Latest TMNT doc interview

Last week was a very interesting week.

Not like the Chinese curse, exactly, but it came close at times.

Isaac Elliott-Fisher, Mark Hussey and I had the good fortune to accompany our friend Richard Fitoussi to the United Nations in New York, where he would be screening a cut of the film he produced for the Canadian Land Mine Foundation, Landmine ER.

Shot and directed by British filmmaker Tom Peppiatt, this documentary follows a young Cambodian man named Satya Yorm who comes to the Emergency hospital after stepping on a mine in the K5 mine belt in northern Cambodia and leaves the hospital several weeks later as a new man, and an amputee.

With Mark and I having contributed to the educational version of the film (called The Damage Done) and the resource package that goes along with it, it was a great honour to be able to introduce the documentary, read a few words from the director and get a chance to speak briefly to the issues brought up in the film, and I’m pretty sure that the team from the CLMF in attendance were pleased with the event.

However, we weren’t just there to present, we were there to shoot the event and do some work, which we did, capably as always (give or take some security issues and scheduling concerns getting into the UN…).

And, there was another opportunity that presented itself on the way down to New York.

Having spent three years making our own documentary about the history of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, you would think there would be nothing left for us to shoot, but it is simply not the case.

We ended up stopping in Connecticut to interview comedian/actor/writer Michael Ian Black, founding member of The State and Stella, and someone whose work I had been enjoying for years. As a comedy nerd, it was a real treat to get a chance to sit down and interview Michael, who is not only a very intelligent, kind and articulate guy, but a former Ninja Turtle.

It is hard to believe, but Michael quit college to play Raphael and tour the country in a turtle suit, making appearances timed with Pizza Hut’s Coming Out of Our Shells tour along with his friend Ben, whom we would better know as Robert Ben Garant, also a found member of The State and comedian/actor/writer. (and someone whom I am really hoping to interview this summer)

And then, after talking with Michael, we highballed it to Northampton to have another interview with one of the Turtles’ creators, Peter Laird.

Although I’ve spoken with Peter, traded emails and seen hours of his interview footage with and Isaac and Mark, I have never been able to meet him in person and interview him myself, so this was a great opportunity.

We spent the afternoon in his office, had a great conversation/interview and then sat down with him and with Gary Richardson (CEO of Mirage) to show select scenes from our doc in process.

It was amazing to see his response to our work thus far, especially because he really liked it. I won’t say I was relieved, because I know it’s good, but it was great to have that reassurance. We’ve now had both Kevin Eastman AND Peter Laird respond very positively to process footage, so I think we’re on the right track with this thing.

We left Peter’s to head down to Manhattan for the UN screening, but I don’t think any of us were tired even though we’d driven all night and knew we’d be driving all night the next night to get back home for work on Thursday. It wasn’t just the cafe mocha’s talking either.

There’s something pretty awesome about the fact that our little group of regular guys with day jobs can pile into a Honda Odyssey in small-town Ontario and step out in New York or Connecticut as professional filmmakers and do it well time and time again, no matter what else is going on around us.

It almost makes me think this thing’s going to work out


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