Jonathan Newman is the Grand Prize Winner for our Ford Mustang Story competition! You can see his winning film “Father’s Day” and other winning Mustang Story films, at www.the2010mustang.com
Hear what Ford Mustang Stories Grand Prize Winner Jonathan Newman had to say about his experience of the competition…
Filmaka: What kind of response has “Father’s Day” received?
Jonathan: It has been overwhelming. When you enter these things you always expect it to be a bit of a lottery, and you never expect to win. Sandy Grushow from Filmaka graciously introduced me to a few people around town and I secured a top agent at ICM. I have since met with some pretty powerful people and companies around Hollywood who have all really reacted strongly to my work, and I have a pile of scripts to get through. My only other submission to Filmaka, Swinging with the Finkels, made it to the last two to be turned into a series for FX network, and although didn’t make it, is since being turned into a feature film by a major player.
Filmaka: What inspired your Ford Mustang Story?
Jonathan: I felt the key to bringing this film alive would be to focus on the human element. Rather than making a ‘commercial’ it was more important to make a ‘film’. One that focussed on real people and real emotions. The Mustang is a much loved and cherished vehicle by mustang owners and enthusiasts. It is clear from the reaction I have received from mustang owners that have seen the film that they relate to the story of cherishing a childhood dream. At its heart, Father’s Day is about having that childhood dream fulfilled, relayed through the simple bond between a Father and Son – a father who has perhaps given everything to his son, even though he has perhaps not had very much to give.. and conversely, a way for the son to say ‘thank you’ in a way that hits the heart.
Filmaka: What attracted you to the competition?
Jonathan: Initially, the fact that all I had to do was write a good script ( as opposed to going out and shooting something with no money), meant that I could use my skills without any financial outlay to possibly advance to the next stage. Second, its’s JWT. JWT is big, and they are international, and even I know them over here! And third, it’s FORD, one of the biggest car manafacturers in the world. What wouldn’t attract any sane individual to something like this?!
Filmaka: What was it like to attend the LA International Auto Show?
Jonathan: Wow! Amazing. The reveal event was incredible. FORD and JWT did an amazing job of putting that together. It was literally like a rock concert ( Aerosmith, not Madonna). They had some incredible stunt driving, all the legends of Mustang over the past 50 years were present. The guys from JWT deserve an award for organising that event. They were very generous in bringing me out to LA for the event and I was so pleased to be a part of it and proud of my film screening there.
Filmaka: Any advice for other filmakers who are thinking of submitting to Filmaka?
Jonathan: Script, script, script. Second, read the brief carefully. Submit what is requested of you. Third, pull out the stops to make your project of the highest production value possible. Cast good actors, shoot on a good format. Get someone else to produce it for you. Have your own choice.
Filmaka: What’s next for you?
Jonathan: Where do I start? It’s been very busy for me recently. In the first instance, I will be shooting the next film(s) for Ford and JWT (possibly more than one!). Those will be on pretty enormous budgets, which is great to get the chance to make something of real high end production value and possibly even use celebrities to star in it. That will shoot in LA in the New Year. The canvas is blank and JWT and Ford have given me great creative freedom as to the script and the creative elements. It is a real buzz to be able to shoot a film for one of the biggest ad agencies and car manafactures in the world. A real sense of pressure to,as I want to deliver something that they are both very proud of exhibiting.
Next, I have two feature films that are scheduled to shoot next year, one shooting in London and the other in Puerto Rico – they are currently being cast as we speak.
There are also new opportunities coming my way regularly, and the door is wide open for the future. I just have to pick which door to walk through…