DON'T TURN YOUR BACK ON FRIDAY NIGHT feature film, reactions (interview)
FESTIVAL AUDIENCE FEEDBACK VIDEOS • 10m
DON'T TURN YOUR BACK ON FRIDAY NIGHT, 103min., USA
Directed by Mike Schmiedeler, Michael O'Brien
From EP Tom Morello - Meet former gravedigger turned doorman at the Park Hyatt in Chicago turned frontman to his own band, Ike Reilly. At 40 years old he landed a recording contract with Universal and in true rock & roll fashion he bought his family a dream home in his hometown of Libertyville, IL. Ike took his band out on the road where they became what The New York Times called “one of the best live bands in America.”
Get to know the filmmakers:
1. What motivated you to make this film?
Michael O’Brien: I introduced Mike to Ike and his music about 12 years ago...I showed him a demo/sizzle Ike and I had made for AMC that sadly was given a pass. Mike became a huge fan of Ike's music and eventually a good friend. It took a few years of persistent cajoling but Ike finally agreed with Mike's premise that his is a story that demanded to be told.
Mike Schmiedeler: What he said I came as a fan. I knew how his music touched me and I also knew his story was so unique that it had to be told. He got his first record contract at age 40 while he was working as a doorman at a hotel. And he had been a gravedigger. Literally. But then he also married his high school sweetheart and had these 4 amazing kids. But then wrote some of the most insightful, provocative lyrics on life, death, money, lust, loss and hope that I’d ever hear. It’s like he exists in worlds he should not simultaneously.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
Michael O’Brien: From conception to “finished” product I'd say 5 years. I spent 2 years and 1 day on the edit before handing it off to finishing.
Mike Schmiedeler: Covid definitely slowed down our shooting. Good opportunity to work with the archive though. I cooked on the idea and the pitch a bit, and it took a while to wear down Ike.
3. How would you describe your film in two words!?
Michael O’Brien: Controlled chaos?
Mike Schmiedeler: Authentic originality
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
Michael O’Brien: For me, probably getting a handle on the thousands of hours of material of varying degrees of quality.
Mike Schmiedeler: Covid. I cancelled several shoots. Did more stuff outside and quasi-remotely than I would have liked.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
Michael O’Brien: I was quite frankly amazed and moved that these people whom I assume did not know Ike and his music were so perceptive about the music and the themes of the film.
Mike Schmiedeler: Loved it. Also loved seeing that the film resonated with younger women. That was a fear based on our main guy being an older dude, but I knew his family is a draw for all audiences. And that feedback proved it.
6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
Michael O’Brien: Well I've been an editor by trade for 46 years. In the past few years I've started to make my own films again which bare little to no resemblance to DTYBOFN. Here's a links to my Vimeo page:
Mike Schmiedeler: I did plays in my basement as a kid. Then throughout high school. I worked at a Movie Theater for 3 summers. Always loved film. So I knew I wanted to make it starting in high school. Fortunate to have starting making docs right out of school for a PBS series and then amass credits for Discovery, Nat Geo, A&E, History, Weather Channel, TV One, DIY, Travel and many more.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
Michael O’Brien: This is an interesting question.....Young Frankenstein?? The Godfather??
Mike Schmiedeler: Wow. Tough call. Honestly it’s probably “The Bourne Identity.” Seen it an amazing number of times. Still great each time.
8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?
Mike Schmiedeler: I loved getting the audience feedback. I found that to be very interesting. Would love to get that from everywhere. Would be interesting to hear maybe what other films the audience responded too.
9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?
Mike Schmiedeler: It’s very user friendly. I like being able to surf all of the festivals. The dashboard is dynamite. It’s a great concept and execution. Only negative experience I had was we got into the Fusion Awards, and I never heard from them and tried to contact them and it looks like they are defunct. I would have liked to have learned more if they were real, or saved by $90 if they were fake.
10. What is your favorite meal?
Michael O’Brien: WOW! Gayle's Beans & Greens recipe.....my chicken and andouille sausage gumbo....a good pizza....a dozen east coast oysters.......................
Mike Schmiedeler: Tough call. You can’t beat pizza from DiNico’s here in town. And a good French Toast is the best.
11. What is next for you? A new film?
Michael O’Brien: I've joked that DTYBOFN was going to be my swan song but we'll see.
Mike Schmiedeler: I have an ongoing TV series on MeTV called “Collector’s Call” that is currently airing Season 3. I expect to begin field production on Season 4 in July. I have a new documentary on classic TV comedy in development for a network. I also have a doc about a Vietnam Vet, turned cop turned mob enforcer in development.
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