Maxine Pugh is a screenplay ghostwriter who recently branched out and started writing her own personal projects. “Raison D’etre” her feature screenplay won Best Romantic Comedy and Best Special Mention awards in the Monaco Film Festival-Angel Film Awards in December 2011. She also produced a short documentary on the 2010 Haiti earthquake, and recently finished her directing debut on a dramatic short film, “Was My Whole Life Wrong…” which will make its premiere at the Festival de Cannes–Short Films Corner in May 2012.
Maxine is looking to raise money to produce a film about the Christmas Truce of 1914 and launched a kickstarter campaign, but soon found a corporate sponsor for her now documentary film on WWI veterans. She’s now working with a corporate sponsor interested in matching any funds she raises and will be working on a crowd funding projected to finance the film.
Here’s more information about “Flanders Fields Miracle:” Christmas Eve 1914 on the WW1 Western Front in Ypres, Belgium, fierce battles were being fought from inside frozen, muddy, rat-infested, barded wire trenches. German soldiers did the unimaginable, they called an unofficial temporary truce and celebrated Christmas together with their enemies… as friends.
War Through the Generations had the opportunity to interview Maxine about the film and the campaign.
War Through the Generations focuses on WWI this year, but each year the blog focuses on a different war. How did you come across WTTG?
I was doing research on all things related to WW1 when I came across your site.
And what inspired you to reach out to us about your film project?
I was awed by the editors writing, the fun activities, and the knowledgable readers who post on your site. I believe you’re my target audience and that you’d embrace my film.
War Horse is just one successful WWI movie that comes to mind. What inspired you to look into making a movie about the Christmas Truce of 1914 for Flanders Fields Miracle?
Last year I decided that I wanted to work on an inspirational project that had international appeal. I really wanted to stretch myself, so I set about doing research to find a topic that spoke to me. When I came across the Christmas Truce, it stopped me in my tracks and brought me to tears. I knew instantly that I had to tell this story.
Do you think WWI is a war that is not depicted enough in film, why or why not?
Not only is it not depicted enough in film but we learn very little about it in school. When I speak to my friends and family they all know about WW11 but you ask them about WW1 and they go vague. Maybe it’s because it was so long ago that it’s just fallen off our radar.
How much will be going to pay actors, etc. (if you don’t mind divulging).
With a $40,000.00 budget, there will certainly be no Hollywood salaries on this project. The principal crew and actors will be paid a flat salary of $500.00. We’ll also have four interns onboard. All the pre-production work was done without pay. We’ll be purchasing historical footage and fight scenes which will enable us to keep the costs down. The bulk of the money we raise will go into making a wonderful film that looks good, screenings, and getting the word out to the masses. BTW the film will be shot in B&W.
What are your goals in the making of this film?
We want to honor these men by keeping their memories alive.
Filmmaking these days requires a lot of capital, especially if you are not backed by the Hollywood establishment. How successful do you feel you can be in making a film of this nature without the backing of Hollywood and what would be the drawbacks of having Hollywood money behind the film?
We wholeheartedly believe we’re working on a successful award-winning project. Along the way we’ll pick up a PR firm – hopefully pro bono – to get us press and garner interest in our film. And once we get the word out there we truly believe we’ll be able to get Hollywood onboard with distribution. We’d love to have Hollywood money right now, but finding it could take a long time and our film could no doubt end up becoming a totally different, bigger, movie than the one we want to tell.
Tell us a little bit about how you got involved in filmmaking. Was it a lifelong dream?
I started off thinking I’d work in finance, but then I interned at a company where one of the senior partners funded a movie, and I was instantly hooked on the movie making process. I’ve worked in Hollywood as a marketing manager, publicist, agent, and screenplay ghostwriter. Recently I directed my first dramatic short film, “Was My Whole Life Wrong…” which will make its premiere May 2012 at the Festival de Cannes–Short Films Corner.
What types of subjects interest you most when deciding to work on a film?
I like subjects with international appeal. I’m really happy when I can tell the story of an everyday woman or man overcoming obstacles and prevailing. I thrive on heartwarming stories like the Christmas Truce, that show humanity at its best.
This sounds like a worthwhile project! We wish Maxine all the best, and we hope you’ll keep your eyes out for her documentary in the future.