Press Conference with Flea, Amy Jo Albany, Michelle MacLaren and Mike O’Malley
It’s been a busy day here at the New Hampshire Film Festival. With so much happening around our great city of Portsmouth, we were also excited to spend some quality time with some of the big names at this year’s festival. On Saturday afternoon, a press conference was held at the NHFF headquarters—Discover Portsmouth. It included Flea and Amy Jo Albany, representing Low Down; Michelle MacLaren, well known for her work as a director for Breaking Bad; as well as New Hampshire’s very own, Mike O’Malley. Here is a recap of what each of the figures shared:
Flea and Amy Jo Albany
Amy Albany is the author of the memoir Low Down: Junk, Jazz, and Other Fairy Tales from Childhood, as well as the writer of the film screening at this year’s NHFF, also entitled Low Down. The film, which is based on her childhood, premiers tonight at 8:15 PM in The Music Hall. Flea, bassist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, stars in the film as Hobbs, a character comprised of several people from Amy’s life.
Flea and Amy are both from the Los Angeles area—and comically, first met when Flea hit on her in a local supermarket. Flea was a fan of 70s and 80s Jazz music, and noted the influence that it had on his own music. Amy’s book really meant a lot to him as he considers this style of music to be “America’s greatest gift to the world.”
The film follows Amy and her father, Joe, as he attempts to balance raising a daughter with his music career and a crippling heroin addiction. Amy laments that while it was hard to work on such a personal project, she felt like she was finally at a point in her life where she could do it.
The project started when producer Albert Berger approached Amy at a book signing. By writing the screenplay with help from Topper Lilien, she was able to maintain creative control over the story. Director Jeff Preiss, was able to bring the story to life through his vision for the film.
Low Down premieres tonight at 8:15 in the Portsmouth Music Hall. Amy and Flea will both be in attendance for the Q&A immediately following the film.
Executive producer of Breaking Bad, and guest director on Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead, Michelle MacLaren gave festival attendees a look behind the scenes of some of her projects earlier in the day. At the event, MacLaren told attendees about the effect of Netflix and “binge watching” on television consumption and ratings.
The television industry is changing, and the way in which these shows get to audiences brings new challenges and opportunities to creators. MacLaren, mentioned that is is becoming increasing more difficult to track the size of you audience because monitoring the number of people who tune in for the first run is only the tip of the iceberg. On demand viewers now have more channels than ever to view programs, and they can do so on their own schedule.
The ability to watch the back catalog of a series on demand has also changed the way shows gain popularity. Breaking Bad’s popularity really began to take off during it’s third and fourth seasons. As more people discovered the show, Netflix provided instant access to all previous seasons—enabling fanship to grow incredibly fast. MacLaren credits this phenomena to the show’s success.
Mike O’Malley is the executive producer of a new Television series, Survivor’s Remorse. The series follows a young NBA star from Boston as he tries to balance his new found fame and fortune with staying true to himself, his family and his hometown.
One of the new episodes tackles domestic violence, a theme that has been very present in sports news lately. O’Malley agrees that it’s a common theme today, but points out that the show was written before these common thread became a focus of the mainstream media. While Survivors Remorse may touch on many of the themes that we see in sports media today, O’Malley says that his inspiration is less about what is in the news and more about interesting characters and good story.
In filming the series’ first episode, O’Malley was introduced to the term whooping—a beating, handed down to a child from his or her parents. The topic of whooping became a highly debated topic amongst his crew. This proved to Mike that there was a good story to be told with whooping— “when you have something debatable, you know you have a good story.”
The pilot episode of Survivor’s Remorse premieres on Sunday, October 19th at 1:35 PM in The Seacoast Repertory Theatre.
Thank you to everyone that attended today’s press conference. It is always a pleasure to hear from the influencers and creators of today’s great work. For a full list of NHFF screenings and events, see the full Festival Schedule. Join us later this evening as we celebrate another successful festival, at the Portsmouth Chevrolet After Party at Martingale Wharf. Haven’t purchased your ticket to NHFF yet? It’s not too late—visit the Box Office.