MEET THE FILMMAKER: Jimmy Lee Combs.
Local filmmaker and family man Jimmy Lee Combs dips his french fries in mustard, idolizes Sylvester Stallone, and is one of only about 37 men in the U.S. who freely admit to reading (and liking) the books of Nicholas Sparks. But hey, we don’t judge. We just see Jimmy as an all-around good guy and emerging filmmaker with a bright future.
Jimmy’s movie Beautiful Scar plays at the December 20th Emerging Filmmakers Project (EFP) at Denver’s historic Bug Theatre. We’re not really sure how this movies fits in with our Holiday-themed lineup of movies, but we’re sure someone will make the connection. EFP Host Patrick Sheridan had a chance to chat with Jimmy.
P.S.: Why did you become a filmmaker and not novelist?
J.L.C.: I have always been a huge movie buff and storyteller ever since I was a little kid. The magic of cinema captured my active imagination at a very young age and has stayed with me my whole life. I’m so thankful to my parents for allowing me to watch a wide spectrum of movies growing up, even R rated ones. It truly gave me a vast knowledge of films and helped pave the way for my filmmaking career. I love the arts and filmmaking has been a very liberating way for me to share my art with the world.
A huge influence in my life has always been the Rocky movies starring Sylvester Stallone. I can’t tell you enough how many times these movies have pulled me up and made me believe in myself. These movies have given me the courage to go out their and go for it! I highly recommend this amazing saga to everyone, especially filmmakers. Rocky is the symbol for the underdogs of the world and proves if you got the heart and fire and go for your dreams, no matter what, you will always be a winner.
I had the amazing honor of meeting Mr. Stallone (my hero Rocky) back in December of 2006 when I went to an advanced screening of Rocky Balboa with my Dad. Let me tell you, it really changed my life for the better. I was filled with inspiration after talking with Stallone and seeing the movie. It definitely gave me the confidence to get out there and make films.
The older you get, the more of life’s hard knocks you encounter. I have had a lot of bad relationships in my time that have hurt me. Not only has movies and filmmaking helped me coupe with that hurt but also gave me the opportunity to make films that other people in similar situations can relate to. Those films I could identify with such as Rocky in my tough times, really helped me, it felt good to know I could relate to a character or a movie’s story. That has always been another huge reason for me becoming a filmmaker to let my audience know that you are not alone. Hopefully it gives them something they can relate to and take away from some of my films.
P.S.: What are we going to see at the EFP? What was the inspiration behind it?
J.L.C.: We are going to see Beautiful Scar, a film I made for the 48 Hour Film Project. When I drew the Romance genre at the 48 Hour kick off, I was excited! I have always been a sapp for romance and a big fan of books by Nicholas Sparks (yes I admit it). I have dated women over the years that would tell me how they were in an abusive relationship that they stayed in longer than they should have. These stories and Nicholas Sparks was a huge inspiration for Beautiful Scar. I wanted to convey through the main female character, Theresa, that you should never have to stick around in an abusive relationship, that true love does exist and it’s out there waiting. You just can’t settle for anything less than what you deserve.
It’s interesting to note that originally I was going to call the film Lover’s Bond but as I was brain storming with my team, I came up with the idea to give Theresa (played by Beverly Sartain) a scar on her face from her abusive boyfriend in the story. My SFX guy, Stefan Knowles, chimed in by sharing a story about his friend’s fiance who actually has scars on her face. He said his friend complemented his fiance by telling her that they are “beautiful scars.” So that was a huge inspiration for the title that fit extremely well with one of the messages of the film.
P.S.: What else are you working on?
J.L.C.: I’m working on my first horror film called The Candy Corn Killer. And more recently a film of mine in pre-production that involves a woman named Hannah who is suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder. She is on trial for murdering her father who abused her as a child. However, Hannah is adamant that she is innocent while her alternate personality is trying to convince her that she did indeed kill her father.
P.S.: Tell us one weird thing about you and/or your movies?
J.L.C.: Did I mention that I really enjoy dipping my french fries in mustard? A lot of people have told me that’s weird.
P.S.: It is. Does Rocky know about this?
J.L.C.: No. And please don’t tell him.
P.S.: What about your movies? Anything unusual?
J.L.C.: For my movies. My red Mustang convertible (I named her Eliza) has made its way into almost everyone of my films. This was intentional on my end as a nod to one of my favorite directors Sam Raimi who has included his classic ’73 Oldsmobile Delta 88 in almost every one of his films. Sadly, I was in a minor accident and my Mustang had to be totaled. No more film appearances for Eliza.
P.S.: Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?
J.L.C.: The best place to find out more about me and my films is www.heartandfireproductions.webs.com Also, you can catch me on facebook http://www.facebook.com/jimmy.lee.792197
P.S.: Is there anything you’d like to say about The Emerging Filmmakers Project?
J.L.C.: Thanks to the networking power of Facebook I have recently found out about The Emerging Filmmakers Project. Better late than never as they say. It is a wonderful organization that has my full support as a filmmaker/actor/screenwriter/producer. Being able to network with peers who all share a love for film and others involved in the indie filmmaking scene in Colorado is invaluable! Not to mention it’s a great outlet for local filmmakers to showcase their hard work whether it be a trailer or a film. The interaction between audience and filmmaker at the end of each film is one of many highlights at the EFP.
P.S.: Thanks for sharing, Jimmy. See you down a the EFP on the 20th!