Hosted by Symone Jackson
“Rachel’s Pitch” director Julia Fulmer is not your average teenager. At 16 years-old, Julia had spent more time wheeling down hospital hallways than high school ones. As a young girl she enjoyed making home movies with her brothers. At 13, she was diagnosed with T-Cell ALL. Her cancer journey, of course, brought many changes to her life. One of these was turning her love of movies into more than a fun hobby. Julia studied films more intensely and began to develop her own “voice” as a visual storyteller.
Soon, she was sharing her cancer journey with the world through video projects created for her own Youtube channel. Always an optimist and with a spirited sense of humor, Julia’s videos often included satire and joy, even when the challenges she faced during treatment were steep.
When Make-A-Wish South Carolina began working with her family to grant her “wish,” it quickly became clear that just any typical Hollywood wish wouldn’t do.
Of course, she could visit a Hollywood set, but that wish didn’t seem quite right. Thanks to the internet, Julia’s mother, Judy Fulmer, stumbled upon Spotlight On Hope Film Camp, a free film program for pediatric cancer patients and their siblings run by Think Ten Media Group. She reached out to the company and connected with Think Ten Co-Founder and Film Producer, Jennifer Fischer. As the two spoke, it was clear what Julia’s true wish was: she wanted to write and direct her own professional film.
So, that’s exactly what she did. With support from Make-A-Wish South Carolina and mentorship from Think Ten Media Group, including Award-Winning Writer/Director Ramon Hamilton, a once-in-a-lifetime filmmaking experience began!
While the film itself is a comedy, the filmmaking process was full of real life drama as Julia contracted pneumonia just two days before the original film shoot was scheduled. Travel from South Carolina to L.A. was too dangerous. Despite being recently declared cancer-free (Julia is currently in remission), many health challenges remained and Julia’s immune system was highly compromised because of her previous cancer treatments.
It was heartbreaking for all involved to delay the film shoot in L.A., especially for Julia and her parents. However, the Think Ten Media Group team decided to try and use the extra time to make the film even better. They put out a new casting notice. The result was casting 2X Grammy Nominee and YouTuber Jamie Grace (“The Jamie Grace Show”) to play the lead character in the film, Rachel Jensen.
Fischer and Hamilton did not realize at the time that Jamie was at the top of Julia’s wish list of actors for the project. It seemed that the unfortunate circumstances that led the film shoot to be rescheduled worked to the filmmaker’s advantage. Starring opposite Jamie Grace as Mr. McKnight, the big-time Hollywood producer who has the power, Rachel believes, to make all of her dreams come true, is Andrew Bowen. A steady working actor since his debut on MAD TV (his impressions of Keanu Reeves and Nic Cage are legendary), Bowen’s enthusiastic work ethic and ability to transition between comedy and drama has produced a rich filmography. Recently, Bowen wrote, directed, produced, edited and starred in the comedic sci-fi short film, The 716TH, which world premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival this year to critical acclaim.
Nearly one year after Judy’s initial phone call with Fischer, Julia landed at LAX in June of 2017 to shoot Rachel’s Pitch and make her directorial debut. Julia has been directly involved in every aspect of the filmmaking process, beginning with development of the story and writing her own screenplay, all the way through post-production, consulting directly with the film’s editor, colorist and sound designer to make sure her vision came through in the final cut. Post-production for the project was supported by Women in Film & Television Florida and supporters of Julia’s Seed&Spark post-production crowdfunding campaign.
JULIE FULMER WITH JAMIE GRACE