Interview with Film Director Andrew Mossop
Featuring the New Film – The Blob Blob Fish: A Journey Through Obesity
By Krista Martinelli
AW: Tell us about your most recent project, as Film Director for The Blob Blob Fish.
AM: America is the most obese country in the world. It’s getting worse every year. My hopes are that this documentary will give people a wakeup call and get their bodies healthier. Covid came in and took away many loved ones who had underlying health issues, many of those people were obese. This is truly a health epidemic.
AW: How did you get involved in the film project?
AM: Tony Nelson, President at Premier Family Health and Wellness, used to be my neighbor in Wellington, and I bumped into him in the elevator. Dr. Apicella and Dr. Bago wanted to promote their brand. My wife and our team did an initial project with Dr. A and B which was approximately a 15-minute educational spot about toxins and the benefits of going to their Wellness Center.
I’m 55 years old, and unfortunately, there are a number of individuals that don’t realize how serious their health is. We talked about doing a reality show on Dr. A and Dr. B (the married couple and owners of Premier Family Health & Wellness Dr. Apicella and Dr. Bago). I was blown away by their intelligence and knowledge of their craft. We decided not to do this as a reality show but to do this as a documentary, which would be about them going into people’s homes and changing their lives. I’ve worked on reality shows in the past, and we felt that a documentary was the best way to present this story.
We followed three individuals journeys from obesity to health: The three main characters are Jack – who was a diabetic (54 at the time); Sinead, (43) who had breast cancer and teenager James Allen (13), who had low self-esteem, which was tied to his obesity. At first, James was a concern for me in the documentary – he wasn’t opening up at first. I told James that he was one of the heroes in the story and he could empower other kids who have the same struggle. Over time he started speaking up more often. James’ parents Keith and Melissa are also key characters in this film, as his relationships with them change over time too.
After a couple months of shooting Dr. A, Dr. B and myself came to a realization that James was stuck on a plateau, and that he needed more exercise. We brought in gym owner “Rock” of Rock Fitness and his team to train him. I spoke to James’ parents about James being trained by a professional boxing coach. Rock told James about his own self-hatred and low self esteem as a young boy. They made an instant connection. James looked up to Rock; it was great seeing that process and filming them.
The whole project was a process. All of the participants were slowly getting comfortable with my being in their homes and filming them.
All the patients needed an equally shared amount of time when it came to filming. I think everyone can relate to one of the 3 people in these journeys. Working on a reality show in the past taught me to stay quiet and not intervene. At times I battle with this, due to being a retired firefighter – my instinct is to jump in and help.
I don’t want to give the movie away but because of Jack’s journey, he ended up making a surprisingly major change in his whole household that I did not expect. Sinead’s issue was that she was extremely hard on herself and fighting cancer. Although she’s very jovial in person, I’m not sure how she was when she got home behind closed doors. She lives on a farm with 3 dogs, 7 cats along with foster cats, 1 horse, 2 ponies, 2 pigs, 2 geese, 1 duck and 25 chickens to take care of. She learned something – through this journey, and has become more uplifting and positive about herself. As for Jack, Sinead and young James, they each had their own struggles.
AW: What are some highlights of the film? Some of its challenges?
See the Blob Blob Fish trailer (below).
AM: Covid was a big challenge. It extended the production time and created a bunch of challenges. We were social distancing, and the fear factor appeared to be a level 10 throughout the world. With Covid, people stayed home, they were not exercising and were stuffing their faces, major adjustments had to be made. As it turned out, production was extended way longer than originally planned. In the end, lives were changed for the better.
As for highlights, the transformation of James was tremendous – he started to look you in the eye, went from no confidence to confidence. You have to watch the movie to see what really happened to James. There is a very heart felt moment in the documentary that anyone can relate to. This movie is really about hope and uplifting each other. The hope is to change people’s lives.
AW: Were there any real surprises while the camera was rolling while working on The Blob Blob Fish?
AM: James had a very unexpected reaction with his mother in the gym as they were speaking with Dr. Apicella and Dr. Bago. I almost dropped the camera. You have to watch the movie to see what happens.
AW: What’s it like following Dr. Apicella and Dr. Bago around with a video camera?
It was extremely educational for me. I wonder how on Earth do they have so much information stuffed into their heads. They’ve really been successful with Premier Family Health and Wellness and today have 30,000 patients. They’re a really dynamic couple and they are incredibly effective in helping patients. They are terrific even with their workout ethics. They practice what they preach. Plus, they have four kids and manage a busy household. This documentary focuses on the unsung heroes. Meanwhile, the media usually focuses on whatever sells a product or what celebrities think or do. This documentary focuses on regular folks, people who are relatable. Dr. A and Dr. B are just regular folks at the end of the day.
AW: How can people view the film?
AM: The film “The Blob Blob Fish” comes out August 31st. You can view it on iTunes, Dish Network, Sling TV, Vubiquity, Swank, Vudu, Xbox, GooglePlay, YouTube Movies and Hoopla. After the first 90 days, it will hopefully end up on Netflix or Hulu. The more pre-orders on iTunes that we can get would be extremely helpful.
AW: Who edited the film?
AM: Allan Holzman 5-time Emmy award winner edited the film. He took the story and put it in a form that I wouldn’t have been able to do. He’s edited for Spielberg along with a number of incredible directors. He did a fantastic job. We had a finished product, and the next question was, now what do we do as far as distribution? The movie won three film festival awards. We did not enter the movie into too many festivals since distribution offers came in quickly. We ended up going with Freestyle Digital Media to debut the film – across all the distribution platforms that I mentioned earlier.
AW: Tell us about your background as a film maker. Describe some of your key projects.
AM: I was producing freestyle and hip hop music in the 80s and 90s. I co-produced and wrote on a track with Def Jam (and the album went triple platinum). I found myself always around music videos. Early on I had an idea for a music video and got the opportunity to direct a music video. My wife Stacey helped me get the right people involved. I was truly clueless on the first one video. I did it a couple more times and became frustrated. I felt very limited on the set, due to my lack of knowledge of the technical side of it. I bought a Canon XL1. I taught myself how to shoot, thanks to some online courses and friends in the industry. I also learned a lot by always asking questions on set, I must have been a pin in the butt. One of the biggest lessons for me was being able to work on a season as a camera operator for Love & Hip Hop (in Atlanta). This experience set me up to know how to capture moments uninterrupted (as Love & Hip Hop was a reality TV Show).
On a project that I created called “The Cipha,” I partnered with Will Smith and James Lassiter. Mona Scott Young was a partner as well. We sold the show to MTV and then it went to BET. This was a great animation project.
I also worked on Shark Tales. This was a “Behind the scenes, making of” project for DreamWorks.
My most recent music video was for my daughter Nadege Nightingale. She has the music bug in her. She’s made several music videos and songs and I’m so proud of her. She’s in California now going to Bible college.
When have time I also do artwork. I work with recycled motherboards and broken computers, creating art. I still go into the recording studio and bang out a track here and there. I’m in the zone when I’m creating, hours can easily fly by unnoticed.
AW: What was it like to work with Dreamworks, BET, MTV, VH1 and other platforms? Do you have a favorite?
AM: As I had mentioned earlier I learned a lot on “Love and HipHop” which is on VH1, it was months of production at least 5 days a week. DreamWorks, the Shark Tales project, was also amazing. I went to Jamaica as well for that project. MTV was almost surreal for me. I was a firefighter at the time and getting a deal with MTV was a defining moment. My favorite projects of all are when I’m doing projects for my kids.
AW: You wear many hats, including Director, Producer, Writer, Fundraiser. What’s your favorite “hat” to wear?
AM: Depends on the project. The brainstorming, creative process is always exciting. I like all the hats except for editing.
AW: What did you do before being a film maker?
AM: Before this I was a firefighter/ paramedic. I did 25 years in Hollywood as a firefighter. There’s was a lot of laughter and joy and a lot of heartache. As a firefighter, you walk into a tragic situation, you’re there to help – be logical, you can’t be emotional, however you still have to be compassionate and empathetic. This yields the best results for the patient.
When it comes to film making, I’m always aware that there’s nothing life threatening about it. It helps me stay calm. My mindset on set, if I’m the director or whatever position I’m in, is that the respect needs to be equal for everyone. When it comes to eating, I always eat last on the set. If the crew is not happy, your whole vision gets flushed down the toilet. Keep your crew happy and thank them. I want to take the opportunity again to thank everyone from cast to crew for helping make Blob Blob Fish.
AW: How do you like living in Wellington? What’s special about Wellington?
AM: It’s a small-town vibe with a big city population. We have the convenience of everything around us. My wife wanted to move here from Fort Lauderdale because of the education system. We’ve built great friendships here. Wellington has been a phenomenal place for us.
AW: Tell us about your family.
AM: 4 daughters, 24, 23, 17 and 13. Stacey, my wife, has been my co-pilot in daily life and in the production world as well. She’s an amazing mother, all the credit goes to her. Our girls are so strong and they all have a piece of my wife in them. Stacey and I work together with our production company. She was a co-producer on Blob Blob Fish.
AW: Where are you originally from?
AM: I was born in England. We went to Canada when I was 4 years old. I’ve been in FL since 1980. I truly believe this is the greatest country on the planet, full of opportunities.
AW: What’s next for you?
AM: I’m shooting a couple of commercials and I’m in talks for another documentary and a feature film.
The Blob Blob Fish – A Journey Through Obesity
Film Release Date: August 31st, 2021
View it on: iTunes, Dish Network, Sling TV, Vubiquity, Swank, Vudu, Xbox, GooglePlay, YouTube Movies and Hoopla.
For more information, visit: IMDB.com