MICKI MIHICH – DIRECTOR / SCREENWRITER
(WITH CINEMATOGRAPHER SIMONE MIHICH BUENO)
SHIP HAPPENS – THE PROJECT
SHIP HAPPENS in an uproarious comedy with the outrageousness of Superbad and Knocked Up, the warmth and heart of When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle and the wit of Woody Allen’s films. Screenwriter Micki Mihich, who also directs the picture, is an avid comedy watcher and since he’s been assimilating all kinds of comedy throughout his life that mix kind of seeped into his writing. That makes Ship Happens accessible to everyone who loves a good laugh.
SHIP HAPPENS is the first feature film by producers Micki Mihich (Screenplay, direction) and Simone Mihich Bueno (cinematography, color correction, digital effects), who together accumulate two decades of experience in the film market and digital industry, having studied with heavy-weights such as Oscar nominee editor Mark De Rossi and two times Oscar nominee producer and director Morten Parker, the latter having become the couple’s mentor.
Their first endeavor, short film "The 100th Job" has been selected by 20 film festivals worldwide, having won 8 awards and bought by the Movieola Short Film Channel. Like SHIP HAPPENS, it was shot in New York and New Jersey.
There’s a wonderful cast giving life to the quirky, lovable – and sometimes both – characters which populate SHIP HAPPENS. As the two main couples, there’s emerging New York theater talents Nick Bixby as Jack, Billy Ernst as Jack’s best friend Fred, Briana Pozner as Fred’s wife Cindy and Brooke Hills as Jack’s ex-girlfriend Debbie; "haunting" the bar owned by Jack there’s the amazing "intensity in subtlety" performances by British comic Gareth "Jonesy" Jones as Barfly and improv master Melissa Klein as the bar back Goth Girl; there’s also the comic trio of Jessica Ritacco, Emmy Harrington and Ashley R. Carr, members of the sketch comedy troupe The Grape Dutches of York, as Jack’s crazy dates. And last but not least there’s Brandon Bart, who had traded the stage for the backstage in recent years but now is back with a vengeance as Ollie the bartender. Writer-director Micki Mihich also "shows his face" playing Eastern European mobster The Croatian.
SHIP HAPPENS – THE STORY
SHIP HAPPENS centers around this guy Jack who, after his father’s passing, stops to think about life and realizes he’s taken a few wrong turns in the past, so he tries to fix them up. Alongside Jack there’s Fred, his best friend who also has been affected by Jack’s decisions, way more than he imagines. Fred is married to Cindy and they’ve found a way of making their marriage work really well… except for of a few secrets being kept. And there’s also Debbie, Jack’s ex-girlfriend with whom he has a son, Tommy, and those are the two elements he wants back into his life, but of course they won’t be that easy to regain.
SHIP HAPPENS is a film about how nobody is perfect, and even good people make bad decisions but sometimes bad decisions can also lead to good things. It’s about how honesty is important in any kind of relationship, since if you hold secrets from one another you’re also holding back on the relationship itself, and depending on the secret it’ll eventually blow over sooner or later. But all that is peppered with a heavy dose of comedic situations. Jack is a guy who’s crazy about Heavy Metal and especially the band Slayer and keeps referencing that comically throughout the film; he also has a knack to finding the craziest girls to date, until he finally accepts Debbie is the woman he really wants. Fred and Cindy seem very much like the innocent couple next door but they have the most outrageous sexual fantasies behind closed doors. Debbie is a lawyer who works as a talk show host and therefore is very serious, but she also has the sharpest tongue when it comes to arguing, especially with Jack. A lot of scenes take place in a bar, which Jack inherits from his father and in this bar there’s Ollie, the horniest bartender ever to tend a bar, his best friend Barfly who can only be understood by Ollie himself and the bar back Goth Girl, who happens to be Jack’s cousin and creeps Ollie and Barfly out whenever she can. Another interesting character within this world is the legendary The Croatian, a loan shark who happens to be as ironic as he is dangerous; he’s always accompanied by his right-hand henchman Vladimir, a man as cold and hard as steel. And of course, someone is bound to get in trouble with them in the story…
THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY
After "The 100th Job", it took Micki and Simone almost half a decade to pay for the film’s debts, even with distribution, and be ready to shoot another project, a thriller. But this time they didn’t want to get in debt again, since their baby Thomas had been born. So they found some financiers and started pre-producing the thriller… but then financing fell through.
They were stuck with two options: Stop and get depressed or keep going. Going towards the dark path wasn’t an option, thus they chose another road, i.e., another project. So they kept the creative momentum going and since the easiest way of having fun is through a comedy, Micki started writing a comedy. Actually, he had several ideas for a comedy already – plots, lines, characters, situations and whole dialogues, but he felt that by only putting them together we would end up with a giant soulless sketch of a film. So in order to counterbalance all those jokes Micki started thinking about dramatic situations that could alter relationships in a profound way and then built a structure with them, and upon that structure he applied all those comedic ideas that he had. The result, SHIP HAPPENS, is a film which is very much a comedy but it also has a soul.
An interesting detail is that, the outpouring from the creative momentum from the other unreleased project was such that Micki ended up writing such a long story – and it became a whole trilogy. Yes, there are three Ship Happens movies completely outlined and all of them have all the same characters – and some new ones will come along on the other films. That gives SHIP HAPPENS potential for cult status.
They then did exactly what they had done for The 100th Job, i.e., pay for everything themselves, and then find a way of paying their debts through a crowdfunding campaign. This way they’d have a great asset: Images from the film. They’ve already posted a trailer and now are posting several clips. They also didn’t renew their distribution for The 100th Job in order to make it available to the crowdfunders, so they could see SHIP HAPPENS was being made by competent hands. Moreover, writer-director Micki Mihich writer and performed live a stand up routine so the crowdfunders would be able to see whether or not he could write something funny. All those great hooks, besides the great perks, which can include from a Thank You on their website to a dinner on a yatch with the filmmakers, make for a great crowdfunding campaign.
Micki Mihich is the award-winning writer and director of The 100th Job which was showcased in over 20 International Film Festivals and was bought by the Movieola Short Film Channel.
More great video interviews on the Film Courage Youtube Channel
Kenton Bartlett, Mark Boone Junior, Curtis Churn & Hadley Wells of MISSING PIECES at Film Courage Interactive 11-28-11 talk
casting for the film.
Producing A Movie Begins With A Distribution Date by Julie Corman
KILL YOUR DARLINGS LA Press Conference with co-writer Austin Bunn & director/co-writer John Krokidas
KILL YOUR DARLINGS LA Press Conference with Daniel Radcliffe, Dane DeHaan, Michael C. Hall