Design By Humans
Published On: Fri, Apr 18th, 2014

We talk with For Spacious Sky Director Coy Middlebrook

We talk with For Spacious Sky Director Coy MiddlebrookFOR SPACIOUS SKY, directed by COY MIDDLEBROOK, takes place on Election Day of president OBAMA’s first term. The story chronicles the journey of 3 brothers, an artist, an ex-con white supremicist and an addict on their way to a recovery center. It is a potent telling and a resonant deliverance. Middlebrook’s story imparts a message of brotherhood and humanity into his cinema.

How did you get the idea for For Spacious Sky?

I had been looking for something worthy of my first film. I’ve dreamt of making films my whole life but I’m not interested in making a film just to make a film. Then I shared an incredible day with both my brothers on Super Tuesday 2007. We were driving one of us to rehab that day and another of us was voting for the very first time after spending many years incarcerated. It was a big day for us and also a big day for America. I thought to myself, if Obama wins the primary today and if he wins the general election, maybe I can lens around this very personal day for the three of us and while doing so, speak to what many of us in America were feeling at that time. And the aim was also to not only capture the memory of that day but to speak to today and our continued divide within our government. We sing “Crown thy good with brotherhood” in our beloved national hymn America The Beautiful but then find every chance to marginalize each other. It frustrates me to no end that our government is at such a stand still. I hope For Spacious Sky reminds us how it is we come together.

Tell me about your theater background?

I’ve been a part of telling stories on the stage since I was 11 yrs old. First as a dancer, then actor, then choreographer and then a director. I’ve been an active participant in community theatre growing up, co-founded a theater company in my early 20s, performed on Broadway in a musical, associate directed 5 Broadway musicals and directed at regional theaters all over the country and also internationally. Some personal career highlights are having directed at The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and co-creating and directing SUMMER OF LOVE for the open air theater festival, Freilichtspiele, in southern Germany and being invited as a life time member of The Actors Studio.

How did you decide on casting?

There were three factors leading my decisions surrounding casting the actors to play the three brothers in For Spacious Sky. It was important for me to have actors who I’ve known for many years, who I’ve worked with on stage, and who know about my personal journey with my brothers. The leading actor, Andres Faucher (Eli), and Gabe Fazio (Kevin) I’ve known since 1997 when we all were in grad school together at The Actors Studio Drama School. Jonah Blechman (Clay) I’ve known for almost 20 years and is my writing partner for my first feature film BALLROOM.

Are you hoping to make the film a feature off the short?

I am more interested in making a feature film, or a television series, on the generation of brothers before. The father of these 3 sons, and his brothers. However, people who’ve seen the film do express that they want to know more about them and what happens to them. I simply set out to lens around these brothers on one particular day and do this with as much authenticity as possible with my fellow filmmakers telling the story. The fact that there is interest to have more days with these characters is unexpected for me and for sure a welcome idea.

What is next for you?

I’m developing my first feature film, BALLROOM, with Shakrah Films and producer Rana Joy Glickman.

Who are the directors and actors that influenced you most in the theater?

There are so many because any actor who is in the skin of their character at any given performance influences me. Director Simon McBurney and his company Théâtre de Complicité always inspire me with their stage work and remind me why I love to go to the theater. They have a way of celebrating theater and can go from Naturalism to The Abstract to Direct Address and circle back to Realism all in the very same scene. Its such an exciting hybrid of all things theatrical when telling a story.

You just directed a play in LA. What is the difference working there vs NYC?

Each production asks its own particular questions for the creative team, talent and crew, but in terms of the geography, aside from driving to and from work in LA and not in NY, there was no difference. It was still really long days, living in the rehearsal room and then the theater during tech and working through the breaks and meal breaks. That’s just how it goes when directing theater. It’s a marathon to opening night.

4/18/14 5:30 PM @ AMC VILLAGE (AV7)
4/22/14 5:30 PM @ BOW TIE CINEMAS (BTC9)
4/24/14 12:00 PM @AMC VILLAGE (AV7)
4/27/14 7:30 PM @ TRIBECA CINEMAS (TC)

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We talk with For Spacious Sky Director Coy Middlebrook