Created on Sunday, 03 June 2012 Written by Marie AsnerWelcome to the world of the working professional. Checking in from Bucharest, prolific up-and-coming director, writer, actor and singer Michael Damian discusses filming his latest work, Flicka: Country Pride, and his upcoming projects.
Director/Writer/Actor/Singer Michael Damian's latest directing project, Flicka: Country Pride (rated G) has been released. I reviewed Flicka 2 two years ago and interviewed Michael at the same time. Country Pride has Flicka traveling with singer/actor Clint Black. They meet Black's real-life wife, actress Lisa Hartman Black, in a story of dealing with grief and training a horse.
For this interview, Michael Damian was in Bucharest, Romania, directing a romantic comedy he wrote with his wife Janeen Damian called Confections of a Discarded Woman (release summer 2013). Asked whether he would be acting in the film as well, he indicated "...it's a surprise." During the past two years, Michael Damian has co-written (with wife Janeen) the animal film Marley & Me: The Puppy Years, plus A Princess For Christmas and done the third Flicka movie. Currently, Damian is reprising his role as Danny Romalotti in the television soap opera The Young and the Restless. That segment began May 18, 2012.
Flicka: Country Pride, was filmed in Canada and the photography is beautifully done. The theme of the film is mourning. Clint Black and Flicka come to the ranch owned by Lisa Hartman Black and her daughter Kelly (Kacey Rohl) Mom and daughter are trying to keep afloat financially and Clint is their new business manager. Kelly is mourning the death of her father, but this is, also, affecting a once-good friend, Stephanie (Siobhan Williams), who is getting a mean streak. Both girls like Briggs (Max Lloyd-Jones). The story is told through horse jumping competitions, which consist of three parts: Dressage, Cross Country and Show Jumping.
The director is the heartbeat of a story and must move the actors (and in this case, the animals, too) like a chess board depending on the terrain and weather conditions. In my review of Flicka: Country Pride, I mentioned that "...Damian...guides the camera into the Cross Country event and you are there with the riders...the camera shots of Flicka running by herself in a field with the sun at the right of the screen are well done. The eye follows the horse from right to left and then the eye goes from left to right and into the next scene. There is continuity here and throughout ....." Damian replied, "It's important not to confuse the viewer and at the same time keep the intensity and excitement at maximum. The Russian Arm (a camera with fluid head on a 34 foot crane mounted on a Mercedes SUV) helped enable us to make those really cool shots come alive. It also lets the viewer watch and enjoy the scene and not get queasy...it is also very expensive. I used it whenever I could afford it."
I know that Clint Black can ride a horse, but wondered about the other actors, Kacey, Siobhan and Max. Kacey and Siobhan have serious horse riding time and Damian replied, "The young actors did an amazing job riding...we put them in Boot Camp starting day one and they progressed brilliantly. They were able to do actual jumping for the show jumping sequence and a little cross country as well."
In the movie, the horse everyone notices as Flicka is a beautiful, muscular black/brown horse. The horse acted on cue and I wondered if one horse did everything in the movie. Damian replied, " We had about six horses playing Flicka in the movie. All of them having different skills jumping, cross-country, dressage, liberty (meaning the horse can tear around like a maniac and stop on cue, paw, rear, shake their head and even smile). They were gorgeous creatures and it was an amazing experience working with animals with such great intellect."
And so, Michael Damian travels the world, acting, writing, directing and singing. Down time? It doesn't seem so. Future projects include directing, writing, producing and singing on the soundtrack of a comedy entitled, Homer's Ultimate Space Glove (release 2014.) There is also the film A Princess For Christmas 2 which has him directing, writing, producing and singing on the soundtrack. For readers who relate to Michael Damian as actor/director, he has received a Grammy nomination for his role in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and has had several top 40 hits including a signature song, "Rock On." Travel safely.
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