Logan Sekulow is the the film director behind the indie film, As Dreamers Do: The Amazing Life of Walt Disney, which we’ve mentioned on the site before. I was fortunate enough to interview him and I’ve transcribed the interview below. Enjoy!
Mark: First of all, I want to thank you, Mr. Sekulow for agreeing to be interviewed for our site, the Rotoscopers. You mentioned that you are a fan of the site. Just curious as to how you discovered us?
Logan Sekulow: I’m a hardcore animation fan – I’m not sure of the specifics, but Rotoscopers has been somewhere I’ve turned to. You all did an article that mentioned us as well, and it was an honor then.
Mark: What inspired you to become a film director?
Logan Sekulow: This is an often debated discussion. I went to film school at the age of 14, the youngest in the school (Full Sail University) history. A few years ago when I was probably trying to be cool and indie I’d say Kevin Smith and George Lucas… and while those are both HUGE influences on my life, I look back and think of a 13-year-old me and he would probably say Dawson’s Creek. I bet there are more filmmakers out there because of Dawson Leery’s pursuit of filmmaking.
Mark: Your most recent film is As Dreamers Do: The Amazing Life of Walt Disney. I recently saw this movie and commend you for making it as it’s great to see Walt Disney’s life, work, and legacy being portrayed on screen. For those who haven’t seen the film, can you briefly describe what this movie’s about?
Logan Sekulow: The movie is the story of Walt Disney before Hollywood. Other than hardcore fans, it is a largely unexplored and unknown part of the story. The official Walt documentary covers our film in about 15 minutes – and it is such a great story.
Mark: What inspired you to make this movie? Are you a Disney fan?
Logan Sekulow: Not only am I a hardcore animation fan, but I’m also a big Disney fan. I was married at Walt Disney World, listen to tons of Disney podcasts…I read a Disney biography when I was a kid and it changed the outlook of my career.
Mark: What is your personal favorite Disney film?
Logan Sekulow: That is really hard for me. I have friends that currently work at Disney, Pixar or did in the 90s – so it is hard for me to pick just one. I love Big Hero 6 and Frozen for modern films, Up & Toy Story 3 are probably in my top 10 favorite movies period. But I do often though go back to Fantasia. Just the story behind making it, the somewhat failure of it, and how it has lasted as a beautiful art piece. I love Fantasia – I have a few original production art that hang on my walls from the dancing hippos scene.
Mark: As Dreamers Do focuses only on Walt Disney’s early life, from his childhood till his Laugh-O-Gram era. Why focus only on this era of Walt Disney’s life?
Logan Sekulow: I loved the idea of showcasing the failures and how they led to his ultimate stardom. So many people think of him as this overnight success – but he was a kid that really overcame so many obstacles…from where he was raised to going bankrupt, it’s amazing that his dream and passion kept his career alive. I think it’s the Walt story that we can all relate to and connect with. This isn’t a Hollywood mogul – it’s a Midwestern kid with little education and an idea.
Mark: Did the Walt Disney company and/or the Disney family provide any help to you in making this film?
Logan Sekulow: Not directly – people from the Walt Disney Family Museum have seen it, but were not able to endorse the project. They overall seemed to really enjoy it – as far as the company… I have great friends within the Walt Disney Company and though they weren’t involved in the making, many showed up for the premiere and were very supportive. Disney Legend Alice Davis even showed up – which was pretty surreal.
Mark: An aspect of the film that I’ve noticed is that it’s quite wholesome. It focuses a lot on good behavior, morals, and the like. Christianity even plays an important part in the film. Did your faith influence the inclusion of this aspect into the film?
Logan Sekulow: Truthfully I wanted to share that Walt’s faith was important to him – especially at this point in his life. He was named after a Pastor – Church, Christianity, Patriotism… these were things that were important to him. I am a Christian and I was happy to share it – however, it wasn’t the reason I shared it. Much like this portion of his life, Walt’s faith is underplayed in general and rarely spoken of. As for the good behavior, morals etc…Though the story is accurate, I also wanted to share a story that was motivating to kids and families. We didn’t sugar coat it though – death of family, the lack of support from his family, sickness and his smoking that ultimately led to his cause of death.
Mark: A feat that I personally feel is a nigh impossible one to do is to perfectly cast the role of Walt Disney. Tom Hanks played him in Saving Mr. Banks and Roger Allam played him in a brief scene in the TV film, RKO 281. And now, Olan Rogers plays him in this film. Can you tell us a bit of what you were looking for when casting Walt Disney? How did Olan Rogers got the part? Was he the first choice, etc?
Logan Sekulow: Casting Walt was very important to me – we held countless auditions, but when Olan sent in his tape I knew we had to have him. He was not only the most impressive actor we had, from certain angles resembled Walt – more importantly he embodies a similar emotion and is at a similar point in his career. He really felt the role and even so much so we had to back him off occasionally. We announced the film before it was cast – someone tweeted us that we should check out Olan. I didn’t know of his work and after seeing some clips I knew he talent – BUT after that audition tape it was a no brainer. I can’t imagine anyone else in the role.
Mark: For our readers who’d like to see this film, how can they see it? Is it in theaters? On DVD?
Logan Sekulow: As Dreamers Do had theatrical screening in 2014 and now is available through various outlets. You can watch a stream or download directly off of our website at waltmovie.com, order a DVD on Amazon and pretty much every place that sells DVDs online. Subscribers to Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime can get the film right now as part of their subscription.
Mark: What are you working on at the moment and/or what future projects do you have planned?
Logan Sekulow: I have multiple films that I’m currently working on – a few documentaries as well. Our next narrative currently is a film called Family Movie Night. It is about a family holding on to the last of the traditions as the kids grow up – in last ditch effort to keep them alive they decide to make their own movie. It’s a funny script and has a really great heart.
We have a few other projects that are in pre-production as well – one that we are excited about, and may excite the Rotoscopers audience is Robin Peter which teams up the worlds of Robin Hood and Peter Pan. I’ll leave it at that, but it’s a really great concept and we hope to have it done in a few years. Taking on a big action adventure film is a little bit different than As Dreamers Do.
Mark: Any plans to go into the animation industry?
Logan Sekulow: It is my dream to pursue animation. Technology has shrunk the cost of making a movie, but it hasn’t really yet for animation. If there are some aspiring animators out there that want to work and are willing to be creative… I’m around and please contact me. I actually hope our next production has some animated elements. I love traditional 2D animation as well – but I think that will be a stretch.
Mark: Finally, I’d like to thank you once more for appearing on our site. If any of our readers would like to contact you, how can they do so? Is there any personal site, blog, Twitter account, Facebook page, or the like that you’d like to plug before we close off?
Logan Sekulow: Thank you so much, it truly is an honor and I hope to speak with you again. As for contact – you can find out more information on the film at Facebook.com/waltmovie and twitter.com/waltmovie – I run both of those accounts and it is an easy way to get in touch with me. Personally I’m at twitter.com/logansekulow and you can find me on Facebook.