The Collection of Sir Elton John: Goodbye Peachtree Road
If you are in NYC, head to Christie’s in Rockefeller Center to see all of the items heading to auction from Elton John’s Peachtree Road home in Atlanta.
You will find jewelry, costumes, furniture, tableware, luggage, a Bentley, and lots of artwork and photographs. And the Versace…a lot of Versace. So much Versace.
Of course, you may have questions on why this estate sale is happening. Elton John decided to move back to England after spending 30 years in Atlanta. He kept a home in Atlanta while he was touring, so he could have a place to rest in between American tour dates (instead of living out of hotel rooms). Now that his days of touring are over, he’s decided to return to England, where his sons attend school.
If you are looking to purchase some memorabilia of your own, Christie’s opened up a pop-up shop filled with Elton John Memorabilia for those who can’t afford something from the Christie’s collection. If you just want a t-shirt or tote bag to add to your own collection, they have it. There’s a little something for everybody. [Note: Free Elton John tote bag with $40 purchase.]
One of the coolest items in the pop-up shop includes a jacket filled with ticket stubs from Elton John concerts over the last 50 years. As the shop assistant commented, it is cool to see how much tickets cost over the years. This jacket comes with a $4,000 price tag.
Or if you want Elton’s iconic sequin jumpsuit to add to your wardrobe (or wear for Halloween), you can grab one in your size.
This cool jacket (above) is one of the many collector items available for sale in the pop up shop. Yes, the letter is part of the jacket.
Is it really an auction if he didn’t include one of his grand pianos?
One of the most surprising additions to this auction is the 1990 Bentley Continental Two Door Convertible. The estimate is $25,000-$35,000.
Many of Elton John’s famous stage costumes will be auctioned. In the exhibit, you will see items from every single era. All of these items are part of the auction.
Part of the exhibition includes a look around at many of the items from Elton John’s closet that he is auctioning off. From the stage costumes to his Versace, you’ll find a little something from every decade of his life.
Yes! The famous EJ shoes are going to be up on the auction block, along with the touring case and jacket.
As you go through Elton’s closet, you may be tempted to touch or pick up many of the items. DON’T! Let one of the assistants pull them from the shelf and show them to you. But absolutely, DO NOT TOUCH!
The numerous Versace items up for grabs are currently listed on Christie’s website. The auction began on February 9th and will end on February 27th.
This iconic outfit may have been designed by Bob Mackie.
You may or may not know this, but Elton John became a huge Atlanta Braves fan during the 30 years he lived in Atlanta. His jersey and jackets are going up on the auction block.
A lot of his trunks and suitcases will be available. Tour trunks, Louis Vuitton trunks, and suitcases are available. For those in the market for a Louis Vuitton vintage suitcase, you should try this sale. It has the added history of being formerly owned by Elton John.
One of the most amazing things in this auction is the number of art pieces and photographs he’s collected over the last 30 years. It is hard to fathom how he was able to display all of these pieces, including the glassware, in the two apartments he owned. All of these items were displayed on three floors in Christie’s auction house.
You can view the collection and visit the pop-up shop through February 21, 2024 at NYC’s Christie’s. It is free to the public to visit the collection. The catalog can be purchased at the front desk for $65.
The online auction runs through February 27. The live auction begins on February 21.
I don’t know who is on the Tony Awards committee, but whoever you are, I need to you to see this. I need you to vote for Between Two Knees.
It may make you feel a little uncomfortable (especially, if you are white), but by the end of the show, you’ll feel a little differently about how you approach the subject of Native Americans. You know, that race of people that everyone seems to ignore when they speak. Yet, they’re also the ones putting out their own stories. The stories that they tell, and the way they tell it, will enlighten you on your journey to decolonization.
You see, this show isn’t just for Native Americans making fun of white people. It’s about Native Americans having some fun telling their history in order to educate everyone on what really happened following the Wounded Knee Massacre. From Indian schools to serving in the wars, we follow one family from generation to generation as they battle all of the crap that America has dealt to the Native American.
This show was mesmerizing, funny, and lively. When they passed around a bucket asking for money, I thought they were joking until the bucket landed on my lap and it was filled with dollar bills. I never carry cash, so they caught me with $16 cash in my wallet, so I gave it all to them. It’s the whole starving actor thing for me. Gets me every time. Some might say white guilt, but I’m not white. And if we were going on white guilt, boy, by the time that bucket hit my lap, they would have been lucky to buy a slice of pizza in NYC during these inflated times.
At the end of the show, it got a little wild and crazy. They made everyone get out of their seats and dance along with them. Jana Schmieding (Rutherford Falls, Reservation Dogs, and Echo) said during the Native Representation in Contemporary Media panel that when non-Natives write stories about Native Americans, it tends to be about oppression and apocalyptic worlds. But when Native Americans write their stories, they tend to paint the world the way they want to see the world…with the happy ending.
So when I tell you that this ending was insane…it’s what made me laugh the most. In a happily ever after Native American ending, all white people would just disappear off the face of the planet. There would be no climate change. No capitalism. No poverty. Everything that is wrong with the world would be fixed and the entire world would be happy again.
This is what that happy ending would look like.
Trust me, I was shocked they said it. But at the same time, I couldn’t help but laugh. This is what Schmieding meant.
Between Two Knees is a production written by The 1491s and directed by Eric Ting. For those who’ve seen Reservation Dogs, you may know a few of the members of The 1491s: Sterlin Harjo, Dallas Goldtooth, Bobby “Dues” Wilson, Migizi Pensoneua, and Ryan RedCorn. The name Between Two Knees is derived from the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890 and the Wounded Knee Occupation of the 1970s (i.e. between the two Wounded Knee historical events).
The actors were an absolutely incredible and versatile cast. I was impressed with Rachel Crowl and how she could easily switch between playing a man and a woman. Our host, Justin Gauthier, was so funny as he took us through each scene. I loved the dynamic between Wotko Long (who was in Mekko, one of my favorite Sterlin Harjo projects) and Sheila Tousey. And if you need eye candy, James Ryen ain’t so bad on the eyes. His big and bulky frame, as well as the various roles he plays in the ensemble, adds to each punchline. His presence really amplifies the hilarity of the show. Derek Garza, Shyla Lefner, and Shaun Taylor-Corbett round out the cast with Derek and Shyla taking on the lead character roles to help frame the story for each generation…essentially, they present the love story. I loved watching the two of them together.
Overall, this production went well above my imagination of what Between Two Knees could have been about. It was crazy. Insane. There were a lot of OMGs, they went there.
To the Tony Award voters, get yourselves to Perelman Performing Arts Center. This show is running through February 24, 2024. For everyone else, if you’re in NYC, go and see this show. For those outside of NYC, check to see if this show is coming to your town and go! You will not regret it. This show was a breath of fresh air. It’s so different than any other show I’ve seen. I can’t stress enough that you need to see it.
One of my favorite songs is “Use Me” by Bill Withers. The lyrics say, “You just keep on using me until you use me up, Until you use me up.” I want to do as much work on this planet until I can not be used any longer. So I say, ‘use me,’ to me, ‘to use me up earth!’ I use that as my mantra everyday while putting my best foot forward.
When you go on adventures in life, you never know who you will meet or the people that the universe will place in your path. I met Edwin Walker (aka E. Micheaux) during the NYC Premiere of the movie “Dope” during the American Black Film Festival. We ended up sitting next to each other during the film, chatting for some time before the movie started.
I told Edwin a little about myself and he told me his story. His story is one that is worth sharing with the world because it is a remarkable story of how this young man (he’s only 26 years old) went out and pursued his dream to be a filmmaker at a very young age. He has done more things and has experienced a lifetime worth of stories in his short life than most people do by the time they are 26 years old.
Edwin continued telling me his story the day after the movie when we caught up with each other again at a special ABFF dinner. His story was so remarkable that an old gospel/jazz singer I met at the dinner was so amazed by the story, she pulled him over to remark on how inspiring he was to her! A 65-year-old woman saying a 26-year-old was inspiring her!
Edwin and I carried our conversation on over to the HBO “Ballers” party after the dinner and talked well into the late night hours about life, business, and social media. One thing I know for sure is that meeting Edwin was like meeting a new friend I know I will have for the rest of my life.
Edwin is a remarkable and amazing person that is very passionate about life and film. He’s sharing his story today in order to help inspire others to live their dreams.
1. Please tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
I am Edwin Walker and I am a Creative Activist of Art & Storytelling. I am from Chicago, IL. I’m 26 years old, yet on some days I feel like I’m 66. I’m such an old soul. I am working day in and day out to bring fresh and authentic stories to audiences. My ultimate goal is to have my own distribution company, a digital media network and entity. With that, I want to target Generation X and Millennials audiences, giving them content that they want. Innovative, yet fun and refreshing. In today’s media, many companies are owned by conglomerates that are feeding audiences the same content. I want to be at the forefront of giving audiences the content and projects that they want through a Direct to Fan strategy, cutting the middle man out, and letting the content curators and audiences do all the decision making. So that is my quest, it’s a big part of who I am at this point in my life and career.
2. How did you end up in LA?
How did I end up in Los Angeles aka LaLa Land? Well…the ambition and passion that I had for the Arts & Entertainment, I knew that it would take me to LA or NYC, and this was at a young age. My Grandmother always tells me, when I was five I would call NBC and ABC in my hometown and want to speak to the person who could get me on TV, on shows like The Cosby Show and Family Matters. This was at five. So I knew this would be something that I loved, and I felt the passion growing quickly, watching TV shows and movies wanting to be in their world. So when I was 12, I moved to Pasadena, CA, a city outside of Los Angeles to live with my Grandfather, and I began acting. I started doing commercials and got the opportunity to be on the Disney Channel Show, “The Famous Jett Jackson.” Other opportunities were starting to build when I got homesick.
I was miles away from all of my family in Chicago. Living with just my grandfather and no other family was tough. I was away from my Mother and Grandmother, living with this man who was strict and everything was so different from the life I knew in Chicago. So I moved back to Chicago after only a year and a half. I felt like I was failure at 13, like I started something that I couldn’t finish. So that caused me to give up on my visions and myself.
For about 3 years, I wanted to do nothing associated with entertainment. I tried Football, Science club, the debate team…anything to try to ignore my true passions. I just couldn’t escape it. I then started writing more at 16. I wrote songs, which led to me joining a singing group. That didn’t last for long. That soon turned into me writing scripts and short stories. My passion was reborn.
I got an agent in Chicago and started back acting. I took media classes and fell in love with directing and the camera. Soon after that I got a role in the movie “The Promotion,” starring John C. Reilly and Sean William Scott, written and directed by Steven Conrad (this is the man who wrote the script for the amazing film “The Pursuit of Happyness” starring Will Smith).
This experience was the game changer for me. At 17, I was working with A-list actors and top producers and directors. The week that I worked with everyone on set, I was a sponge soaking up as much information as I possibly could. They all gave me such great advice on what I should do in my career. John gave me a list of agents, Sean gave me a list of managers in LA, and Steven took all my scripts I had written and read them and told me about screenwriting programs in LA.
So I prayed hard about whether I should forego college and leave for LA. All signs pointed to this move. So at 18, with $1,700 to my name and knowing a handful of people in LA, four suitcases in hand, I did my homework. I found a few studio apartments to check out to move into. I packed up and moved there. I didn’t even finish High School. I enrolled in a program where I would get my last credits through mail. The program was called “American School.” It was like a home school program.
I can still remember getting on the plane at 18, literally a few months as an adult. I just turned 18 in November and I was sitting on this plane to LA on January 26th, 2007. Fear did not come over me at all. I was rather anxious and excited for the unknown. Once I got off that plane and returned back to LA, I was ready for the struggle, disappointment, “No’s,” doubt. Everything that could possibly happen to me in my 8 years living in LA has happened to me. From evictions, car repossessions, car accidents, bad managers stealing your money, being robbed, having to pawn camera equipment to pay rent, losing friends, losing money and losing things in fires.
Everything has happened to me, and I have had my days where I want to quit. I can’t lie, but I revert back to that 18 year old that was on that plane who had no fear. I could of turned around then, but I knew I was ready for the challenge ahead. That has kept me going thus far…along with a lot of prayer and trust in God.
3. Why did you choose being a filmmaker as a career? Were there certain influences that made you realize this is who you are?
I don’t think I chose being a filmmaker, it chose me. I’m an only child, and I always had to entertain myself. I was also a latch key kid. My Mother worked two jobs at one point in time. I’m a child of a single parent, so I would escape into different worlds. Creating scenarios of what my life could be, or how other lives were, how would it be if something was this way, or imagining life in space or life in the ocean. Creating stories and using my imagination was always thrilling to me.
I always got into trouble in school, because I felt like the teachers wouldn’t let me use my imagination and create more. I felt stifled. Once I started acting and studying my craft, I saw how much of a responsibility it is as an actor to make people believe you are another person rather than yourself.
Through studying filmmaking, I realized that the responsibility is now greater than the actor, because as a filmmaker you have to create a world and living things that people have to interpret. Growing up – I truly believe was my film school. I didn’t go to NYU or USC’s prestigious film programs. I went to 7 different schools in my life from Kindergarten till 11th Grade. In my entire life, I have lived in five different states. I’ve had all of these experiences with different people in my life that made me view people and places from a broader scope. Those experiences made me want to tell real slice of life stories, and start writing those stories. Filmmaking honestly chose me.
I think other filmmakers would agree that it’s bigger than passion when you have to spend a large amount of your time in your day giving brain power to stories that are sticking with you. You have to make that come alive through words and fonts that could take months, through scripts– sometimes even years. Then you have to find the money and the team to bring the vision to life and that could take years. Being a filmmaker is an emotional, yet invigorating, journey. You have to really be in it, knowing that it’s your calling. It called me and kept calling me and I couldn’t get away from being a filmmaker. It chose me.
4. What projects is your company Edclusive Entertainment creating now?
I have to keep myself productive, so in between gearing up for my feature film directorial debut, I have created mini pieces that are under 5 mins that are conversation pieces. My first one up is Lyfe + Def: A Reckless Love Story. It’s the tale of two young lost hearts. I’m really excited about this project because we live in a society that so many young people want to be loved, but they don’t know how to love. This project will explore that in a unique way.
The project that I will make my feature film directorial debut on is “Hometown Hero.” We are in the early stages of development. This story is one that I have to tell. It’s …
The gripping story of the demise of a young promising professional football player’s struggles with mental illness resulting from untreated trauma. Mental Illness advocacy is something that I am involved with by getting more narratives out there about cases in order to create awareness.
5. Can you talk a little about the social impact of the films you are creating?
The social impact that I intend to create is awareness and displaying slice of life stories that audiences don’t normally get to see. I want to do it from a new approach that the audience can understand and relate to. We are accustomed to seeing movies that are violent, but we don’t see many films that explore what makes a person violent. Through creating those images, I hope to create conversations that will translate into change, or new ideals of how we view one another, our communities, industries and the world we live in.
6. What is your favorite film and why? Were there any films that influenced you to become a filmmaker?
My favorite film is tough to say because I have so many, but if I could choose two that equally influenced me to be a filmmaker, I would have to say “Bicycle Thieves” directed by Vittorio De Sica (an amazing Italian film), and “The Defiant Ones” directed by Stanley Krammer. Both of these films show humanity among men and their quest for a better life. They are both authentic and intriguing. After seeing these two films, it made me make the conscious decision to be a filmmaker that makes films that tells stories with social issues from real people in real life that leaves a residue with audiences.
I want to tell stories about people who are real and have purpose in what they are seeking or know that they have. In those two films, not only are the characters memorable, but they are people who we all know, no matter if you’re black,white, green or blue. They are depictions of what we face in the world we live in. I could watch those two films everyday.
Once a week for 6 months, I actually did before. It was reassurance that I’m doing the right thing with the films I intend to make.
7. What’s upcoming for you and Edclusive Entertainment?
I have a short film that we produced titled “Perfect Love” directed by Simon Slavoj, which we associate produced. It’s the story of a woman seeking an answer that she’s not ready to really know.
I am also in production of directing and producing a documentary titled, “A Refugee’s Heart” where we follow the journey of a 47-year-old Cuban woman retracing her journey to Cuba for the first time since she left the country at the age of two. She returns back to Cuba to help other young women who are in need.
I am also producing “The Psychiatrist” directed by Bahiyjaui Allen. It’s a suspense thriller short about a twisted relationship between a patient and their psychiatrist.
We’re still developing and raising capital for the “Hometown Hero” movie. It moves slow on some days and fast on others, but meetings and interests are happening.
Extra: Why E. Micheaux? What is that name from?
When I direct, I use the moniker E. Micheaux. It’s homage to Oscar Micheaux who was the first black man to produce, write, direct and distribute his films and books in the 1920’s. I stand on his shoulders, and he is one of my greatest inspirations.
You can find Edwin and his company Edclusive Entertainment at the following places:
Closing out the New York City International Film Festival was the amazing premiere of the film Winter starring Tommy Flanagan, Tom Payne, Judith Godrèche, Jessica Hynes, Bill Milner and Kate Magowan. The film was written and directed by Heidi Greensmith.
The film picked up four awards at NYCIFF, including Best Drama Film, Best International Director (Greensmith) and Best Actor in a Leading Role (Tommy Flanagan).
Heidi Greensmith was kind enough to do an exclusive interview for PerfectionistWannabe.com on her film “Winter.”
1. First, can you tell us a little about yourself?
I grew up the second youngest of seven children in the south east of England countryside. I have been making films since I was a teenager. I went to the London Film school and studied cinematography. My first job was as an undercover reporter at a documentary production company. I went on to make music videos and commercials at a London production company. I started writing when I had my first baby. I met my husband drummer Dominic Greensmith shooting a music video for the British rock band Reef. We have been together for 15 years and have 4 children. We live in the Somerset countryside.
2. “Winter” is your first feature film, and the writing is absolutely incredible. Can you tell us how you came up with the idea for this story, as well as the characters? Where did you take inspiration from?
Thank you. I was drawn to explore male grief as I believe men process grief in a different way to women. As they find it harder to talk about how they feel it can lead to feelings of depression and anger. I lost my mother when I was quite young and my father coped very badly which had a lasting affect on all us kids. I have three sons and I believe that this generation of boys should be taught and encouraged to be more open with their feelings. They need to learn that it is entirely acceptable to talk and feel and cry and I hope that Winter will help to shine a spotlight on this.
3. Diving into what was happening in the mind of Woods, can you explain how you were able to dive so deeply into a complete mental breakdown and then bring that character out of that darkness?
I have had personal experience to draw upon so I always knew that Woods would be a broken man that would break my heart. Woods comes out of the darkness with the love of his family and his passion for painting which I can relate to also as I think most artists can.
4. Throughout the movie, you break down a lot of stereotypes where people would easily place judgment on someone. For instance, at the beginning, Woods looks like just a regular homeless man. Yet, he’s not homeless. Then we start to believe that Tom is the child of an abusive, alcoholic father. Yet again, that’s not the real story. Then we start to believe that Woods is a neglectful, abusive parent that can’t take care of himself or his children. Yet, once again, that is not what the story is about. Was there a greater lesson you were trying to teach the viewer (as in, don’t judge a book by its cover)?
Yes I suppose so. Every addict, every homeless person they have all been broken in some way. They are trying to avoid life or numb the pain of their memories. People that find themselves in these unfortunate circumstances need help not judgement.
5. Tommy Flanagan did a phenomenal job as Woods. What made you decide that he was the right person to bring Woods to life?
Casting director Des Hamilton suggested Tommy for the role of Woods. I met with Tommy and within five minutes I knew he was Woods. Tommy had already decided he was playing Woods before we met so it was lucky I felt the same.
6. Flanagan’s scene that sticks out most is when he crouches on the stool in front of the canvas. The camera capturing the different expressions going through Woods’s mind was intriguing, frightening, and ultimately beautiful all at the same time. Can you take us through what you were looking for in that moment?
I think I was after that feeling you get as an artist when you are so involved in what you are doing that you step out of reality, like you are in dream. It can be quite scary. Sometimes when I read a script back I can’t remember writing some bits of it.
7. How did you decide which pieces of artwork would be used? What were the meanings behind the different paintings featured? Who was the artist(s) behind each of the paintings? What happened to the paintings afterward?
I went to a Paul Benney exhibition in London by pure chance. I was blown away because I had already written the script and described some of the paintings that I was looking at in that exhibition! I found Paul there and explained to him. He then read the script, called me up and told me he felt a strong affinity with Woods. So, he allowed me to use his Night Paintings exhibition. The art department got all the paintings replicated so that there was no chance of damaging the originals. You can find all the images on Paul’s website.
8. Tom is the hero of this story. The sacrifices he made to help his father went far above and beyond anything anyone could ask (or not ask) of their child. His understanding of his father’s ‘genius waiting to be unleashed’ and the ‘broken heart’ is something most people would not understand if they were in his shoes, especially at that age. That is what makes his role in this movie so powerful…that love he has for his father. Tom’s story is multi-faceted. Can you describe your development of his character through the writing process? What were the elements you were focused on when you created his part of the story?
I have always found it incredibly heartbreaking, that moment when out of necessity a child becomes the adult in the relationship with his parent. Two of my favourite films are Paris Texas and Paper Moon because of the way the kids have to grow up so fast and develop a whole new relationship dynamic in being the responsible one. I originally wrote Tom and Max much younger but due to our very low budget we couldn’t afford chaperones and reduced working hours minors would require.
9. What are your favorite moments in the film? Do you have any favorite characters?
Obviously I love Woods. Tommy and I have become very good friends since we made the film and we talk about that character with such affection. Old Woodsie. But I love all the other characters too. My favourite scenes are the ice skating scene with Tom and Stacy because you feel so much for Tom right then, just wanting him finally to have a nice time, but at the same time knowing that his dad has gone awol again so it’s super charged, and I love the flashback of Woods walking to the park and finding his dead wife, because you finally get to see the exact moment that his heart broke. Both scenes have the most beautiful score by Dominic too.
10. Can you take us through the timeline of developing “Winter” from start to finish (i.e. how long it took to write the script, create the film, bring it to the screen)?
I wrote the film when I had just had my fourth child. I would write while I was breast feeding at night. It’s really hard making an independent film, working all hours for no money and at the same time trying to dodge the sharks and remain focused and true. We shot Winter all on location in 24 days, edited it in 9 weeks but then it all stopped and lost momentum when the post budget ran out. Thankfully Winter was selected to be the closing night gala film of NYCIFF so everything happened very quickly from then.
11. It is never easy being a working mom, but to be a working mom, wife, writer and a director working on making a dream come true, how were you able to balance everything in order to create Winter?
It’s amazing what I can fit into 24 hours. I have a lot of energy, mental and physical. My husband is always telling me to sit down but I find it impossible. I am so passionate about everything I do that I have to do it full time all the time. I know it can drive the people I work with mad. Sometimes I’ll be writing at midnight or recording music for the score with my husband at 3am. I left home at 16 and have had to work since then, even through film school I had two jobs. I hope I am helping to install a good work ethic in my kids. I think they probably think I’m crazy but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
12. There are very few women directors in the industry. NYCIFF showcased several women directors during the festival, including yourself. Can you describe what adversity women are going through in this business? What adversity have you faced to bring your film into being?
I think things have just started to change but for a long time it was very difficult to be taken seriously as a female director and funnily enough I don’t think men were entirely to blame. The most important thing is that things have started to change and I hope that the broadcasters, studios and financiers continue to address the imbalance. The cinema has been dominated by the male voice for too long. I hope that Winter also proves that female writer/director’s can tackle any subject not just subjects relating to women.
13. This site is about people that are out there making their dreams come true. In your own words, can you tell us what bringing this incredible story to the screen means to you?
It means everything to me. All I have ever wanted professionally is to be able to tell a story that moves people. The incredible response the film has had so far is overwhelming, and we’ve only just started!
14. What is coming up in the film’s future? Is there a release date, yet? Is it traveling to any more festivals? Any talks of Oscar considerations? Are there any other projects you are working on that you would like to share?
Winter is at the start of it’s festival run. We are looking at a UK release in the autumn. My next film ‘Bloody Mary’ is in development right now and we have just started casting. It’s a totally different film, dark and very funny with two female protagonists. Very exciting.
If you get the opportunity to see “Winter,” it is a must see film. It is a film that will move your soul. You’ll walk out in complete amazement of Tommy Flanagan’s acting, and with a new perspective on life. What Heidi has created here is something phenomenal. This is the kind of film you will never forget, because of how you grew as a human being during those moments you spent absorbing the film.
Opening up the NYCIFF gala on Thursday night was a heartbreaking film short from George Pogatsia called “Family on Board,” a story of a man who attempts to help save his neighbor who is being abducted after a burglary in their home. What could be seen as being a heroic moment, he gets the book thrown at him by the justice system as he is portrayed as a violent vigilante and is sentenced to five years in prison.
Being a family man, he is forced to leave his wife and two children. Because of the honorable circumstances surrounding the events of that night, the judge allows him to have a month with his family to get his affairs in order before he is ordered to report to prison.
The events that follow on that morning he reports to prison are the few short minutes that will leave you heartbroken.
Mr. Pogatsia was kind enough to do a short email interview for PerfectionistWannabe.com.
1. What was the inspiration behind the story? Was it based on a true story?
I read a story a while back about a man in Texas who called 911 about 2 guys burglarizing his neighbor’s home. He ended up shooting and killing both. He never recieved any jail time. It made me think, what if this happened in New York City? Also, I was living in downtown Manhattan on 9/11. The towers falling actually woke me from bed and I had a friend who was scheduled to report to prison downtown on 9/11 … I threw those stories into a pot, I sprinkled in my imagination and mixed it up. I came out with Family on Board.
2. While we take a look at the conflict between hero vs. vigilante, the main part of this story is about a man who has to leave his family. We see an outstanding citizen who was trying to do the right thing, but the court has decided differently and he has to leave his family. The irony of this story is that even though he was turning himself in, you have to wonder just what would have happened if he was asked to turn himself in on 9/12/2001 rather than 9/11/2001. He wasn’t just leaving his family for 5 years. He was saying goodbye to them forever. He was able to get those last moments with them that morning, something not too many people were able to do. Why did you choose to write the story this way?
On 9/12 Mike Petito would have reported to prison to serve out his jail sentence. I chose to tell the story this way because I enjoy having the audience participate. I like developing characters they can relate to and care about. I try get them invested in their lives then have them theorize on what happened in the end. Did he leave forever? I hope to provoke thought and discussion. Almost like thinking about an old love and what may have become of them.
3. Will this eventually be turned into a full feature film?
I’m developing a feature version of Family on Board. Tony Sirico (“The Sopranos”) is a big supporter of the project, his role will be considerably larger in the feature. Oscar winner John Avildsen (“Rocky”) wants to direct.
If you get a chance to see this film, I highly suggest seeing it. I contemplated leaving when I realized the day…9/11/01. I didn’t know how far he would take the actual events occurring in that moment. 9/11/01 was a real nightmare that many of us had to live through and haven’t quite healed from. But luckily, the story quickly changed to post-9/11 and I was glued to my seat in those next couple of minutes. It left you questioning just what happened to Mike Petito that day.
I would love to see this as a full feature film, especially with the same cast of characters. It’s a story that will keep you wondering long after you’ve stepped out of the theater.
NYCIFF hosted their Awards ceremony on Thursday, May 7, 2015.