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An Interview with STILL THE DRUMS Award winning Filmmaker Talbot Perry Simons

By Maria Esteves - December 8, 2009

The 2009 New York International Independent Film & Video Festival (NYIIFVF09) New York Premiere of STILL THE DRUMS, directed by Talbot Perry Simons, was held at the Village East Cinema, New York, Saturday, October 24, 8:15 pm. A special Q&A with Award-winning filmmaker Simons preceded the after party at Telephone Bar and Grill, New York. He is winner of Best Feature Film Directorial Debut, Best Screenplay, Best Film, Best Actor, Best New Song (Nobody‘s Fault But Mine the P.T.S.D. Blues), 2009 New York International Independent Film & Video Festival (Los Angeles & New York); Platinum Reel Award, 2009 Nevada Film Festival. Talbot Perry Simons (TPS) was interviewed at the NYIIFVF '09 Opening Night Gala held at BLVD, on Thursday, October 22, 2009.

ME:  What inspired the making of the film STILL THE DRUMS ?

TPS:  On November 15, 1995, I did an improv in an acting class and it was very well received. I decided to write the screenplay, which took two-and-a-half years to complete. I was working a day job and I met Academy Award-winning actor Jon Voight at Wholes Food Market in the valley, California. I gave him a copy of my screenplay to read. A week later, he called and said, "Who the heck are you? This is a great story! You ought to go make this into a movie."  That was my inspirational phone call and the validation that I needed to go make this movie. So I quit my job, started a partnership, raised the money, and the rest is history.       

ME: Tell us about the film STILL THE DRUMS?

TPS: The film is about four best friends whose children wanted to be soldiers in the 1950s. When they grew up, all four joined the U.S. Marines and volunteered to go to Vietnam War. Three came back and one was missing in action. 39 years later, his bones are found, he’s brought home and buried as a hero. His friends have been meeting every year on his birthday, to keep his spirit alive. After 39 years, old war memories are re-awaken. A simple get together following the funeral turns into an intense psychological drama. It’s a very different kind of war story.

The three lead actors are co-producer Richard Fulvio (Al), Bobby Figaro (Mike), and myself as Tommy have been best friends for 35 years. This is a relationship story. We dedicate the film to the original improv our friend George Albert Simonelli who died while in pre-production from a heart attack, and Allen Lee Kalman from a stroke. Both were 51 years old and passed away the same year.


ME: Did the film win awards?

TPS: Yes, we received the Best Feature Film Directorial Debut, Best Screenplay, Best Film, Best Actor, Best New Song Awards (Nobody‘s Fault But Mine the P.T.S.D. Blues), at the 2009 New York International Independent Film & Video Festival in Los Angeles and New York, and the Platinum Reel Award, at the 2009 Nevada Film Festival.

ME: What was the audience reaction?

TPS: The audience was mesmerized at 2009 NYIFF New York Premiere. They gained a new understanding about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) among American soldiers during the Vietnam War (NYIFF09 audience reaction).

ME: Where will STILL THE DRUMS screen next?

TPS: The film was submitted to 2010 Newport Beach Film Festival, and Palm Spring Film Festival, California. Uniq Media Group, plan to release the film theatrically.

ME: Any new projects soon to follow?

TPS: Yes, my next film based on my screenplay PLANE, depict six childhood friends follow interweaving tales of crime and the supernatural dealing with fear, greed, karma, friendship, and love.

Thank you, Talbot.

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