Searching for Isabelle | Searching for Q+A: Derek McPhatter
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Searching for Q+A: Derek McPhatter

Searching for Q+A: Derek McPhatter


Derek Lee McPhatter

Below is an interview with Searching for Isabelle producer Derek McPhatter

Q: How did you get involved with Searching for Isabelle?

A: I met Stephanie via my partner, Aymar Jean Christian of OpenTV. They connected a few years ago as they run in overlapping creative circles – diverse filmmakers and whatnot, you know.   I relocated to Chicago in 2014 after spending some time in LA on a screenwriting fellowship. When Stephanie shared the script with me, I got very excited.  Searching for Isabelle reflects Stephanie’s fresh, unique take on the thriller genre. On top of that, there are elements of magical realism and social commentary that really make this film something special. So we met and talked and…  a few conversations later, I’m on board!

Q: How does Searching for Isabelle fit into your own creative and professional goals?

A: I consider Stephanie a good friend and a very talented peer.  I’m relatively new to Chicago, and this project gives me an opportunity to contribute to the Chicago-based film community and build relationships. So when it’s time to launch a “Derek project” here, I won’t be starting at zero. As I’ve forged my own path as a writer/producer, I’ve made “supporting my peers” a core tenet of my creative philosophy. It’s kind of like my reverse “crabs in a barrel” approach. During my time in Los Angeles and NYC, I found that offering my time and talent to support other projects often leads to opportunities for my own work as well.  So over the long term, I’m aiming for the same sort of collective success by helping out on projects like Searching for Isabelle. However, beyond the personal reasons, Searching for Isabelle is the kind of thriller film I actually enjoy. It’s something I believe should be produced and distributed at the highest standards. So there’s a fanboy producer motivation here too.  When people get a chance to see what Stephanie has imagined, I’m sure they will be just as excited as I am!

Q: Tell us about some of your other projects.

A: Oh geez. I always have a few things going on.  At the current moment, my high priority projects are This App is Not the Business, a cyberpunk / corporate America stage play I’m writing, a sci-fi dark comedy I’m trying to figure out how to produce on an indie budget.  Check out my newsletter here.

Q: What are you watching these days? (Film, TV, Online?)

A: I’m enjoying some mainstream shows on ABC and Fox, but I prefer to give INDIES shout out time!  I’m late to the party, but I  just watched Tina Mabry’s Mississippi Damned and it had me floored. Also really enjoyed Tangerine, directed by Sean Baker. That film was a hoot!  And I’m binge-ing Season Two of Star Trek Deep Space Nine. Oops… that’s not an indie.

Q: Coffee or Tea?  

A: Tea, Earl Gray, Hot. Then Coffee. Lots of Coffee.  But Tea, Earl Gray Hot first.

Q: What are some of your favorite thriller/fantasy films?

A: Hmm. Thriller/Fantasy — those tend to be dark and slick flicks with a sinister edge.  Does The Dark Crystal count as thriller fantasy…? Probably not enough “thriller” right?  OK, I liked that DARK CITY a whole bunch a bit back, you know that one? With a crazed Kiefer Sutherland and an oh-so-sad Jennifer Connelly, directed by Alex Proyas…. yeah DARK CITY.  Came out around the same time as The Matrix, and suffered for it… but when the mysteries are revealed in DARK CITY, OMG….!!!


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