As the president of Virgil Films, Joseph Amodei has had some incredible experiences. He was always drawn to film since childhood when he was a big fan of Steve McQueen in the classic film titled “The Great Escape.” Joseph hails from Philadelphia and now works in the movie industry on projects such as “The Coolest Guy Movie Ever.” This documentary explores the making of the classic “The Great Escape.”

The documentary is due to be released on August 21, 2018, and Joseph was all too happy to grant an exclusive interview on July 26 discussing the work.

Movies, the entertainment industry, and Virgil Films

Meagan Meehan (MM): What inspired you to get into Movies, Joseph?

Joseph Amodei (JA): I grew up in Philadelphia, and there were two movie theatres within walking distance from my home, so I spent a lot of time seeing all kinds of films. “The Great Escape” was one of them. I fell in love with the art form very early in life, and it has never left me.

MM: What was your first gig in the sometimes-glamorous-sometimes-not entertainment industry?

JA: Working for one of the very first video stores in the Philadelphia area.

It’s funny because the owner of that store Mike Meister is one of the exec producers on this film. Life does come full circle at times!

MM: How did you come up with the idea for Virgil Films?

JA: I had stints working for Ted Turner and Barry Diller, and when they came to an end I felt I wanted to do something on my own. So, I got some partners together and created a distribution company. I took over in 2008.

MM: They say that the first five years is the hardest, so how was it for you?

JA: Yes, they were definitely the hardest but being in the film business means they are all hard. You really have to love movies to do this. And I do.

Highlights, producing, and Steve McQueen

MM: What have been some of the big highlights of your career as a producer and filmmaker so far?

JA: We’ve had some good films including “Super Size Me” and “Restrepo” along the way.

Taking films and getting them exposed to a wide audience continues to be what drives me.

MM: And do you produce some of the films you release or is this an exception?

JA: I am producing another documentary on E Street Band saxophone player Clarence Clemons that is being directed by Nick Mead. Other than that, I’m not sure where this will go at this point.

MM: Where did your love of Steve McQueen and “The Great Escape” come from?

JA: It’s a film I can never turn off. And no one is cooler than Steve McQueen!

MM: How much research was required for this project and what do you think the strengths of the film are?

JA: I came on board at the end of filming, so I was not involved in the pre-production phase. It’s about a film that every guy who loves movies holds dear to his heart. I hope they are interested in learning more about the film.

MM: What’s next for you at the moment and what are your long-term goals over the next ten years?

JA: Nothing on the docket right now. I’m still looking at as many movies as I can. The business changes so much so I’m not sure what role I will be playing in it. If I had to give advice to someone entering the industry, I would say to do your homework and learn the market and your audience before you shoot one second of film.

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