Producing a Masterpiece: Michael Manasseri on Give Me Liberty

Producing a Masterpiece: Michael Manasseri on Give Me Liberty

Hardly anybody in Hollywood believed that acclaimed new film Give Me Liberty would even get made, let alone win the rave reviews and awards buzz it has been receiving – but the team of moviemakers never lost hope.

No one doubted the quality of the script but the subject matter didn’t seem obviously commercial and financing dropped out of the project several times.

But producer Michael Manasseri found a way to get things moving. He quickly dove into the budget, chipped in his own money to get cameras rolling and the result is one of the great success stories of independent movie history.

“This was one of the most unique, beautiful stories I had ever read and I knew I had to have a hand in bringing the movie to life,” said Manasseri. “I felt it was time for unconventional stories different from the ones we often see in mainstream entertainment to come to the forefront.

Give Me Liberty is now on release in the U.S. and gradually rolling out around the world having been one of the hits of this year’s Sundance Film Festival and then wowing audiences at Cannes.

The story of a day in the life of a medical transport van driver ferrying disabled people and elderly immigrants around Milwaukee doesn’t sound like an obvious winner, especially when you consider most of its cast members had never acted before, and yet audiences are falling in love with its heart, charm, comedy and warmth.

“People from all walks of life eventually end up in that van and the van becomes a microcosm of America and the American dream in all its beauty and comic glory,” said Michael. “Seeing the beauty, heartbreak and day-to-day existence of those people makes you both laugh and cry.”

And just as the film, written by Alice Austen and Kirill Mikhanovsky  and directed by Mikhanovsky, has impacted audiences it has had a huge impact on the filmmakers too.

“I won’t always be making movies that are as important as Give Me Liberty, but from here on out, I’m certainly going to try,” said Manasseri.

“The result of everyone’s hard work is up there on the screen. Give Me Liberty is wonderful to watch and I feel so lucky to be part of it.”

Michael has been around the movie business most of his life, as an actor, director and writer, and has really found his calling in recent years as a producer. It’s what he loves and wants to carry on doing for as long as possible.

“If I can just continue to make a living at making movies until it’s time to check out that would be a really great future indeed.”

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