Los Angeles, California (The Hollywood Times) 5/18/2021 – Industry watchers and film fans in the know say that young New York based Film Director and Actor, Timothy Allen Coons has a unique vision. At only 30 years old, he has already seen his work lauded and applauded across the continent from Los Angeles to Toronto, garnering an impressive number of prestigious awards.
When did your love for film begin?
At the age of five. My mother and her boyfriend at the time would bring me to the local movie rental franchise, and I would be able to pick out my own movie every weekend to rent, along with their choices, and we would have movie marathons. My love for film began there. Even as an adolescent I would love to watch the behind the scenes and how films were made. That joy of rummaging through all the new releases each week and being fascinated with how some of my favorite films were constructed is where it all began. It wasn’t until I was twenty two years old that I actually said to myself, “What are you waiting for? Just make a film on your own”, and that mentality has led me here.
Tell us about how your films are making an impact.
There’s all different kinds of impact; emotional impact where we are so invested in a character and their arc, social impact where we have to stare something in the eyes and acknowledge that some kind of change needs to be put into motion, and then there’s just pure entertainment. Truthfully, I think I rarely write something with the mentality of strictly constructing entertainment. I want to challenge the viewer in some capacity. With my film Iris, I wanted to showcase the true bleakness that comes with a toxic abusive relationship. That was a hard film to make, and to this day I can’t watch that film, but it’s probably in my top three most proud moments. It took everyone a lot of courage to make that film. With The Purple Dragon, which is really the start of what I’d consider to be my success, obtaining several awards and some exposure, we follow a young couple that is dealing with addiction, and simultaneously we follow two brothers that are selling drugs to pay for their youngest brother’s medical bills. The film challenges the viewer into considering what is morally correct in a difficult situation. Ezra and The Unicorn is all about mental illness and self-acceptance. We follow a man who is dealing with repressed childhood trauma, and eventually we get to see his catharsis. That film is one of my absolute favorites that I feel is emotionally applicable for most audiences. Recently I just wrapped up Fable of The Hired Guns & The Woman Who Cried Witch, which certainly is more “entertainment” based. I really wanted to make a thriller/horror film meets Spaghetti Western. I love both of those genres so much, and crafting a world where both of those genres can coexist was a lot of fun. It was incredibly challenging to make that film because of the weather conditions, it was freezing out, and the majority of the film challenged all of us as performers because there are a lot of “one-takes” and it’s incredibly conversational based. It’s a slow burn with a fun payoff. I can’t wait for people to see this film, and see what we were capable of with next to no funding. Fable began its festival circuit, and I can’t wait to see how it all turns out.
Tell us about your first film.
My first film, The Dark Side of My Bizarre Mind, is based off of a Mac Miller mixtape that really resonated with me. He was speaking a truth that was unapologetic about mental health struggles and at the time I was really struggling myself, so I took his art and utilized it to make my own. The film showcases the struggle of escapism when not wanting to deal with your own reality, and how difficult and crippling depression can be.
How did the pandemic change your vision for filmmaking?
Navigating creating a safe and healthy space for everyone was certainly challenging. I suppose looking at how to create a very contained film with less performers on set to make it so we could follow guidelines properly was certainly something to ponder on, but as it is, as an independent filmmaker, I already choose to write pretty contained films just based on budget. We did have to break for a couple months while filming Ezra and The Unicorn, as at that moment Covid became very prominent and people were scared, and rightfully so. This pandemic has taught us all a fair amount, but it cemented our mutual respect and adoration for filmmaking at the same time.
How has your creative vision, or your methods, or philosophies around filmmaking changed from the first film to the most recent?
With the first film, I had no expectation of myself or what I had the potential to do. I was floundering in college, where I met all of my wonderful friends and partners-in-filmmaking and didn’t have the confidence at the time to really pursue film as a means of a job. As I progressed, and inevitably got better at honing in on my craft, I realized that I could do this as an occupation. I had always dreamed that I would be an entertainer, since I was a child, but once I acknowledged the reality that I could do this, it shifted for me. Now, I’m really hard on myself. Every single aspect of my script had better make sense, there had better be a message, and the audience better be able to navigate the narrative I’m spinning. At this point, I focus primarily on character development, whereas before I made a lot of content that was primarily visually based and metaphorically based, and people often got lost, but now I use a mixture of those elements. I write with intent now, I direct with intent, I act with intent. It isn’t a fleeting desire to be a paid filmmaker, this is what I was born to do.
As an award-winning filmmaker, what are you most proud of?
The Purple Dragon and Sixty Acres and a Mule are what I’m most recently proud of, because of circumstances that could have broken our spirit. When we were filming The Purple Dragon, my best friend and cinematographer, Benjamin Mills, was diagnosed with cancer. We had to navigate dealing with Ben’s illness, I was working ungodly hours, lost my dog Gracie to cancer, and we still pushed through it all together. With Sixty Acres and a Mule, Benjamin found out he had an aortic aneurysm, and then he passed away unexpectedly on October 20th, 2020 while we were beginning the editing process. That film, and “Fable”, and every film to come, will be dedicated in his honor. I’m incredibly proud of everyone’s resilience and resolve, because we collectively had to deal with a horribly tragic loss of a best friend and partner in filmmaking.
My film Iris, as I previously mentioned, was no small feat for us either. My fiancé and I played alongside one another in a horribly honest glimpse into a psychological horror story revolving around abuse. That film is so impactful for everyone who has seen it. It didn’t win much in regards to awards, and didn’t gain us any coverage really, but the fact that we could make that film without romanticizing any of those elements and just being blunt and honest about the subject matter, I’m really proud of us for that.
What are your current projects?
We just wrapped up Fable of The Hired Guns & The Woman Who Cried Witch, and it has begun its festival circuit along with Ezra and The Unicorn and Sixty Acres and a Mule, so collectively we will have three films in the festival circuit. I have a few scripts I’ve completed and I want to pitch them to get a producer. We have independently funded all of our films up until now, and I am more than ready for the next big step. I hope to make another film or two in 2021, and I want to get an agent and begin an acting career as well. I want to be challenged, and continue to challenge an audience.
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