EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH MICHAEL D. COFFEY
INSIDE AND OUTSIDE THE SCRIPT “Recognizing the dignity, drive and ambition of Michael D. Coffey and those with cerebral palsy and differing abilities is crucial to understanding inclusiveness,” said Ilene Wilkins, MD., CEO of United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) of Central Florida. “We applaud Relativity Media and Cinemark Theatres who championed TRIUMPH and its story of resilience showcasing that people with disabilities can live a life without limits.” In partnership with United Cerebral Palsy, RJ Mitte invited over 100 children with special needs to a special screening of TRIUMPH. “I wanted to share this night with children to celebrate the story of Michael Coffey’s life and successes,” said Mitte. “I spent years in therapy with others just like my guests, and I want this to serve as a reminder that despite our disabilities we can all break stereotypes and live a life without limits. We can all triumph.” We were honored to speak with the man behind the scenes and behind the story, Michael D. Coffey.
Allié: As the producer and screenwriter of TRIUMPH, what was the most difficult aspect of producing a film inspired by your own personal story?
Michael: I am the writer and a working producer of TRIUMPH, which I started to produce by myself in 2014. In 2014, I worked to get RJ Mitte on board, and Wes Studi was interested in the coach role. I had other talents lined up for other roles and a great local production company lined up for the film equipment. I was going to co-direct. Even with much lined up, it was difficult to raise enough funding to make TRIUMPH. I launched a Kickstarter in 2014, but wasn’t able to raise my funding goal in time. About six months later, a “producer” emailed me saying that he was interested in my movie project and that he had worked with RJ before. We ended up signing a co-production agreement, but much later he turned out to be a conman and was sued. Be very careful who you work with and trust.
25 AWARENOW / THE MAYDAY EDITION