film made? Best part in getting the film made?

A:I produced, directed and edited Cellmates, and co-wrote it with my writing partner Stefania Moscato.  While the prospect of bringing a film to life from script to screen entirely on our own was overwhelming, it also was an exhilarating experience to watch it come together the way I had envisioned it.  The first draft of Cellmates was of much bigger size and scope. After failing to raise a budget to do the film properly it became apparent that if I wanted the film made I would have to scale down the production and do it myself. This forced us to rewrite the script. We ended up with only 5 characters and a handful of locations. This made the film possible on a smaller budget.
The goal was to create a film that would not look that much different if made for a few million dollars or a smaller budget. Tom Sizemore, Stacy Keach and Héctor Jiménez have the amazing chemistry and comedic timing that makes the movie work for me. As a director, that was my greatest reward.

Q. 3: Tell us about you. What is your movie making background?

A:While in high school I put together my first feature film with a Canon XL1. It took me three years to complete but I learned a great deal, especially during the editing process. Essentially, that was my film school. Soon as I graduated high school I headed out to Los Angeles and I've been working on honing my craft ever since.

Q. 4: What's your dream distribution plan for the film?

A: Cellmates will be available on Video On Demand through Warner Brothers starting in February and on DVD in March through Viva Pictures. We hope to make a good splash overseas too.

Q. 5: What does the future hold in store for your film and for you?

A:I just completed Breathless which stars one of my favorite actresses to ever grace the screen, Gina Gershon, as well as Kelli Giddish, Val Kilmer, Ray Liotta and Wayne Duvall. It's a dark comedy about two women who race against the clock to dispose of a body before the authorities show up at their door all the while looking for one hundred thousand dollars resulting from a bank robbery. It’s a fun, edge-of-your-seat thriller that will be released early 2012 by Anchor Bay and Voltage.

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