By Craig Chapman
Brevard County has a virtual silver screen floating over it that is swimming with acting and filmmaking talent. Let’s name just a few you may have heard of: Jorja Fox from the hugely popular CSI series, Darrell Hammond a long time cast member on Saturday Night Live, and model/actress Kate Upton. All called Brevard County home at some point in their lives. Some feature films and TV shows you may have heard of have also been shot in Brevard County: Apollo 13, Contact, Transformers 3, Tomorrowland, Martial Arts Kid, Armageddon, Shark Tank, The Cape, 48 Hours and several HGTV series. Wow!
With such a rich history of silver screen gems to lay claim to, it’s no wonder that a new flock of talent continues to shine out of the area. A few we are featuring below have followed their silver screen stars to New York City, so fresh on their career adventures they still make their way home to Brevard fairly often.
I was fortunate to talk with a few of these celluloid talents to find out where they came from, where they went, and where they are headed in the near future.
So, sit back, grab a bucket of popcorn, and let’s support and enjoy their shows.
Current Film: The Fits
Trailer at: TheFitsFilm.com
Producer Lisa Kjerulff is well on her way to becoming a filmmaking heavyweight. With her recent film ‘The Fits’ she is proving to be one of the smartest producers out there, navigating her way through the ups and downs of independent filmmaking and ultimately creating some of the most impactful independent films out there.
Like most independent filmmakers, her life is a storied one. So as the great storyteller she is using film, I let her put her own personal story into words in this interview.
Q: So give me a bit of background on you. How did you end up in New York City working in film production?
“I grew up in Melbourne and moved to New York City for college. I went to New York University for film school in the undergrad program at the Tisch School of the Arts. Filmmaking has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. From elementary school through high school I was always a part of the live video morning announcements. My parents had a VHS camera when I was growing up and we have hours and hours of home movies. My dad also owned a television production company that produced commercials and corporate videos throughout my childhood, and as soon as I was old enough I would help out on set. So when it came time to go to college and choose a career, it just made sense to study film. Honestly I think I chose NYC because a friend of mine wanted to go to NYU. So I looked into it and saw that they had one of the best film schools in the nation, so I applied and went because I got in. My parents still live in Melbourne so I come home for holidays and visit as often as I can.”
Q: How did you figure out you wanted the specific job of being a producer on films?
“Well my first job was on a movie called I Am Legend doing locations… but I always saw myself as a producer, recently more as a creative producer. All through school I always produced other people’s films; I always liked numbers and solving problems from a producing standpoint. While I was at NYU there was no producing minor (now there are two of them). I was figuring it out as I went and pretending I knew what I was doing and then eventually I figured it out.”
Q: What kind of movie do you dream of making?
“My favorite directors are James Gray and Michael Mann… I am interested in producing more epic films in a way. Dramatic and epic films.”
Q: What advice would you give to other burgeoning filmmakers?
“The best advice is to just really start creating things. The more stuff you try and create the more you learn and the more you figure out what you want to do. My mom is an extremely creative person, she was always coming up with craft projects, one year we each got our own drafting tables and had our own area to draw and paint and create… the more you create the more you realize you can create.”
Current Films: Emma Inspired & Fur Real
More information at: NicoleMachonFilms.com
Filmmaker Nicole Machon is a Brevard County success story in the making. After a laser focused education in film and TV she has recently left the Sunshine state for the infamous Indie filmmaking community in New York City. Sounds like a familiar journey.
I got a first look at Nicole’s work when her film Fur Real, a film about a subculture of people who feel most at home behind the mask of their favorite furry character costumes, screened at the Melbourne Independent Filmmakers Festival. Intrigued by this film, I wanted to find out more about what she’s been up to ever since. I expect great things.
Q: Give me a bit of your background about your journey from Melbourne to Brooklyn.
“I was born and raised in Melbourne. Definitely an awesome place to grow up! I went to West Shore Jr/Sr and graduated from there in 2012. I also attended Eastern Florida State during my junior and senior years of high school and graduated high school with my AA degree. I moved to Tallahassee where I studied at Florida State. I went to film school there, and had the most incredible learning experience that I could ever ask for. I graduated from FSU in December of 2015 and moved to Brooklyn in January. I worked at a couple of internships in development when I first got up here, and have been primarily working as a Production Assistant since March.”
Q: Tell me about Fur Real and what you went through to get it made.
“Fur Real was a short documentary that I made while at FSU. It’s about the furry sub-culture, which is essentially a community of people who are really into anthropomorphic animals and dress up in animal mascot costumes and hang out together. To be entirely honest, all that I had known about furries prior to making the documentary was just that there was some kind of sexual stigma associated with them. I was initially inspired by one of my high school classmates that had made a post on Facebook about how becoming a furry had changed his life for the better and how he had gained all of these amazing friendships and the support and love of a community that truly understood him. That was really fascinating to me that he had found acceptance in this kind of bizarre sub-culture. I reached out to him, and he was kind enough to help connect me to others.”
Q: How do you see film as art?
“I think film is a really interesting form of art because it’s incredibly technical and there are so many logistics involved in making a movie; that in itself is really impressive to me. There’s so much coordination involved and I think that’s what sets it apart from other art forms. It has the power to make an audience laugh, cry, inspire, understand, see something from a new perspective, imagine a completely different world, and even distract from their own lives.”
About the Writer
Craig Chapman is the producer of Real Food Real Kitchens, a food media brand that is all about Family, Food, Culture and History. To learn more about his TV series, magazine, and cookbook, visit RealFoodRealKitchens.com