What inspired you to adapt and direct Unspoken?Unspoken is based on the book The Bed Head by Jennifer Grahame which explores the socio-economical construct of classism and the prevalence of sexual misconduct. The film gives voice to the underrepresented woman inspiring us to identify challenges and drive change.
How did you find The Bed Head?This book was gifted to me by my Aunt for Christmas. It was the most cosmic gift she could have given me. It was as if she knew this book would inspire me to make my next film. I walked everywhere with my head buried within its pages. The Bed Head book kept saying “shoot me” through the pages and I was determined to do just that.
As Miss Jamaica USA, what did that experience teach you about life?After entering that competition, I learned I needed to be willing to take more risks and put myself out there. As much as I am an outgoing person, I am not the person you would ever think would care to enter a beauty pageant. From this competition I became more confident in myself. I wasn’t afraid to be seen or afraid to be heard.
How did you become a filmmaker?I stumbled on filmmaking by being encouraged to take a course. It was there I discovered I have a voice and its in film. After shooting my first film, Unconditional Love, I won the Audience award which only pushed me to believe I could move an audience with my work.
What career advice would you give to other women filmmakers at this time?Be careful which door you walk through. As you take on these other roles for the set experience, do not get comfortable in those roles if that is not what you want to do because you might find yourself stuck. So carefully find your place, listen to your heart and go for “it”. I have listened and I know my passion is directing.
What do you enjoy most about being a filmmaker?I love working with actors. I love discovering the emotion that drives the moment. I love when I read a script and I close my eyes , and see, hear, smell and be moved by it. I like being able to visually feel its pulse. I also love responding to the voices in my own head that sees stories that need to be told about experiences that are universal and transcend borders. We are living very similar experiences beyond the borders. We just don’t know how connected we really are. To connect with Danae Grandison, please check her out at the following links: Facebook: @dir.danaegrandison Instagram Handle: @dir.danae *Top photo of Danae Grandison shot by William Greenwood.*
Bobby Huntley is the Director, Co-Writer and Co-Producer of the new coming of age feature film, La Vie Magnifique de Charlie which is affectionately known in social media as #TheCharlieMovie. Shot over seven weekends in Atlanta, GA with no budget, Huntley’s backstory is one of passion, persistence and motivation.
ABOUT LA VIE MAGNIFIQUE DE CHARLIE
After her sister Brandy’s untimely death, everyone is taken aback by Charlie’s unorthodox (and seemingly chipper) approach to her grieving process. Follow Charlie and her friends Kayla and Keturah as they go along for a wild, hilariously exhilarating and bittersweet ride – which will surely be the craziest day of Charlie’s life. Charlie was filmed over seven jam-packed weekends in Atlanta, GA, with very little to no budget. The talented cast and crew joined together to create this visually vibrant story for the screen.
How did you get started as a filmmaker?
I started at age 10. I randomly asked my Dad for a video camera. When I was in school, I’d bring whatever I shot with my cousins the previous weekend. On Fridays, we’d screen those in class and I’d do reenactments on different historical things. For class projects, I’d turn in a short video instead of a report. It was a way for me to express my creativity. My teachers saw I was a real creative person so they allowed me to express that.
What inspired you to direct, co-write and co-produce the Charlie Movie?
I wanted to challenge myself. I wanted to do a story of women that doesn’t center around men. I’ve always been intrigued by black women. This was a way for me to explore that. It gave me some insight. I wanted to challenge the things that we were seeing in the media.
What life experience has changed you or shaped your work?
I saw the Nina Simone documentary and she had a clip in there where she said, “As an artist you must reflect the times in your work.” Before watching the documentary, I would do these things that didn’t mean anything. But, from that moment on, I decided my work must mean something, so that it can impact people.
As a black man, why did you do the Charlie film?
It’s really my love letter for black women. There’s a real campaign for black women to feel better about themselves. Black women in the media are taking control of the conversation. I love the hashtags black women have created. I love #blackgirlmagic. Black women are taking control of the conversation and reclaiming it if you will. I just wanted to give them something they could appreciate.
Do Something That Matters.
This fall look for La Vie Magnifique de Charlie on tour in a city near you. Check the trailer below. To follow the movie, check out @thecharliemovie in all social media.
To connect with Bobby, please check him out at the following links:
Writer / Director / Producer Camille Brown whose first narrative feature, The Nth Ward will be released exclusively via Amazon on Tuesday, August 29, 2017, the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, spoke with BlackTVFilmCrew.com about writing a thriller that tells the story of an engineer with the US Army Corps who is sent to New Orleans to assess the damage years after the hurricane. Fresh off of being a semi-finalist for this year’s HBO’s Directing Fellowship, Camille has a lot to say.
About the Nth Ward
The Nth Ward is a chilling suspense thriller about a woman haunted by the childhood disappearance of her parents. Madison, now an engineer with the US Army Corps, and Kitch, a local contractor, are two conflicting personalities paired in a government program to assess the ongoing devastation of the Ninth Ward from the hurricane that savaged New Orleans a decade before. Efforts to rebuild have been thwarted. Bizarre happenings and disappearances lead them to believe that some darker force is at work. When she seeks out the mysterious woman whose house stood unscathed in the eye of the storm, Madison’s own personal mystery engulfs her. Her relentless pursuit of truth threatens Kitch’s dearest aspiration and their very lives and livelihoods. Madison must look beyond the natural, the scientific. Is it witchcraft or a clandestine government plan?
What inspired you to write the Nth Ward? I was inspired to make this film after seeing how the 9th Ward in New Orleans still had not been rebuilt after all these years. I have family and friends who are from New Orleans and were there doing Hurricane Katrina. They told me what happened during Katrina and they have not gone back.
Many artists focus on one genre, but you’ve written a quirky romantic comedy, a documentary and now a thriller. What inspires your creativity?
I love all forms of expression. I love films. I love telling stories and I don’t want to limit the kind of stories I tell.
My advice to students and young professionals: Just do it. Bunker down and do the work. Write that script now. Shoot that short now. Shoot that feature now. It might be challenging during the process, but after everything is done it’ll be rewarding.
What is your average work day like as writer, director, producer of C. Brown Productions? Since the completion of The Nth Ward, I’ve been working everyday trying to figure out the best distribution avenue. I work on the publicity and marketing as well. And I try to fit in at the end of the day, working and progressing my next projects.
Share an interesting story with us from your childhood that has impacted your life. The first time I saw ET I was in awe. It is a classic. I fell in love with movies after that. My mom would always have me sit down and watch films with her. From Sunset Boulevard to Maltese Falcon to Lawrence of Arabia. She introduced me to film and taught me to really appreciate it.
**We appreciate Camille taking the time to talk with us. Check out the trailer below. And, remember, the Nth Ward will be available on Blu-Ray and DVD Tuesday, August 29, 2017 with additional distribution outlets coming later. Support this filmmaker… To purchase your copy, visit this link: Amazon. **
More About Camille
A graduate of UCLA’s prestigious Film, Television and Theater School, Camille has had a string of successes including her documentary, A Second Chance At Life which is narrated by Whoopi Goldberg, as well as writing and directing the award-winning short film Thank You for Washing which screened at over 20 festivals winning best short for 10 of them. She co-produced the feature film A Perfect Getaway starring Steve Zahn and Mills Jovovich. Most recently she was a semi-finalist for the HBO Directing Fellowship.
What is so touching about a black father doing his daughter’s hair? Apparently, everything. Just ask Writer/Director Matthew A. Cherry who raised over 100k in less than a week for his latest project, Hair Love. Cherry talked to Black TV Film Crew about Hair Love which is still in fundraising mode at Kickstarter with a goal of 200k. Cherry shares his inspiration, black men in the media, goals for the project, and why both black mothers and fathers should support Hair Love.
Hair Love, is a 5 minute animated short film that centers around the relationship between an African-American father, Stephen, his daughter, Zuri and her hair. Despite having long locks, Stephen has been used to his wife doing his daughter’s hair, so when she is unavailable right before a big event, Stephen will have to figure it out on his own. This sounds simple enough, but we soon come to find that Zuri’s hair has a mind of its own.
With this project, we are championing black fathers but we’re also trying to normalize black fathers and in the process normalize black families.
I had this idea for a couple of years and I was scared for whatever reason. But this year, I decided to be more engaged. Whenever I came across a kid video, or a father video, it would do so many likes and retweets on Twitter. It would go viral. The feedback was always these heartwarming stories,’This reminds me of my kid or of my dad.’ I realized there’s an appetite for this.
Also, I wanted to promote hair love amongst young men and women of color. When black fathers are celebrated and shown in everyday situations, it is very powerful.
Hair Love goes against how black men are portrayed in the media, can you speak to that point?
Black men are portrayed in the media negatively. Either we’re not there, we’re deadbeat, we’re in an abusive situation, or in jail. There are so many different issues which are real within the community, but the media often portrays those issues as the only version of black men you see. With this project, we are championing black fathers but we’re also trying to normalize black fathers and in the process normalize black families. It is a universal story about a father who is doing all that he can for his daughter.
Mothers are well represented in the piece. The backbone and core of the black family is the black woman. Black women can relate to this project because they’ve seen their fathers doing something domestic, getting them ready for school or they’ve had a father figure, older brother, uncle, or grandparent in that role. Black women can see themselves in the Zuri character.
What are some main goals of the film?
Something as simple as a black man doing his daughter’s hair has gone viral. It’s almost heroic. They look at it as an anomaly. That’s why it’s important. Maybe someone would have done this story eventually, but maybe not. This guy has a face full of joy and I think that image has connected with folks. This project can help to humanize black men in mainstream media.
For example, when someone is killed by the police, you don’t go and automatically look to see their jail record. Instead, you may think, ‘this guy has a kid’ or ‘this man had to do his daughter’s hair.’ That normalizes us. Also, I want to make this film as dope as possible. I want to make sure no one is disappointed when they see it.
Though Cherry isn’t a father yet, he thought a lot about how he would want to portrayed when he becomes a father. Imagine what this world would be like if every would- be-father thought about how he wanted to be portrayed before becoming a father… The world would be different.
We have proudly donated to the Hair Love Kickstarter campaign and encourage you to support as well. This is a project with heart.
Listen to Matthew talk about Hair Love
- Former NFL player for Bengals, Jaguars, and Panthers
- Directed The Last Fall featuring Lance Gross & Nicole Behari
- Directed Michelle Williams ‘Say Yes’ video featuring Beyonce & Kelly Rowland
- Shot his feature film 9 Rides entirely on an iPhone and premiered it at SXSW
Writer / Director / Producer Prince Domonick who is currently in pre-production for his first feature film, Thick Water, shares how to take a short film to feature status, how he hopes his work will connect with audiences and what has inspired him on his career path. Anybody with a short film who wants to turn it to a feature, read below.
How did you come to create Thick Water as a feature?
I always knew that I wanted to make a feature film. The short film, Thick Water, was a thesis project for my graduate degree. Thick Water was inspired by my personal life experience, the social and political climate we live in and my love for music. I decided to use the short film as a concept piece to get some investors and I found some. I won’t say it was easy. But that’s how it happened.
How do you hope your work will connect with people?
I hope my work makes people stop and think introspectively and reflectively. I want to create conversation. I want to challenge how we view the world we live in through my work.
I used to act out in school when I was a child mainly because I had a HUGE imagination. I always felt misunderstood and out of place which would cause me to act out and misbehave. However, I always thrived leaps and bounds over everyone else in art and music classes. One day my teacher showed up at my house after a disciplinary situation but she came with encouraging words. She told my parents that she saw me becoming a great Playwright one day because my imagination was so big. That always stuck with me and my parents ’til this day.
I always knew I wanted to be a Director ever since I was a child. I have always had supporting parents to encourage me along the way. I study success stories and I’ve learned that everyone has their own path. Don’t try to follow someone else’s path, because odds are the results will not be the same. Forge your own. That being said I am inspired by Producer Devon Franklin and his faith journey in Hollywood. I’m inspired by the business empire of Tyler Perry and his rags to riches story. I’m inspired by George Lucas and his genius of fantasy form storytelling and literally taking us to worlds we could never imagine. And my man Ryan Coogler, and his realistic gritty form of storytelling and all his success at such a young age.
What advice do you have for students and young professionals who may be inspired by your work?
It’s not easy, many days you will have to be your own cheerleader, and encourage yourself. But if you know this is what you are suppose to be doing keep pushing. Expect 100,0000 ‘No’s’ before you hear 1 ‘Yes.’ And lastly, remember there are thousands of people chasing the same dream, but there is only ONE YOU! What God has for you is for you, and nobody else but YOU!