SolPix Interviews
   An Interview with Don Thompson
   by Mike Neff

Don Thompson has seen many twists and turns on his path as a filmmaker, playwright and entrepreneur. His interest in filmmaking goes back to his high school days, when he first acted in his brother's 8mm productions and then subsequently produced and wrote, in junior college, a 16mm short film.

Eventually Don applied to and was accepted into UCLA's film school. There he wrote, directed and acted in his first short film and developed a full length screenplay which went on to be a finalist in the Samuel Goldwyn screenwriting awards. Don was later mentored by UCLA screenwriting chair Richard Walter.

Always a theater lover and playwright, Thompson acted in several theater productions when he was younger (including playing the lead role in a production of Simon Grey's BUTLEY), and wrote plays and short novels until his first produced play, L.A. BOOK OF THE DEAD, premiered with the Ensemble Studio Theater (Los Angeles) in the early 80's. Lauded by several critics, including Dan Sullivan of the LA Times, BOOK OF THE DEAD went on to several subsequent productions at community and regional theaters. The play continued to be performed as a reader's theater piece throughout the 80's and 90's. Thompson also wrote a stage adaptation of Frank Herbert's classic sci-fi novel DUNE MESSIAH which was performed in Los Angeles in the mid-80's.

In 1995 Don's play TIBET DOES NOT EXIST premiered off-off Broadway, and then subsequently off-Broadway in 1997. The off-Broadway production received numerous endorsements and support, including 3 Nobel Laureates and celebrities such as Richard Gere and Patrick Stewart. In attendance at the opening were such notables as Philip Glass, Ellyn Burstyn, Robert Thurman, and Bianca Jagger. Critics from The New York Times, Villager, CurtainUp and others responded well to TIBET and it was subsequently published in paperback in 1998 and made available through Barnes and Nobel and

In the late 90's Don turned his attention to film, and produced/directed and wrote CLOUDS, based on a screenplay he first developed while at UCLA. CLOUDS went on to receive awards and special recognition at 6 film festivals, including Best New Director at the Williamsburg Brooklyn Film Festival and Juror's First Choice (narrative category) at the 33rd International Brooklyn Arts Council film festival. The film also won Best B&W Feature at the New York International Independent Film Festival and 2nd place at the ALWAYSi 1st online film festival. The film garnered a limited theatrical deal through IN Pictures and after its world theatrical premiere at New York's Walter Reade theater at the Lincoln Center, was released in theaters in 2000. CLOUDS is now available on video and DVD.

The following is an interview Thompson conducted with Mike Neff of WebDelSol, where he talks about his career and plans for the future.
-- Mike Neff [more]




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