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An Interview with James Person, Co-Director and Star of Saltville

by Mike Haberfelner

February 2024

James Person on (re)Search my Trash

 

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Your new movie Saltville - in a few words, what's it about?

 

Itís a story of want, and how far you will go to get or give up on what you want.

 

The Saltville Massacre at the beginning of your movie really took place - so could you elaborate on this for a bit, and what kind of research did you do on the subject matter? And what inspired you to make it the kick-off point of your film in the first place?

 

Yes, the Saltville massacre is a true story. We fictionalized a scene or two for entertainment's sake of the movie. But always staying true to the original narrative. We started with the scene as a way of informing the audience of this piece of Civil War, history. That is Saltville, Virginia.

 

Other sources of inspiration when writing Saltville?

 

A lot of online research around rural mountain life, specifically in the early 1800s.

 

Along the way, Saltville tackles racial issues and serves as social commentary - so could you elaborate on that, and how easy or hard was it to work these into a thriller plot?

 

Well, after reconstruction there were a lot of attempts to introduce former slaves into the fabric of America as free individuals. Of course this upset a lot of people. Those individuals wanted to see the reconstruction effort fail. Having the descendants of these newly freed slaves deal with some of the same issues 150 years later just felt socially right for this movie. We still had our difficult moments with the script.

 

A few words about your directorial approach to your story at hand?

 

I let an actor act. I protect the space that an actor needs, to get in the character. For the most part, I stay out of the way, but only to guide an actors creativity from time to time. I donít do rehearsals. When we start filming we rehearse until we get it dialed in. To me itís the most organic approach to film making possible.

 

You've written and directed Saltville together with Gordon Price [Gordon Price interview - click here] - so what was working with Gordon like during all of this?

 

Gordy and I are passionate about our work. Only the best ideas will make it in the film. We both are committed to that, itís great working with him.

 

Saltville isn't the first time you've worked with Gordon Price - so what can you tell us about your previous collaborations, and how did the two of you first meet even?

 

We met at a neighborhood pub. And we got to talk about his previous films. I reviewed those films and felt that I could add a bit of technical expertise to his films. Not that he lacked that in his films, I just felt I had something different to offer. Thatís where we started.

 

Saltville also marks your acting debut - so how did that come about, and what can you tell us about your character? And what did you draw upon to bring him to life?

 

I was satisfied with my abilities behind the camera. So I wanted to experiment in front of the camera . My character Jayden Banks is a community hero. The guy out front. The one that will take the fight to the street for what he believes in. I understood this character very intimately . He is me in a lot of ways.

 

What can you tell us about Saltville's key cast, and why exactly these people?

 

We have been extremely lucky with casting in this film, Saltville, as well as our previous two films. Passion and talent wins every time.

 

A few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?

 

I encourage every actor in our movies to steal your scene and you may steal the movie. This is part of my on set culture.

 

The $64-question of course, where can Saltville be seen?

 

Weíre working through distribution and streaming deals now. Nothing signed so weíll have to keep you posted on that.

 

Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Saltville?

 

Weíre just starting to get feedback from the reviewers. You are our audience at this moment. The words that you say will shape how people view our film going forward. Thank you for your support and kind words about our film Saltville.

 

Any future projects you'd like to share?

 

None at the moment.

 

What got you into filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?

 

Iíve taken courses at the New York Film Academy and Georgia State University. My first step in learning film production was with the Hollywood Film Institute - producer classes at Raleigh Studio in Los Angeles.

 

What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Saltville?

 

My first film with Gordy was Crawford Road, our second film together was titled Ten Doors. Both are curio fiction films. Iím also a film production consultant.

 

How would you describe yourself as a director?

 

Motivational.

 

Filmmakers who inspire you?

 

The Hughes brothers, Christopher Nolan.

 

Your favourite movies?

 

The Book of Eli, The Dark Knight.

 

... and of course, films you really deplore?

 

Feeling lucky?
Want to
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The links below
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Find James Person
at the amazons ...

USA  amazon.com

Great Britain (a.k.a. the United Kingdom)  amazon.co.uk

Germany (East AND West)  amazon.de

Looking for imports?
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Thailand  eThaiCD.com
Your shop for all things Thai

None, I think all movies even your first attempt at filmmaking has value.

 

Your/your movie's website, social media, whatever else?

 

https://express.adobe.com/page/3gCyIJmoIhZEv/

https://youtu.be/wTXYrZRNErY

 

Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?

 

No Michael, this was a wonderful interview and I really enjoyed your questions. Looking forward to the next time. Be blessed.

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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Thanks for watching !!!



 

 

In times of uncertainty of a possible zombie outbreak, a woman has to decide between two men - only one of them's one of the undead.

 

There's No Such Thing as Zombies
starring
Luana Ribeira, Rudy Barrow and Rami Hilmi
special appearances by
Debra Lamb and Lynn Lowry

 

directed by
Eddie Bammeke

written by
Michael Haberfelner

produced by
Michael Haberfelner, Luana Ribeira and Eddie Bammeke

 

now streaming at

Amazon

Amazon UK

Vimeo

 

 

 

Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!