Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Lets Make a Movie!

I  stumbled across a meet up group online that was meeting at Perkins Restaurant and Bakery (6425 University Boulevard, Winter Park) . A guest speaker, Todd Thompson of Stars North Productions, a locally based independent film company, was lined up.  He outlined a long list of credentials. He made his first three movies by the age of 11 using his Grandfather's Super 8 movie camera, using action figures and stop motion animation. He worked on the Tom Hanks mini series, From the Earth to the Moon in 1998. He worked on The Green Mile in 1999. He was told that producing independent shorts was the best way to break into the industry. So he did just that, and won awards along the way for films like Time & Again, and Once Not Far From Home. Chance meetings at film festivals lead to other contacts and productions. It seems film making is all about persistence, drive and chance encounters.

His current project, The Highwaymen, sounded like it could be a fantastic film. The film centers around a talented African American painter named Alfred Hair, who is unable to show his work in galleries because of his race. He meets a white landscape painter, A.E. Backus who taught him everything he knew about painting. He took this information and taught 26 other African American men how to paint. They produced over 100,000 paintings which they would sell on the road side for like $20 a painting. A.E. Backus would produce maybe one painting a month whereas these guys were producing at least a painting a day.  Some of the Highwaymen could produce up to 30 paintings a day, working in series. The paintings were quickly executed Florida landscapes. An art critic "discovered" the work and after he wrote an article, the price of the work skyrocketed. Highwaymen paintings are probably still scattered in peoples attics with the owners having no idea as to the value of the work. I love the premise of this film, the mentor ship, and overcoming the racial divide. The original artists have been interviewed and a huge wall was set up that follows their intertwined lives. I'd love to sketch and document the shooting and post production of this film.

People began introducing themselves and discussing their interest in film production. The introductions weren't in any order and perhaps half way through, order broke down and lively discussions erupted. A short script for a SPCA public service announcement was on the table and I believe a number of people in the room were going to be involved in shooting the project in an animal shelter. When I realized I didn't have to introduce myself, I slipped away.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at


dinabug said...

Was a pleasant surprise to see you at the meetup and to get to be another fabulous sketch!!

Bob LeBlanc said...

Love the sketch. Would you sell it, or did you give it to Todd?
thanks, BOB

Thor said...

Bob, The original sketch wasn't sold. If you are interested, the original is $300, or a print for $200.