Your new movie Get Up
Eight - in a few words, what is it about?
is a film about not giving up on yourself, even when everyone
else has. When a girl (Joy) with a haunted past is faced with the decision
to relapse or continue working on her sobriety, she must decide if she
will end up like her father (David) or break the cycle of addiction once
and for all.
Get Up Eight in any
way based on personal experiences? And to what degree do you identify with
either of your movie's protagonists?
is a semi-autobiographical story. While I lived many of the
experiences depicted in the film, there is a fantasy/supernatural element.
And so, without giving too much away, I’ll simply say that the
storytelling devices I used are based on the principle that some people
need to die in order for others to live.
(Other) sources of
inspiration when writing Get
was written for and about David Lariviere and my father, Arthur
Tittel, who both overdosed and died in 2015 and 1988, respectively. Both
of these men were beautiful people—they didn’t deserve what happened
to them. They were just unlucky. And that’s the truth about
addiction—every time you pick up heroin you’re playing Russian
roulette with your life and the lives of those you love. I think sometimes
people forget that addiction is unbiased; it doesn’t care who you are,
who loves you, or what big plans or dreams you have. So it’s really
important to tell these types of stories and to show people the aftermath
of addiction and of loss like this.
What's rather novel about Get
Up Eight is that you simultaneously spin two narrative threads
happening at different times, with one complementing the other - so do
talk about that narrative approach for a bit, and how easy or hard was it
to not lose your plot? And did you intend to tell your story this way from
the get-go, or did this only happen during writing (or even editing)?
always intended to tell this story this way. I knew the topic of addiction
and recovery had been done a million times, so I wanted it to stand out
and not be just another “don't do drugs” after-school special. Maybe
because I believe in the supernatural and because I believe so deeply that
I am alive today because of the painful lesson my father’s death taught
me, it seemed like the only way to tell the story. But yes, it was
difficult. And I doubted myself a lot while writing and editing it. I’m
still afraid every time someone watches it that they won’t “get it.”
So far, people really seem to appreciate it, and that was what I had hoped
can you tell us about your overall directorial approach to your story at
Eight was the first film I ever directed. I wouldn’t say I had an
approach, so much as I just wanted to get the images in my mind onto the
screen. I had these very specific shots and ways I wanted to introduce
David’s character to the story, and I found that there was a ton of work
and collaboration involved with doing that. Sometimes what works in your
mind’s eye really doesn’t work in reality—the mind’s eye is very
dreamlike while what we can capture on film is two dimensional. So I had
to learn to work with that, and I have so much more respect for directors
now. Probably the smartest thing I did as a new director was I surrounded
myself with incredibly talented people like Manxer Magyar (DP), Isabelle
Caplan (AD), Max Goldberg (gaffer), and Jay Sheehan (sound). Each of
them are experts at what they do and so it made the whole process easier
because I could tell them what I wanted and they could tell me if it was
possible or show me the best way to get it.
Do talk about Get
Up Eight's key cast, and why exactly these people?
Monteiro is an actress I have known for many years. I knew first-hand how
talented she was and I actually cast her in my mind before I had even
finished writing Get Up
Eight or had asked her to star in it! Kimmi has
certain mannerisms and physical features that just really embody the
character Joy. She’s also a mother and she knows the parts of the story
that are based on real life events, so I knew she would bring a lot of
heart and realism to the performance. And she did, she blew me away. The
same thing actually happened with my other lead actor, Paul Noonan. I had
sat in on one of his auditions and couldn’t get his face out of my mind
as I was writing. I hunted him down on Facebook and literally cold called
him for the part—no audition, just “do you want the part” sorta
thing. I think he was surprised by that, until he read the script. Then we
talked and agreed that it was a divine appointment. His performance comes
from a beautiful place and I am forever grateful to him. It wasn’t an
easy role and a lot of other actors could have played it wrong. He brought
dignity to the part. The rest of the cast was also amazing. We had a lot
of veteran actors and a lot who were acting in film for the first time.
Paul Kandarian nearly stole the scene with his portrayal of Sedrik; Brina
(Bartender), Philip Santangelo (Crow), and Jamilyn Rothwell
(Girlfriend/Drug Dealer) brought the bar scene to life; Samantha McMahon
brought needed complexity to the part of Missy, Joy’s sister; Tamora
Isreal played the hotel manager and also wrote the film’s end credit
song, Mark Lauzon (and his dog Henry) made their film debut, as did Jayde
Kozar (Lia), Kimmi’s real-life daughter; and local actors Sam Kassow
(Roommate) and Jamieson Allen Horton (Employer) rounded out the cast. I am
truly grateful to each of the actors for their performances in Get Up
Eight—we could not have made the movie we did without them.
few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
shot Get Up
over a long four-day weekend in February. These were
really long 10-14 hour days. But it went by really quick and when it was
done I just wanted to do it all over again! We had incredible camaraderie
on set and I think the story had something to do with that—we all felt
it was important and that it could help people—so we wanted to do our
best, and I think it shows.
$64-question of course, where can Get
Up Eight be seen?
is in the festival circuit and will be for a while. It just
played at the 2019 Shawna Shea Film Festival in Southbridge, MA. And it
got into a couple of online film festivals as well, namely the First-Time
Filmmaker Sessions and the Indy Visions FF. It won two honorable mention
awards from the Independent Shorts Awards in LA and we have been invited
to stream it as part of their online streaming channel
We are waiting to hear back from a lot of other festivals now, so the best
way to find out when it can be seen is to follow us on social media!
Any future projects you'd like to
am currently editing a short film I directed called Salvation that I
co-wrote with Kris Salvi [Kris Salvi
interview - click here], who also stars in it, along with Justin
Thibault. Salvation is a 1950s period piece about friendship, betrayal,
and reaping what you sow. It’s dark and twisted in a beautifully
haunting way—love it or hate it, it’ll make you think. I hope to have
it finished for a January 2020 release.
What got you into filmmaking in the first place,
and did you receive any formal training on the subject?
first addiction was film, haha. I spent most of my childhood glued to the
television set and when I got older I would watch just about every movie
that came out, often by myself during the middle of the day. I guess I
just loved the escapism of it all. In college (at BSU) I started taking
more and more writing and film related classes. As a senior, I took a
class with Professor and New England Film’s online magazine founder
Michele Meek. She helped me bridge the gap between having a dream and
making it a reality. Once I learned the fundamentals of screenwriting, I
was off to the races as they say!
and filmmakers that
influences are varied. I love sci-fi, romance, fantasy, and vintage
film—ya know, the classics. My favorite film to this day is Blade Runner
and I have too many favorite directors to list…but I guess I’ll shout
out the amazing Sofie Coppola for the simple fact that I have never seen a
film of hers I didn’t like and I love the way she uses color and music
in her pictures. It's genius.
website, Facebook, whatever else?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
can find Get Up
on Facebook at @getupeightimes and on Instagram at @get_up_eight.
can also follow me on Vimeo to watch trailers for Get Up Eight and
Anything else you're
dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
just want to thank you, Mike, for creating Search My Trash, and for giving
me the opportunity to talk about Get
Up Eight! You rock and I hope
everyone checks out your stuff! Stay cool <3
for the interview!