Inside Pulse Movies Interview: Tim Chambers, Director of The Mighty Macs

Tim Chambers, who recently directed The Mighty Macs, sat down with us via email and answered a couple questions about the film for us.

1. Tim, this was your first feature film. Now that it’s getting a theatrical release, how does it feel?

EXHILARATING, RELIEVED AND YET NERVOUS. I FEEL LIKE MY DAUGHTER JUST MOVED OUT OF THE HOUSE. I’VE LOVED HER, NURTURED HER AND NOW ITS TIME TO GO OUT INTO THE REAL WORLD.

2. It was a long process to get the film made, and took some time to actually get into theatres. Describe the process.

THE HARDEST PART IS THE BUSINESS SIDE OF “SHOW BUSINESS”. I ALWAYS FELT WE HAD A SPECIAL LITTLE FILM. I KNEW WE EXECUTED ON THE MAKING OF THE FILM AND CAPTURED THE SPIRIT OF THE FIRST CINDERELLA TEAM. I ALSO KNEW ONCE PEOPLE SAW IT, THEY WOULD LOVE IT AND THE REVIEWS PROVED THAT.

3. In retrospect, anything you’d change along the way in terms of getting the film into production, etc?

IT’S HUMAN NATURE FOR ANY INDIE FILMMAKER TO SAY “I WISH IT WAS EASIER”. BUT WE KNOW IT NEVER IS. IN FACT, THE ROAD IS ALWAYS HARDER. IT ALWAYS TAKES LONGER AND REQUIRES MORE FUNDING. THE SCREENPLAY ATTRACTED A GREAT CAST. THE CAST ATTRACTED THE MONEY. AS A FIRST TIME DIRECTOR IT WAS VERY SATISFYING TO WORK WITH SUCH A GREAT CAST AND I SURROUNDED MYSELF WITH AN EXPERIENCED DP IN CHUCK COHEN (VARSITY BLUES) EXPERIENCED EDITOR BUD SMITH (THE EXORCIST AND G-FORCE) AND COMPOSER WILLIAM ROSS (HARRY POTTER)

4. It took two years to go from the festival circuit to getting into theatres. Did you ever consider going directly to video or the Video on Demand market first or was going into theatres first your primary goal from the get-go?

AS THE PRODUCER OF AN INDIE WE ALWAYS HAVE A FIDUCIARY RESPONSIBILITY TO THE INVESTORS, SO ITS INCUMBENT UPON ME TO EXPLORE EVERY OPTION TO FOR THE RETURN ON INVESTMENT. THAT BEING SAID, I SCREENED FOR MY INVESTORS AND THEY WANTED ME TO EXPLORE EVERY OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE THE FILM RELEASED THEATRICALLY.

5. You had a fairly stellar cast, especially with Carla Gugino and Ellen Burstyn. How did having a couple of actors who had their sort of careers help on set with a cast of relatively lesser known actors?

GREAT QUESTION. I’VE ALWAYS ADMIRED CARLA’S WORK. SHE IS SO VERSATILE BUT COMMITTED TO EVERY ROLE SHE PLAYS. ELLEN IS A LEGEND AND TO BE HONEST, SHE INTERVIEWED ME. THEY SET THE TONE FOR PROFESSIONALISM ON SET AND LIKE ANY GOOD TEAMMATE THEY FORCED EVERYONE TO BE PREPARED AND ON TOP OF THEIR GAME.

6. You were a fairly accomplished athlete in college in the Ivy League. How did that affect you while making a sports film? Did it lend any sort of insight into how you wanted to shoot certain scenes?

I THINK THE SPORTS BACKGROUND HELPS WHEN YOU EXAMINE THE NUANCES OF A SPORT. ITS IMPORTANT THAT THE COACH LOOKS, FEELS AND SOUNDS LIKE A HEAD COACH. AND WITH THE YOUNG ACTRESS, I WOULD NOT ALLOW THEM TO AUDITION UNTIL I SAW THEM PLAY. I ALWAYS FELT THAT YOU NEEDED TO BELIEVE THEY HAD TALENT IF YOU WERE TO BELIEVE IN THEIR CINDERELLA STORY. THE LEFT-HANDED LAY UP LINE ELIMINATED MOST OF THOSE WHO AUDITIONED!!

7. What inspired you to want to tell this story?

I GREW UP IN SUBURBAN PHILLY AND THE TEAM PRACTICED AT MY GYM WHEN I WAS A KID. I FOUND IT SO INTERESTING TO BE CONTACTED 40 YEARS LATER AND WAS ASKED BY THE THE SCHOOL TO TELL THE STORY. AS I EXAMINED THE INSPIRING SPORTS GENRE, I WAS SURPRISED TO LEARN THERE HAS NEVER BEEN AN INSPIRING SPORTS FILM FOR YOUNG GIRLS. SOME MAY ARGUE THAT A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN OR BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM WOULD QUALIFY, BUT I DIDN’T THINK THE STAKES WERE HIGH ENOUGH IN THOSE FILMS. THE MIGHTY MACS IS HISTORIC AND CHANGED THE LANDSCAPE OF WOMEN’S SPORTS FOREVER. THE IMMORTALITY OF CATHY RUSH’S INFLUENCE IS WORTHY OF A FILM. SHE WAS INDUCTED IN THE NAISMITH BASKETBALL HALL OF FAME WITH OTHER LEGENDS OF THE GAME.

8. How involved was Cathy Rush in the film’s production? Did she lend any insight; was she on set, etc?

SHE WAS VERY INVOLVED. WE MET OFF AND ON FOR OVER A YEAR AND JUST TALKED ABOUT HER EXPERIENCE. I STARTED WRITING THE SCRIP ABOUT 18 MONTHS AFTER OUR FIRST MEETING.

9. What’s next for you?

A GOOD NIGHT OF SLEEP!…..I’M LOOKING FOR SOMETHING TOTALLY DIFFERENT. I’VE HAD SEVERAL SCRIPTS SENT TO ME AND THEY ALL HAVE FUNDING. WEARING THREE HATS ON THIS PROJECT WAS EXHAUSTING BUT I’M GLAD I DID IT. THE EXPERIENCE MAKES MORE PREPARED FOR MY NEXT PROJECT.

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