A Conversation with Director Edmund Milligan Marcus
March 26, 2020
“Lucky Milo” is the story of former US Marine Milo Imrie ( pictured below) and his post-active duty struggles with PTSD and mental health issues. The film’s writer/director, Edmund Milligan Marcus, grew up with Milo and has directed several prize-winning shorts. He is currently in post-production on two feature films. As a freelance documentarian and videographer he has worked for numerous arts organizations and theater companies. Edmund is directing and editing “Lucky Milo,” working with his co-producers Donald Marcus (Edmund’s father) and Lisa Milligan.
We recently chatted with Edmund about how the film is coming together.
Please bring us up to speed on the production status of your film “Lucky Milo”.
Having secured 80+ hours of interview and archival footage around the country last November, we (my filmmaker parents Donald Marcus, Lisa Milligan and I) sorted through it over the holidays and are currently editing the feature length movie with a planned completion date of August 2020 and festival run in 2021.
How did you become aware of Milo’s story and what inspired you to want to share it with others?
Milo and I were childhood friends at camp for more than 5 summers and kept close afterwards while he joined the Marines and then returned to civilian society. His untimely death in 2018 prompted conversations with his family which organically led to this project, given that I’m a filmmaker and that Milo left us such an extraordinary trove of diaries and other revelatory material which illustrate his profound intellect, side-splitting sense of humor and inspiring life story. His epic, tragic, hilarious journey can bring healing and comfort to those suffering from conditions like his, and illumination to those in the dark about what’s going on in this country (which included me before this project began).
What have you found to be the challenging aspect of making this film?
Interviewing Marines and the family of Veterans has been, at times, harrowing. The sheer magnitude of the suffering that results from war can knock you out, and Milo’s experiences were as extreme as they come. Whatever one’s views on the wars in the Middle East or war in general, these men and women have faced unthinkable adversity and demonstrated a humbling, inspiring degree of heroism and selflessness of which I was not previously aware. In that way, the more difficult aspects of this project are also some of its most rewarding.
And what has been the most rewarding so far?
Firstly, getting to meet Milo’s network and learning so much about this incredible person who is now gone from the earth. Then, as a director/editor, it’s been deeply satisfying to put the puzzle together and with Milo’s keen interest in cinema, music, world culture, history and politics, the movie has taken on a kaleidoscopic quality which gets to the heart of who Milo is, how our society works, and why the problems of war are connected to our collective narratives and the ways we question them (or not). Learning and “speaking” the complex filmmaking language being called for in this project (interviews/stock footage/movie clips/diaries/news articles etc) is an exciting and fulfilling artistic conundrum for all involved in its construction.
How did you become aware of FC and its services?
FC was brought to my attention by one of our producers on “Lucky Milo.” We are MA-based filmmakers and so resources like FC and the wonderful people who work there must, in my view, be appreciated and supported by all who can.