Gilbert Speaks on Jeremiah Kipp’s Indie Film: Pickup

24 Nov

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This will be my third interview on the amazingly talented Independent Director, Jeremiah Kipp. You can read my interview for Biff Bam Pop here. I’m always excited to see his work and this time I was honored to view his latest film, Pickup.

Plot

Pickup stars Mandy Evans as Megan. We follow Megan, a young mother, on her daily rounds. She is glued to her cell phone and it isn’t long before we realize that she is meeting with different men while her young son is at day care. She is married, but you can feel the disconnection between her and her husband Ben (Jim True-Frost) during dinner. She loves her son, Liam (Griffin Robert Faulkner). This is evident, but even though there are tender mother/child moments, she is more obsessed with her phone and the men who send messages.

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The small talk at the dinner table about their son and Ben’s work is more akin to strangers chatting at a diner. When Ben does try to be romantic, Megan pushes him away; too tired, but not too tired to scan her cell for sexual partners. The disconnection between these two people is heartbreaking, but what is quite frightening is the way Megan is constantly meeting strangers for sex. When Liam’s school is unable to reach Megan, the husband is contacted. Ben’s questions of Megan’s whereabouts go unanswered.

Conclusion

This is the world of sexual addiction and Megan is hooked as surely as the addict is to heroin. The pain and the shame that Megan is going through is palpable and we are there with her every step of the way.

Join me now as I interview Jeremiah Kipp

Marie: I love all your works, but Pickup really touched a nerve with me. Where did you get the inspiration for this film?

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Jeremiah Kipp: It was more that the job was offered to me by some great producers.  Mandy Evans plays the lead role, and she commissioned playwright Jessica Blank to write the very dark, very daring screenplay.  It was my first time directing a movie with a union screenwriter, which was exciting.  Mandy wanted to make something bold and thought provoking, and I was unafraid of the subject matter. We were partners every step of the way. I thought more than anything that PICKUP was smart, and offered audiences a complex female protagonist.  Why should characters be “likeable” when they should be interesting?  Thankfully, most audiences we’ve screened the film for seem to agree with that notion.

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Marie: Pickup is so different from Painkiller or Sound/Vision and I’m curious as to which was hardest to work on?

Jeremiah Kipp: PAINKILLER was by far the most challenging to work on, between the combination of cast/crew personalities, low budget, special effects and subject matter.  That said, I’m proud of the film, and of our writer/producer Jerry Janda for his wildly creative imagination. The more challenging aspects of PICKUP came down to the usual concerns of money, trying to stretch every dollar to achieve the strongest movie.  Our child actor, 5 year old Griffin Robert Faulkner, was extraordinary.  Our name actor Jim True-Frost (from HBO’s THE WIRE) was a great collaborator and ally. The story is about sexual addiction, which could have made for a very uncomfortable set, but the actors we cast were intelligent, fearless, and there for the project.  They all knew the material was strong, but also smart.  People look to the top to see how to behave, and our lead actress Mandy Evans was exemplary.  She worked harder than anyone on this film, and brought a focus and intent to the role that was frightening.  She surrounded herself with the best people, all of them hand-picked, and was incredibly generous as an actor and very considerate as a producer.  I look up to her a lot, and look forward to collaborating again sometime soon. She’s truly amazing and inspiring. My kind of actor.

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Marie: What films are you working on now, and will you be working on any more music videos?

Jeremiah Kipp: Right now I’m in pre-production on GONE starring wonderful actor Mack Kuhr (JOHN WICK) and written by the great New York playwright Erin Courtney. It’s a cautiously optimistic tale that, like most of Erin’s work, has a touch of the ghostly and fantastical. And we’re also in prep for my fifth feature film ATLAS OF THE SOUL starring legendary actor James Earl Jones, more of which can be read about here: http://variety.com/2016/film/news/james-earl-jones-atlas-of-the-soul-1201830521/

Marie: Where can people find your films? Are they for sale?

Jeremiah Kipp: My other feature films are in post right now, but THE SADIST starring Tom Savini is available on Amazon if people want to track that down.

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The best place to see much of my work (for free) is on my Web site.  We recently updated it so my short film THE MINIONS is available for public viewing.  Check the work out here: http://kippfilms.com/media.html.

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