Kevin Spacey and Maggie Gyllenhaal join Jameson First Shot to make three upcoming filmmaker's dreams come to life!
Could you imagine walking down the street to look up and suddenly see your name on a billboard in the middle of Hollywood, showcasing a film that YOU WROTE?! No? Ok, well then try imagining that Maggie Gyllenhaal will be starring in your film and Kevin Spacey will be producing it, alongside Trigger Street Productions, which is the studio behind The Social Network and House of Cards. Sound too good to be true? It isn't for three up and coming talented filmmakers thanks to the Jameson First Shot contest, which gives unknown filmmakers the chance to make a top quality film with A-List actors! Jameson gave filmmakers around the globe the chance to submit a script and have their film professionally produced and star actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, who would judge and then select the winners. The theme was "Fearing less and letting life in", and for director Cameron Thrower, the United States winner of the Jameson First Shot contest, the theme hit very close to home.
Thrower has been an up and coming filmmaker in Los Angeles for over 10 years, and has produced most of his films by himself, leading them to various awards and recognition in the industry. Still, he had yet to come across his big break, until now. In the video announcing the winners, we see Cameron walking down a Hollywood street with his friend, until he comes across signage for a movie theater that features his name. Watch him win below!
Out of around 3000+ entries, Thrower's film was selected by Maggie Gyllenhaal herself, and deservedly so.
"I didn't sleep for the entire week leading up to the submission deadline, because this was the chance of a lifetime, and I had to give it my all..."
"I really just wanted to jump in the ocean because I was tired of swimming in a small pond."
Thrower's film, titled Beauty Mark, is described as "A story that takes place in 1986 profiling 'Beauty' salesgirl Valarie Williams, who finds an unlikely friendship in one of her customers, Mark, who teaches her that beauty isn't always skin deep.". He says the inspiration for the film came from his own life experience in fearlessly accepting who you are and chasing your dreams. The contest was truly dream come true as pre-production on his film went underway and Trigger Street treated him like he was Steven Speilberg, pulling out all the bells and whistles to make sure his film was made at top quality production value.
"They gave me houses to choose from, because the location of the film is in a house. I was like, are you kidding me? I'm used to making my apartment look like a house to film in! It was surprise after surprise every day!"
When it came down to the wire and was time to film, Thrower realized he was about to direct one of the top leading actresses in Hollywood, Maggie Gyllenhaal, in HIS film!
"My nerves eased a lot in rehearsal, seeing how much she welcomed me with open arms, and how excited she was about the project. I think after we sat down and I heard her say the words that I wrote for her, that was a dream come true, seeing what she did with the lines. One of my favorite things was hearing her say 'I'm here for you.' I was so thankful. Now it's time to tell the story, this is my one shot."
Cameron also didn't take the fact that he had these A-List actors at his disposal, and took into careful consideration the story he wanted to tell when writing the script for the contest. His last short film, Pretty Boy, was highly acclaimed and praised in the industry while winning several film festival awards for its bravery. The film starred The Duff actor, Nick Eversman. Thrower didn't want to lose the positive momentum that film started in his work.
"I really wanted to tell a story that empowered people to go out and do better. After my last film, 'Pretty Boy', and how many people it helped, I decided that's the kind of film I wanted to make from now on. One that starts a conversation on the way home from watching it. A film can make someone feel better about who they are and who they are meant to be. I think that is what 'Beauty Mark' does."
Thrower's film is still in post-production as the team Jameson First shot assembled works alongside Cameron to put the finishing touches on. The three winner's films will be premiered in Los Angeles at an A-List event, where Beauty Mark will be shown to some of the biggest influencers in Hollywood. It will be a night Thrower will never forget, as his hard work struggling in Hollywood finally pays off. From there, the films will be put on Jameson First Shot's Youtube and Vimeo pages, where it will be out for the whole world to see. Thrower says "It's an insane feeling!" experiencing this all unfold.
"I couldn't have done it if people hadn't believed in me. I wouldn't be here without them. I've worked on so many films where I wasn't sure of myself and if I was in the right place, but I learned from that. Being OK with making mistakes helped me be prepared to walk on the set of 'Beauty Mark'. It gave me the confidence, despite the nerves."
Cameron says he uses his nerves to create a safe environment on set for all involved.
"Nerves are apart of what makes you an artist, being nervous to put yourself out there and be so vulnerable. As a director, you have to be able to connect to the actor and let them know you are there for them. When actors see that you are vulnerable, they feel that they have the space to be vulnerable as well."
As far as Maggie's performance in his film, which he is so excited for everyone to see, Thrower was blown away.
"I think it's smart, courageous, and fun, but most of all she just brought so much heart. Whatever it takes to tell the story better, she knows that's her job, and she brings heart to everything she does. Maggie was having so much fun with what she was doing, and it allowed me to step back and have fun with what I was doing. I got to focus on just directing for once."
Jameson First Shot is a one of a kind contest, where it really gives filmmakers the one shot they needed to launch their career, and actors like Uma Thurman and Adrian Brody have all previously been a part of and spoken highly of it. Cameron is well aware of what an amazing opportunity this is, and is not short on a thank you for every single person involved. From Maggie to Kevin and the other actors, he also recognizes the hard work of the behind the scenes team. From make-up, to hair, to costuming, to location scouting, it took a lot to make this happen for him. Also Trigger Street Productions and Jameson, who provided the resources that were needed to make Beauty Mark a top-quality film. As far as where Cameron sees himself going from here...
"I fee like with Beauty Mark, I finally got to the place I needed to in order to get the confidence to make my full-length feature film. I'm ready to move forward with that."
This is an experience Cameron Thrower won't soon forget, nor will the other two winning filmakkers, Kat Wood (UK) & Jason Perini (Australia). Check out Cameron Thrower's previous films here, and be sure to watch out for Beauty Mark's premiere on the Jameson First Shot Vimeo and Youtube page, coming soon!
Special Thanks to Cameron Thrower, you are an inspiration to people everywhere!