Donavon Frankenreiter Heads through Florida for his 2016 Tour starting March!

Singer/guitarist/songwriter Donavon Frankenreiter is heading throughout Florida (and one show in Hilton Head Island, SC) starting in March 2016! His latest album was released in 2015 called “The Heart” and if you haven’t heard it I would highly recommend it.

Check out below for a complete list of dates to catch Donavon live! Don’t miss it!

March 10, 2016
687 Central Ave Saint Petersburg, FL – State Theatre

March 11, 2016
Culture Room 3045 N Federal Hwy Fort Lauderdale, FL – Fort Lauderdale, FL,

March 12, 2016
Culture Room 3045 N Federal Hwy Fort Lauderdale, FL – Fort Lauderdale, FL

March 13, 2016
FLORIDA , Key West – Parade Grounds’

March 14, 2016
Dixie Roadhouse 1023 SE 47th Terrace Cape Coral, FL – Cape Coral, FL,

March 15, 2016
Stuart, FL, – TERRA FERMATA 26 SE 6th St Stuart, FL

March 16, 2016
Plaza Live Orlando 425 N Bumby Ave Orlando, FL – Orlando, FL,

March 17, 2016
Meg O’Malley’s – FLORIDA , Melbourne

March 18, 2016
Beachside Tavern 690 E 3rd Ave New Smyrna Beach, FL – New Smyrna Beach, FL

March 19, 2016
Slide Into Spring Music & Craft Beer Festival / Main Beach Park – Fernandina Beach, FL 32034 Florida, PR

March 20, 2016
38 Shelter Cove Lane, Suite 122 City: Hilton Head Island, SC – Rooftop Bar at Poseidon Hilton Head Island

Click here to purchase tickets to any of these show above!

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Seven Downtown Disney Resort Area Hotels In The Walt Disney World Resort In Florida Offering Enticing “Make Some Memories Rates”

Provide An Appealing Way to Take In Such Upcoming Events As Night of Joy, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, The Epcot® International Food & Wine Festival and the Eat To The Beat Concert Series at Epcot®

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL (August 2014) – There is still time to make plans to experience the special events being conducted at the Walt Disney World® Resort in Central Florida this summer and fall, such as Night of Joy, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, the Epcot® International Food & Wine Festival, and the Eat To The Beat Concert Series at Epcot®. A great way to experience these events, and/or to check out the recently expanded New FantasylandTM at Magic Kingdom® Park, is by taking advantage of the special “Make Some Memories Rates” that are being offered by the seven Downtown Disney® Resort Area Hotelsthrough October 31, 2014.

In addition to their ideal location an easy walk to the shopping, dining and entertainment venues at theDowntown Disney® Area, these seven Official Walt Disney World® Hotels also provide complimentary shuttle transportation every 30 minutes to all four Walt Disney World® Theme Parks, two water parks, and to the Downtown Disney® area. As a bonus, guests at these hotels also receive the “2014 Downtown Disney Deals” booklet that features exclusive discounts and specials from over 30 merchants on Downtown Disney® area dining, entertainment and shopping.

 Available for stays through October 31, 2014, the Downtown Disney® Resort Area Hotels’ “Make Some Memories Rates” are: 

 For more information on the “Make Some Memories Rates,” or to make a reservation, visit, specifically.  Rates are based on availability and some blackout dates may apply. The rates do not include the Resort Services Fee or daily parking fee (if applicable), taxes or gratuities. The offer is not valid with any other special offers, promotions, existing reservations, or for groups.

 Taking advantage of the special rates also will enable you to enjoy such other benefits of staying at one of the seven Downtown Disney® Resort Area Hotels as: 

  • Disney tickets available to purchase at each hotel
  • Advance tee times and discounts at all Walt Disney World® golf courses
  • Disney Merchandise store located in each hotel
  • The ability to book advance dining and dinner show reservations for all restaurants across the Walt Disney World® Resort.

Special events at the Walt Disney World® Resort include:

  • Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party – select nights September 1-October 31, 2014, at Magic Kingdom® Park
  • Night of Joy – September 5-6, 2014, at Magic Kingdom® Park
  • Epcot® International Food & Wine Festival Presented by Chase® — Sept. 19-November 10, 2014, at Epcot®.
  • Eat To The Beat Concert Series – September 19-November 10, 2014, at Epcot®
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – now open at Magic Kingdom® Park

In addition to these special events you also could take in the wonders of the recently expanded New Fantasyland, which is the largest expansion in the history of Magic Kingdom® Park. It offers more immersive enchantment and interactive experiences, and features two new themed areas: Enchanted Forest and Storybook Circus. Enchanted Forest attractions and experiences include Under The Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid; Be Our Guest Restaurant; Enchanted Tales with Belle; Ariel’s Grotto; Gaston’s Tavern; and the crowning jewel of New Fantasyland Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Storybook Circus attractions include: The Barnstormer; Dumbo The Flying Elephant; Casey Jr Splash ‘N’ Soak Station; Pete’s Silly Sideshow; andFantasyland Station.

Among the many coupons featured in the “2014 Downtown Disney Deals” booklet are discounts at Rainforest Café, T-Rex, Wolfgang Puck Express, Steve Baker Caricatures, Lego Imagination Center, Planet Hollywood Downtown Disney®, House of Blues® Restaurant, La NoubaTM by Cirque du Soleil®, Bongo’s Cuban Café®, and Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop.

“This is a great time to visit the Walt Disney World® Resort,” said Steve Garner, chairperson of the Downtown Disney® Resort Area Hotels’ marketing committee. “The attendance at the theme parks is often lighter, and all of the special events at the Walt Disney World® Theme Parks are wonderful. Taking advantage of the special ‘Make Some Memories Rates’ is a great way to experience the many offerings of the Walt Disney World® Resort.”

Downtown Disney® Resort Area Hotels ( is a consortium of seven hotels located in the Walt Disney World® Resort that includes: the stylish B Resort & Spa, opened in June 2014 with 394 newly renovated guest rooms and suites, the full-service B Indulged® by AVEDA spa (opening in September 2014), and a zero-entry pool; the 18-story Best Western Lake Buena Vista Resort Hotel, surrounded by 12 acres of lush tropical landscaping, and offering 325 spacious rooms and suites, and complimentary WiFi; the newly renovated and sophisticated Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa, featuring 1,014 guest rooms and suites, a 10,000-square-foot spa, three pools, and five restaurants and lounges; the luxurious and spacious 229-suite Doubletree Suites by Hilton, the only all-suite resort hotel in the Downtown Disney® Resort Area; the deluxe 814-room, full-service Hilton Orlando Resort, featuring seven on-site restaurants and lounges and the new Hilton Fitness by Life Fitness® Center; the Holiday Inn Orlando – Lake Buena Vista, the only Holiday Inn located in the Walt Disney World® Resort Area and featuring elegant rooms with modern Florida décor; and Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Resort, featuring 626 guest rooms which each feature a refrigerator), the Oasis Aquatic Playground with two pools and interactive water features, and six dining options.

With nearly 30 food and beverage outlets and restaurants, more than 3,600 rooms and scores of amenities, the Downtown Disney® Resort Area Hotels offer a rate, space and menu to please every guest. Located in the heart of the Downtown Disney® area, these properties are within walking distance of some of the area’s best shopping, dining and entertainment.

For reservations, or more information, visit


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LEGOLAND® FLORIDA RESORT is offering guests a chance to book their spot in history! 

Reservations now being accepted for the new LEGOLAND® Hotel, opening Summer 2015

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (August 19, 2014) – It’s less than one year before LEGOLAND® Florida Resort opens the doors to its new LEGOLAND® Hotel, and the window is now officially open for guests to book their rooms! Opening Summer 2015, the five story LEGO® themed hotel will feature 152 brightly colored and highly themed rooms and suites, thousands of LEGO models and interactive play areas! The addition of the Hotel gives guests the opportunity to extend their stay and explore LEGOLAND Florida Resort for more than one day giving them the ultimate family experience.

To book your reservation to LEGOLAND Hotel, visit:

Construction is going strong since the November groundbreaking and LEGOLAND Hotel recently reached its “topping off” milestone as the concrete was poured onto the roof. Emmet, from “The LEGO Movie,” dusted off his construction hat to help with the placing of the Merlin flag. Merlin Entertainments, the parent company of LEGOLAND Parks, is the number one attraction operator in Europe and the second largest in the world with more than 100 attractions in 22 countries and across four continents.

Located at the main entrance of LEGOLAND Florida, the Hotel includes a pool, restaurants including a kid-size buffet, interactive play areas and is truly designed to inspire imaginations and create memories for all visitors. Hotel guests will have early access to the Park and be treated to nightly entertainment.

Families can choose from one of three popular LEGO toy lines as their room theme: Pirate, Kingdom or Adventure. All rooms include two separate sleeping areas, with a king-size bed for grown-ups, and a separate sleeping area for up to three little ones, complete with a bunk bed, pull-out trundle bed and their very own TV! An exciting new room theme will be announced at a later date. Room rates start as low as $249, varying by season. For the most updated information, visit


About LEGOLAND® Florida Resort:

LEGOLAND® Florida Resort is a 150-acre interactive theme park with more than 50 rides, shows and attractions, a Water Park and The LEGO® World of Chima presented by Cartoon Network all geared to families with children ages 2 to 12. Recently announced, The LEGOLAND Hotel will open in 2015 featuring 152 highly themed rooms and suites, LEGO décor, interactive play areas, a pool and a restaurant. There are currently five other LEGOLAND Parks in the world – LEGOLAND California in Carlsbad, LEGOLAND Billund in Denmark, LEGOLAND Deutschland near Günzburg, Germany and LEGOLAND Windsor outside of London and LEGOLAND Malaysia —the sixth LEGOLAND Park and first in Asia. The LEGOLAND theme parks are a part of Merlin Entertainments Group, the second largest attractions operator in the world. For the most current information, log on to


About Merlin Entertainments:

MERLIN ENTERTAINMENTS plc is the leading name in location-based, family entertainment. Europe’s number one and the world’s second-largest visitor attraction operator, Merlin now operates 104 attractions, 10 hotels/3 holiday villages in 22 countries and across 4 continents. The company aims to deliver memorable and rewarding experiences to its almost 60 million visitors worldwide, through its iconic global and local brands, and the commitment and passion of its managers and more than 20,000 employees.

Merlin has twenty three attractions and one hotel in North America  – including two stunning LEGOLAND Resorts – LEGOLAND Florida with its theme park, water park, and LEGOLAND California theme park with water park, SEA LIFE Aquarium and themed hotel; Madame Tussauds celebrity wax attractions in New York City, Washington D.C., Las Vegas; Hollywood; and San Francisco; LEGOLAND Discovery Centers in Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Kansas City Missouri, Atlanta, Boston; Westchester and Toronto, Canada; a Dungeon in San Francisco; and SEA LIFE Aquariums in Phoenix, Arizona; Kansas City, Missouri; Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, the Mall of America in Minneapolis and Charlotte underlining the company’s position as the world’s biggest global aquarium operator.  Visit for more information.


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The Vampire Diaries: Official Convention Invades Florida this Weekend!

Returning to the great city of Orlando and the beautiful host hotel for our 2nd annual area convention devoted to the super-hot performers and amazing on-going story of the CW’s THE VAMPIRE DIARIES! Last year was an awesome time with Ian and Paul and the rest of our celebrity guests and was packed with sold out support of our fellow fans! As the only “official” event for The Vampire Diaries we are proud to be licensed by Warner Bros.TV and this allows us to provide YOU with the absolute best time and of course we can offer official exclusive souvenir merchandise that we know you will love.

Sat. & Sun
December 14-15, 2013

The Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista
1751 Hotel Plaza Blvd.
Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830

Scan this QR code, visit your smartphone’s app store, or click here: to download the free Bloodhound App (iPhone, Android, HTML5). Click on the “The Vampire Diaries Orlando 2013”event to have mobile access to:

  • General convention information
  • The full schedule (uploaded the Wednesday before the event)
  • Map of the hotel
  • Social networking (sign-in through Facebook) and follow our Twitter stream
  • And much more!

Florida Xtravaganza – Toy, Comic, Art & Fan Convention Returns November 15-17th!

Back, by popular demand… the Original Florida Xtravaganza Toy, Comic, Art and Fan Convention!

The Doubletree Seaworld (formally International Plaza) Hotel on NOVEMBER 15 – 17 2013

Florida Xtravaganza will be a family run, fun collectible convention where you WILL find all of the rarest and most sought after toys, comics and collectibles on your want list! It promises to be the most fun filled weekend of the year for collectors and fans alike and it is all in a single location!

It will also showcase the first PEZ-Lando Convention!, which promises to be an event not to be missed. It will be a “Collector’s Meet” included within the Florida Xtravaganza event this year and plans to be a stand alone convention next year! Attendees will have access to everything included in their admission and there will be exclusive items available for this show only!

Appearing at FX! Actors from the classic “A Christmas Story.” Scott Schwatrtz, Ian Petrella, Zach Ward and Yano Anaya! Also appearing is wrestling icon Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake. 

UPDATE 9/30/13 – Steve Urkel from “Family Matters”. Appearing at FX for his first ever convention signing!… Jaleel White! Born Nov. 27, 1976 in Pasadena, CA, Jaleel Ahmad White began working in front of the camera in commercials at the age of three, and quickly became a veteran child actor, booking appearances on everything from “The Jeffersons” (CBS, 1975-1985) to “Charlie & Co.” (CBS, 1985-86) to “Mr. Belvedere” (ABC, 1985-1990). In fact, he almost landed the role of “Rudy” on “The Cosby Show” (NBC, 1984-1992) until Bill Cosby decided to make the character a girl. White’s star-making role, however, came from a more unlikely place: a one-time guest spot on the sitcom “Family Matters” (ABC/CBS, 1989-1998) as the cartoonishly nerdy Steve Urkel. Most recently Jaleel has starred on Total Blackout and Dancing with the Stars.



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Media Mikes Heads to Radio in Kansas City and Florida

With the overwhelming success of the weekly “Behind the Mikes” Podcast, it’s only fitting that Media Mikes now represent themselves over the airwaves. This week listeners in Kansas City will get a chance to hear “Movie” Mike Smith as he discusses current and future trends in movie-going on the KMBZ Business Channel (1660 AM). He will appear on The Kansas City Power Lunch program, hosted by Krista Klaus, beginning at 11:45 a.m. (CST) this coming Wednesday, July 3rd.

On Saturday morning, July 6th, he’ll be heard on the inaugural broadcast of Dispatch Radio, which will be broadcast on the following stations in Central Florida: WTAN 1340 AM, WDCF 1350 AM and WZHR 1400 AM in the Clearwater, Lakeland, Zephyrhills and greater Tampa Bay area on the Tan Talk Radio Network. The program begins at 8:00 a.m. (EST). Smith will be a regular contributor to the program, offering reviews and commentary on new film releases.

Kimberly Lacy talks about HGTV’s “Curb Appeal”

Kimberly Lacy is the project manager on HGTV’s “Curb Appeal” formally known as “Curb Appeal: The Block”.. She is also attending this year’s Central Florida Home & Garden Show May 25-27th, 2012. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Kimberly about working on the show and also about the upcoming event.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your involvement with the “Central Florida Home & Garden Show”?
Kimberly Lacy: I’m coming to Central Florida Home and Garden Show as a presenter and Consumer. As a presenter I plan to inspire and motivate the “average” Do It Yourself’er with easy, budget conscious tips and ideas to get them well on their way to becoming the rock that needs to be turned over to one of the Jewel’s in their neighborhood.

MG: Tell us what you enjoy most about working on HGTV’s “Curb Appeal”?
The thing that I love the most about working on HGTV’s “Curb Appeal” is that it doesn’t seem like much of a job. Don’t get me wrong it is a job and it hard work but the instant gratification and appreciate from the Homeowner’s makes it all worth it. It get’s more rewarding everyday and every homeowner I meet. I can be myself and considering I was born to turn Frown’s upside Down, It’s my way of paying it forward and building community.

MG: Working as Project Manager on the show, what is your process when approaching a new job?
I approach a new job with an open mind and the “Can Do Attitude”, I don’t worry. All with knowing and keeping the budget for the project in mind. The budget can easily make or break the job. With that being said, when scouting neighborhoods for the perfect candidate to be a neighbor makeover, we only choose homes that we can give the homeowners and viewers a dramatic before and after with clean up, trimming and pruning, paint, and landscape and still staying within a $1,000 budget.

MG: Any fun stories from behind the scenes that did not make it to the show?
That’s funny! There are always so many fun stories from behind the scenes that don’t make the show. These stories include the crew that work with us behind the scenes. We were working in Oakland, it was a bright and sunny day and every one was in a good mood. We had empty Burlap sacks, which had pebbles in them, laying around and I (being the life of the party) had the bright idea to put on a potato sack race. We even had the human wheel barrel race going on. We created the lanes and finish lines for the races with bags of soil and mulch, pots and paint pails. It was a really good time and we filmed it on my flip cam.

MG: When can does the fourth season of “Curb Appeal” start and what can we expect?
The name of the show has changed from “Curb Appeal: The Block” to “Curb Appeal”. The shows time has also changed from 8:00pm to 5:30pm on Saturdays. So set your DVR’s, it may be hard for people to make it home at 5:30pm on Saturday. The show airs on March 31, 2012. The fifth season will roll in right after so no one will be without their favorite show, “Curb Appeal”. The fourth season is the last season we have Chip on the show and we are having a lot of fun, as per the usual and creating some spectacular makeovers. We are in the San Francisco Bay area, so there are several different types of architecture and John is able to create some serious never seen before designs.

Interview with Jesse Dayton

Jesse Dayton is a name still relatively new to the film industry. Jesse’s first on screen performance was in Rob Zombie’s “Halloween II” as the lead singer of Captain Clegg and the Night Creatures. Jesse however has been a staple in the music industry for quite some time playing with countless acts and releasing his own albums. Jesse recently spoke with Movie Mikes about his music career and how it led him to doing movies.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us how you first started working with Rob Zombie?
Jesse Dayton: I was going to a show one night and on my way there I received a call from Rob. Rob told me that he had heard one of my records and wanted to know if I would be interested in making a fake Banjo and Sullivan record for his film “Devils Rejects.” I didn’t fully understand what Rob was looking for until I got to Los Angeles. Lew Temple and I got together and wrote a bunch of songs. We played them for Rob one day in his production office and he fell out of his seat once he heard them. This was actually the first time I had met.

AL: Was this the first time you had met Lew Temple as well?
JD: I have actually known Lew for a long time. Lew used to come out to all of my shows when he was still a baseball scout for the Astros. We just got to be really good friends and we spent a lot of time together. Lew is the guy who passed my work onto Rob.

AL: How did your role as Captain Clegg in “Halloween II” come about?
JD: A little while after I finished the Banjo and Sullivan record I did some song for Rob’s “The Haunted World of El Super Beasto”. After that he contacted me about doing the album for Captain Clegg as well as being in the film. It really has just snowed balled from doing that Banjo and Sullivan record. After Halloween II was released I went out on the road with Captain Clegg opening forty shows for Rob and Alice Cooper which was just great!

AL: Were you a fan of the horror genre prior to working with Rob?
JD: Yeah I’m a fan. I am a huge film geek! I probably watch anywhere from six to ten movies a weeks. I have always been really into films. I was really proud of “Devils Rejects” when it came. I think Rob brought exploitation film back even before Tarantino or Rodriguez. The characters in that film are just great. Rob really puts a lot into not only the onscreen story of his characters but also the back stories as well.

AL: Has there been any talk about being in his new film “The Lords of Salem”?
JD: We have emailed back a fourth a few times but I don’t really presume that I have been officially asked to be a part of the film. We will have to wait and see. Rob likes to keep me in the loop.

AL: Can you tell us about “The Sinner” which you produced and have a roll in?
JD: We showed that film at the South by South West festival in Austin, Texas and were immediately contacted by some business people who asked us not to release the film. The idea is to make the film into a television show. We currently are in talks with some really big networks to put this out as a series. Aside from being a producer on the film I also play Reverend Roy who is a corrupt drug lord from New Orleans. The role really worked for me especially with my accent.

AL: What can you tell us about your upcoming film “Zombex”?
JD: We set up the production office last week and we are currently still getting all the cast nailed down. We plan to start shooting around May 3rd in New Orleans. I’m really excited about every aspect of this film. I wish I could tell you more about it however we are being very quiet till we have everything set to go.

AL: You just finished up a stage play correct?
JD: Yes I did. It was a play about Kinky Freidman. I had gotten a call from a play write in New York who had previously written a play about Patsy Klein. This play is actually the follow up to that entitled “Becoming Kinky”. I had heard about the casting for this play through some New York friends of mine and was able to get in touch with the right people. They actually came down to Texas so I could audition. After the audition they gave me the part on the spot. I had no idea how much work it was. The plan is to take the play to New York next which will be really great.

For more information on Jesse check out

Also be checking back for part 2 of our interview with Jesse when we check in with him from the set of “Zombex”

Interview with Alastair Fothergill

Alastair Fothergill is one of the co-directors of Disneynature’s latest film “African Cats”. Alastair also worked with Disneynature on their first film “Earth”. “Earth” was actually shot simultaneously with BBC’s “Planet Earth”, in which Alastair executive produced.  Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Alastair about working on “African Cats” and what it was like shooting in the Maasai Mara Nature Reserve.

Mike Gencarelli: How much planning went into “African Cats” before shooting started?
Alastair Fothergill: A lot of planning. We chose to film in the Maasai Mara Nature Reserve because we know it very well and have worked there for over then years. We know the lions and cheetahs very well and as individuals actually. One of the key decisions was to find out who our stars were going to be. We really wanted to make a really emotionally gauging story. We didn’t want to make a documentary. Choosing the stars was very important and also a difficult decision. It was relatively easy with the cheetah because we found a cheetah we knew who was a good mother and just had five tiny cubs. We knew all of those cubs would not survive, so that was an immediately easy decision. Choosing the right lion was probably harder. There are twenty or thirty prides in the Maasai Mara. We finally choose the pride we ended with because we knew Fang was on the way out, he was a single old guy who didn’t have any supporters. We reckoned that within the two or three years we had for filming something dramatic was going to happen. In the same pride we find Layla, who was the oldest lioness and already in the beginning of our filming she was limping and she had a perfectly aged six month old cub. We knew that their would be something happening there. Those where the big decisions.  Then we also had to do other logistical things like setting up the camera, camps and vehicles, but we do that all that time. The main challenge was choosing the stars before filming.

MG: Since the film is referred to as a “true life adventure”, did you find it difficult to tell a story with the wild life animals?
AF: We have been very specific in suggesting to Disney what subjects we were going for. I think that there are only a few animals stories that are strong enough for the cinema. A lot of things in our film are very hard to film and do not happen that often. Lions do very little most of the time to be quite honest. We wrote a classic movie script, a forty to fifty page script, on what we hoped would happen. We were constantly rewriting the script to make sure we were coming up with a really strong story line.

MG: What was it like shooting in Kenya at the Maasai Mara National Reserve?
AF: It is a tough place if you do not know what to do. We are very experienced in it. We had specially adapted vehicles that had jacks so we were able keep them up in storms, they had doors that were able to be taken off for the cameras. We also had special rain covers. There are a lot of things to do when working in that place. The main thing is patience. These guys were out dawn to dusk, dawn to dusk, dawn to dusk for two years.  The moment when Carly and his sons attack Fang was a half an hour in two years of filming. If you missed that half an hour we would have missed one of the main dramas in our movie. A lot of patience I would say was critical.

MG: How long did it take to complete shooting?
AF: It was just over two years of filming, but it was spread over three crews. We had one crew with the lions the whole time, We had one crew with the cheetahs the whole time and a third crew coming in and doing other work. So overall it could have been more like five years of filming.

MG: What was the most exciting moment during the shoot?
AF: I think the two attacks of the lions were very dramatic. Lions very rarely actually fight. They usually roar at each other and decide by the power of the roar who is the boss. Those moments are very special. Equally for me though, some of the tender moments are amazing. I love the moment when Layla handed over Mara, that amazed me. I love the moment when the cheetah cubs where in the rain. All of the cheetah drama amazed us. We knew that the cheetahs would have problems with the hyenas but we did not expect them to be attacked by the lions. Even more, we did not know when the cheetah cubs grew up that they would try and beat up the lions themselves [laughs]. That was truly foolish and did not last very long. The two male lions crossing the river and being almost eaten by a crocodile…that has never been filmed before. Even us who have spent years and years working there were delighted. One of the good things about having a movie budget is you have the time to really spend and wait.

MG: Where you every nervous of getting too close during the filming?
AF: To be honest with you, if we get into danger that means we disturbed the animals. You get out of the vehicle you get eaten by a lion, you know? [laughs] We had tricky moments with the weather and the vehicles got stuck. We had one occasion when an elephant came into our camp and turned over one of the vehicles. Our job though is to keep out of danger, if you are in danger you are not doing your job.

MG: How does this film compare to working on “Earth”?
AF: “Earth” was a very different movie. Not sure if you are aware or not but “Earth” came out of the TV series “Planet Earth”. I made “Planet Earth” and in parallel I was shooting the movie “Earth”. “African Cats” is different since there was no TV series. We were shooting just for the movie. We were going for a stronger storyline. “Earth” is a fantastic spectacle movie but it doesn’t have anything like the strength of storyline like “African Cats”.

MG: What made you get Samuel L. Jackson to narrate?
AF: That was suggested to us by Disney. We were very pleased with the choice. We knew he had a powerful voice and we knew he would do the baddies well. What we were most delighted with was how well he did the soft parts. This film is really about mothers. I think he really captured the soft moments and the emotional moments with cheetahs very well. He just has such a great voice. You know also, he really loved doing it. He has been to Africa and has seen the lions before. You only have so much time with a guy like Jackson. He turned up and was really fired up for this. I think he did a really great job.

MG: Tell us about your next film with Disneynature “Chimpanzee”?
AF: Chimps are really fantastic animals. They share 99% of our genes. If you look into the eyes of a chimpanzee [laughs] you cannot help but get emotionally engaged. It is a great story. We have been filming a little guy named Oscar. We started when he was one year old and he is nearly four now. There has been some real dramas in his life. I think “African Cats” is an action movie and “Chimpanzee” is a domestic comedy. It is really intimate and very funny.  I know Disney wanted to release a film every Earth day, but I think it is important that every time people go to one of these that is a completely different experience. I think personally chimps are more engaging than big cats but they don’t do as much. It is filmed in a jungle and is much more different world than the Savannah.

Interview with Steven R. Monroe

Steven R. Monroe is known best for recently directing the 2010 remake of “I Spit on Your Grave”. Steven has also directed a number of films for Syfy Channel i.e. “Ice Twisters” and “Mongolian Death Worth”. Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Steven to ask him a few questions about his latest work as well and his past films.

Mike Gencarelli: What was the most difficult task in directing “I Spit on Your Grave” remake?
Steven R. Monroe: During the production the most difficult task was making the sure the film was dark, disturbing, raw, upsetting and bleak as it should be for the fans of the original.  Then also trying to address possible new fans, trying to make sure both sides of the audience that would see this film would get what they wanted and then some.  Lastly also trying to be sure I was delivering the film the producers and distributors needed and wanted. Once the film was finished and people were seeing it, the most difficult thing was dealing with people that didn’t get the film at all and probably should never have seen it in the first place and then listening to them making judgments on me personally because they were offended. I don’t care if people take issue with what I have done as a filmmaker, I’ve been at it a long time and you get thick skin, but when people make personal attacks when they know nothing about me or who I am, it can be pretty aggravating and more difficult to just brush off.

MG: Did you feel any pressure to live up to the original?
SR: Yes, absolutely. There are very passionate fans out there of the original and it was my responsibility to do everything I could to be sure they got what they were hoping for or not hoping for. The original stirred up a lot of emotion and a lot of anger, it’s a handful, but a welcome one to try and deliver something that lives up to all that. It’s both a blessing and a curse.

MG: What was your process for casting the lead of Jennifer?
SR: I just wanted someone that was not a name first and foremost. And I wanted someone with a natural beauty, a bit of naivety, a bit of strength. I wanted certain resemblance’s to Camille Keaton in our new Jennifer. As an actress she needed to be fearless and to understand the magnitude of what we were doing and be able to handle what would come at her down the road. Sarah Butler had all of those. She was perfect no matter what anyone says about her, I know the right choice was made to cast her.

MG: Tell us about your film “Complacent”, which you wrote, produced and directed?
SR: “Complacent” is very close to me not only because it is the only film out of 15 that I have directed that I directed, wrote, and produced but also because there are many elements of that film that were inspired by both my life and my wife’s. The film is a study of my perspectives of different events of our lives some that happened together and many that happened to me before we met. A lot of it is very close to her and a lot is very close to me and I wanted to put it all in a dark, sad, funny at times somewhat satirical bag and shake it up together. Most people that have seen it have said to me that they saw part of themselves in the film within at least one of the characters. The cast was amazing and brought all these suburban white Americans to life big time for me. We did the film for literally no money and it was all passion that got it done. I am indebted to everyone that worked on that project.

MG: You have worked with Cerina Vincent on three films now, how did this relationship start?
SR: Cerina is now a very dear friend. My wife and I love her very much. We first met about seven years ago when I was directing a horror film for Stephen J. Cannell and we were trying to cast the lead. He came in the office and said, how about Cerina Vincent from “Cabin Fever”… Without thinking I said “yes”. We hit it off on that shoot, became friends and then she did a Syfy film for me “Devil On The Mountain” (which Syfy changed the title to “Sasquatch Mountain”) then we did “Complacent together”. She is a very underestimated actor, drama or comedy, horror or action or thriller she can do it all.

MG: You have worked with Syfy Channel on quite a few films now i.e. “Ice Twisters” and “Mongolian Death Worth”, tell us about working on those films?
SR: The TV movie world is very different than feature films. For the most part people do not understand that in television directors do not have a whole lot of say in a whole lot of things. Even though I am seriously poked fun at all over the internet for doing TV movies and then “I Spit On Your Grave”, I don’t care because I am actually very fortunate to be able to jump formats like that and shooting a Syfy movie is like being eight years old again and making my sci fi and action films with my super 8 camera. You have creatures, stunts, guns, blood… Come on, it’s a blast. Funny thing with internet critique is that if the people that were goofing on me for the TV movies I did before “I Spit” actually did a moment of research they would see that I have also done six other feature films.