Pickings - Interview with filmmaker Usher Morgan
Usher Morgan is an award-winning filmmaker whose work include "Good Kids", "Prego", "Fine Dining", "Trapped Inside" and the upcoming feature film, "Pickings". Morgan's first narrative film was a comedy short film entitled Prego, which was written with the help of Seinfeld writer Andy Cowan. It won the Best Comedy Short Award at the 2015 Manhattan Film Festival, Best Comedy Short Award at the 2015 Chain NYC Film Festival, 2 awards from the 2015 Indie Fest Film Festival, and the Best Comedy award at the 2015 Trinity International Film Festival. Prego amassed a cult following online, reaching over 800,000 views on YouTube since its release in December of 2015. Morgan's first feature film, Pickings was filmed in New York City in 2016 and will be released to select theaters via AMC Independent and Dark Passage Films on March 2nd, 2018.
What is Pickings about?
Pickings follows the story of Jo Lee Haywood - a single mother and neighborhood bar owner who spent years trying to escape her violent past. But when a local mobster and his gang of thugs come knocking on her door, Jo is forced to embrace her inner demons and confront her deadly history in order to protect her family and property. It was shot under a $350,000 budget in the New York City area and features Elyse Price, Joel Bernard, Katie Vincent (who also served as the film's associate producer and music supervisor), Joe Trombino, Emil Ferzola, Yaron Urbas, Michael Gentile, Christopher Liam Gentry, and Samantha Zaino, among others.
How long did you take to film it?
The film was shot for a total of 35 days, but over the course of a year. We started filming in March of 2016 and wrapped in January of 2017. Lots of pickups and breaks in between.
What kind of challenges did you face during the film production of 'Pickings'?
I'd say the biggest challenge was the film's scale relative to its budget. Pickings is an ambitious film, and our budget was almost non-existent, so setting out on a task to make a movie of this size and scope for $350,000 was an impossible task to begin with. A lot of people doubted that we'll ever finish it, and I'm very proud of myself and my team for pulling it off on the budget that we did.
This movie features a strong female lead character, was that inspired by the latest Wonder Woman craze?
Not really, this film was in production before Wonder Woman was ever announced. One thing to keep in mind is that strong female lead characters have been around for as long as cinema itself. In our movie, Jo (played by Elyse Price) isn't just a strong female lead, she's complicated, she's dangerous and she's mysterious.
Where and when can people watch this film?
Pickings will be released to theaters in the United States on March 2nd, 2018. We'll have a limited theatrical release, and if all goes well, we can hopefully be aiming for a wider release. You can find our more about the film by visiting www.PickingsFilm.com or follow the film on Facebook @ www.Facebook.com/PickingsFilm