Interview with James Christopher

(IFG) Tell us who you are:

My name is James Christopher. I’m an Army vet and a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a BS in Radio, TV, Film and a BA in History. After graduation, along with my business partner, Chris Copple, I decided to forgo going to L.A. and try to grow a brand in Austin focusing on micro-budget films.

(IFG) So why do you make films?

It’s a compulsion really – I’m a creative guy and it’s just the way I choose to express myself. I’m a movie guy…I grew up in the the greatest age of cinema. From about ’75 to ’89. And I was just hooked. I’m very much a John Hughes/Cameron Crowe filmmaker, focusing on movies about people and relationships. So much of that comes from the movies I grew up with.

(IFG) Tell us why you started the Austin Indie Flix Showcase?

It was being on the festival circuit for years and never breaking through in Austin. Austin is a great indie town, but the two main festivals here are big. So it’s hard for a true indie to break in. After being on the circuit for a while, seeing great films, we decided to help bring those films to find an audience in Central Texas. So we did. We actually did end up breaking through to one of those festivals, but the mission remains the same: there is a revolution going on and we want to bring films that are about blood, sweat and tears to Austin.

(IFG) How do you think the Austin Indie Flix differs from other festivals?

Our focus is on filmmaker experience and networking. We’re not about galas and c and d level celebrities. We’re about the filmmakers and making collaboration and networking as unencumbered a process as possible.

(IFG) Being a film maker yourself, what is the one thing that you want film makers to know about festivals?

Man, so much. But basically, not to put too much stock in them. Getting in or getting out, winning or losing. It has to do with a lot of factors and sometimes the “quality” of your film isn’t the main thing. And remember that, while its always fun to get into a fest and its an honor to have your project picked over hundreds and sometimes thousands, remember that they are lucky to have your film to. So you need to be the star of the fest. Their job is to exhibit your film and help you grow your audience.

(IFG) Tell us a little about your current film projects?

We strive to work on at least a movie a year and we’re a multi genre company so we’ve always go a lot of different stuff happening. Right now, we’re on the festival circuit with a movie called 3 References (www.3refs.com). It premiered at the Austin Film Festival and had been very busy. We did two movies at the same time in ’13 called the QuadX Saga (www.quadxsaga.com) (Rise of the Beaver Slayer and The Porn Movie Massacre) that we’re waiting to premiere, but have gotten great reviews. Right now, we’re in post on a movie called DisAssociationVille (www.disassociationville.com) which follows a man going back home to deal with the family he left behind.

(IFG) What is one of your favorite behind the scenes moments?

So many when you factor we’ve had 12 films. I chewed a grip out big time and it ended up on the BTS footage. I think the one I get the hardest time for came from exhaustion. I was tired after about 5-6 18 hours days in a row. The crew was looking for direction and I was sort of bleary eyed. I just looked at a prop we needed to move and told them to “tear across it.” it kind of became the mantra for the rest of the film.

(IFG) Tell us a little bit about Twitchy Dolphin Flix and how did you come up with that name?

We are a micro budget studio that focuses on making movies, realizing that the industry is changing. So we’re focused on telling stories, building an audience and creating opportunities for other filmmakers. We’re active on social media, do a lot of crowd funding. We’re almost taking an indie rock band approach to making movies. As for the name? It happened in film school. Just spit spalling…with a lot of Shiner Bock.

(IFG) What is next for you?

Well, we have a lot going on. In November, we’ll take a big step in our studio model. Terissa Kelton will direct a feature film for us called Sorority Slumber-Party Slaughter, the first feature not directed by myself. I go back behind the camera for The Last Beautiful Girl in the spring. It follows a couple in college and their first encounter with love.

(IFG) Where can people see more of your work?

Different places. Some of our films are all over the place with various distribution deals. We’re starting to work with a distributor www.underdogs.com for the rest of our stuff. They focus on indies and are trying to get them out there, as opposed to just aggregating them like most others do these days. Distribution is the thing man. It’s the last door to kick in. But it’s hard. The days of just selling a movie to a distributor for a big check are dying. So we’re looking at different avenues. Always check us out at www.twitchydolphin.com

(IFG) What is one tip you think other film makers should know?

Man, just don’t let people telling you NO. When you make a film, its a risk. it’s standing on the ledge and knowing you’re likely to fall off. And most of the of the people around you gave up on their dreams a long time ago. And they want to tell you NO. You just gotta go out there and do your thing. Find your voice and make your film.

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