-Interview by Eric Brooks-
I have been a follower of B Movie Man for some time. In fact, I was following him (or at least walking in a steady parallel) when he was just a lowercase letter. I have had the privilege of actually seeing him at work conducting some of the interviews that appear on his site. It always looked pretty easy when he did it. When he asked to cover an interview he thought he might not be able to make, I was honored and thought it would a fun little jaunt in B Movie land. Then B Movie Man said “Oh yeah, you have to transcribe it too.” This is my first try at the whole interview experience. It has been fun and what follows is the result. Any errors are mine and mine alone. This interview was conducted at the Kentucky Theater in Lexington, KY on April 9, 2009 when Stephen Zimmer was hosting the Independent Movie Masters Horror series number 1 and screening his film The Sirens.
Eric Brooks: Tell me a little bit about the event, how did this get going, what is it about, and how did you get involved?
Stephen Zimmer: This event is about opening a new venue for independent filmmakers. What we are doing is creating a nonexclusive series of series that each title will feature two filmmakers and will include trailers from other independent filmmakers and musicians and we are doing it in a format that can be distributed on DVD or video on demand, broadcast, or even taken to foreign audiences. What we are doing is trying to do something that doesn’t tie down an Indy filmmaker but lets them get their work out and each title that they are involved on, each title they screen they have profit sharing as well.
Eric Brooks: It sounds great. It sounds like a great opportunity for filmmakers like you and musicians to get their work out there, get it seen, get it heard, get it to a public audience. Do you have other lined up? Will there be other events here at the State (the specific venue at the Kentucky) like this?
Stephen Zimmer: Oh yes, yes. Right now our plans are we are going to release the next title in the horror series pretty soon, also the first in the comedy series and the first in something called slacker/underground which you know is kind of like campy Sci Fi humor kind of stuff and actually the first one is going to feature Jerry Williams (of Zeppo fame).
Eric Brooks: Oh, excellent, great! How did you get involved with this? How did you get affiliated with this event?
Stephen Zimmer: Being an Indy Filmmaker I met up with two other Indy Filmmakers: Matt Perry and Sven Granlund and we decided to design something we would want to take advantage of, that we would want to see. It is by Indy filmmakers for Indy filmmakers. That’s about as straight as it gets.
Eric Brooks: That sounds great. I have found in my limited experience in the Indy film world that people like you do things like this get their work out there and get it seen. Tell me about the films that will be shown tonight.
Stephen Zimmer: My film Sirens is about three corrupt businessmen that get their comeuppance from a band of beautiful but deadly women. Murder is about a man who can kill with his thoughts. It is a very dark, very intense horror film.
Eric Brooks: Tell me about your other film Shadows Light.
Stephen Zimmer: Shadows Light is more of a fantasy, contemporary fantasy and it follows the story of an exorcist that has to battle a demon in human form and he has allies such as a djinn and angels and it has lots of demons. I think it has a fair amount of creature effects for an independent film.
Eric Brooks: It sounds interesting and I look forward to seeing it. I also look forward to it because it stars the esteemed Indy actress Tucky Williams whom I have seen in several things and whom I think has real talent. Can tell me about the people you work with, how you find the people you work with, what kind of actors and actresses you like to work with?
The people I like to work with are the kind that like to
rehearse, that really like to prepare. In a word, that’s
what I look for, somebody that doesn’t mind preparing for
their role and you just mentioned Tucky. She rehearsed
really, really well for
Shadows Light. As
far as who I look for its all around. I use actors and
actresses from all over the
Eric Brooks: What parts of the film do you yourself do? Are you a screenwriter, director, producer, do you act?
Stephen Zimmer: Well, Jerry Williams might tell you that I act ‘cause he has actually conned me into acting in a couple of his flicks but actually I am writer director, that’s my forte. I produce out of necessity, just being Indy so I do that. I’m primarily writer director.
Eric Brooks: In that vein, as writer you also write books. You have a novel out and will be doing a book signing at Joseph Beth soon (that actually was done on April 17th and went very well according to Mr. Zimmer’s website www.stephenzimmer.com). Tell me a little about your book.
Stephen Zimmer: The Exodus Gate actually tells story of a virtual reality simulator that is perched atop a transcendent gateway. It falls into the hands of a guy that hosts a late night paranormal radio show. It has been created by the abyssal forces to bring back fallen angels and humans. It is the first of a saga, the Rising Dawn saga.
Eric Brooks: So you expect to follow it with other novels?
Stephen Zimmer: Absolutely. There five planned to be in the series.
Eric Brooks: Being someone involved in two different media, how do you find them similar, different, is one easier than the other, do you prefer one or the other?
Stephen Zimmer: They both have their challenges. With a book getting it to the editor is a very lonely process whereas a film is a collaboration. You bring a lot of different people into it. With a book you are pretty much in your own shell until it reaches readers. Film is collaborative from start to finish so that what I find different. The writing styles are different. A screenplay is like a blueprint in way and the directors, cinematographers and everyone involved add their bit into it and the film evolves. A book, your editor looks at it of course, but there is not as much collaboration as the other one.
Eric Brooks: Is there anything else you would like the world to know about Stephen Zimmer, Stephen Zimmer’s works, perhaps that has never gotten out there in an interview before?
Stephen Zimmer: That’s never gotten out there before? Just, I don’t intend to quit!
Eric Brooks: I think that’s an attitude you have to have in your business being an Indy person. You have to have the will to go on even when it seems difficult or not as successful as you would hope.
Stephen Zimmer: It always a struggle, a struggle for resources. But you know, unless you put some things in play, you cannot progress.