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Meet Jonothon Mitchell of Problem Attic Productions in Buckhead

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jonothon Mitchell.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Jonothon. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
You know those people who grow up in towns so small they have to lie and say they’re from a bigger town that’s actually like thirty minutes away from their hometown simply for the sake of conversation? Well, I’m one of those people. I’m from a small town outside of Natchitoches, LA and that’s me presenting that information like Natchitoches is a big place. It’s not.

They’re only known for their meat pies and being the filming location of “Steel Magnolias.” However, I like to think that the early influence of Dolly Parton and film production set me on the path I’m on today. I always knew I wanted to make movies. I started writing scripts as an overweight, flamboyantly gay child and continued to do so until I eventually became an overweight, flamboyantly gay adult. No matter my age I was always hyper-aware of the clear lack of accurate representation of the LGBTQ community.

So after spending all of last year making an absurd comedic web series and several wacky short films I resolved to spend this year creating more original content with weight and purpose. I really want to tell stories that showcase positive representation of the LGBTQ community that I was sorely missing as a child. That’s how I developed my latest project: a feature-film titled “Pageant Material.”

As I began to consider different ideas I had I was drawn into telling the story of a teenage drag queen growing up in rural Alabama. It’s a story you don’t hear. Across mainstream and independent media there are very few stories of being gay in the South, let alone stories about being a drag queen in the South. So I took that idea and reworked it as an adaptation of Cinderella and the story for “Pageant Material” was truly born.

It was then I was able to take inspiration from so many different aspects of my own life. It was a little bit of small-town life, a little bit of my own nostalgia for my childhood, and a lot of my obsession with RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I’m a firm believer your hard work isn’t fully paying off unless your wheels occasionally need to be greased. Things will never be smooth, and honestly, they shouldn’t be. In my personal life, I faced opposition every day simply for being who I was in a place that wasn’t always accepting of it. In my professional life, it wasn’t uncommon to hear the word no from the people who think these stories of diversity don’t need to be told.

Of course, I’ve also faced situations where I haven’t had the money to make something, or an act of God prevented us from getting the shot exactly the way we wanted, but I find the biggest struggle has simply been gaining support when it isn’t always available. Opposition takes many forms and as artists, we all struggle with it.

However, we are not defined by our challenges, but rather by how we respond to them.

Problem Attic Productions – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Problem Attic is compromised of a small team of producers who specialize in the creation of original comedic shorts, web series, and feature films. Additionally, we also offer private consultation and workshops through Drama, Inc. to help individuals and other production start-ups develop their own original content.

We’re very proud of the fact that in a very short time we were able to accomplish so much. In just the past two years we have produced seven short films, eight episodes of a web series, and a feature film. Furthermore, we believe that through our focus on comedic content we’ve been able to establish ourselves as one of the few groups in Atlanta who has been able to produce good comedic work.

We are a group that is committed to creating high-quality content and I think the reputation we’ve been able to build for ourselves directly reflects that.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
The shoot for our feature film “Pageant Material” lasted ten days and on the final day when I announced that we wrapped the film I openly wept. I was exhausted both physically and mentally, but I was surrounded by a cast and crew of people who cared so much about the story and the work we were doing. I have never been more proud than I was in that moment.

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