A story about a young African-American male overcoming many struggles, and many attempts of others that tried to take his life, while holding onto his faith and identity.
We got the opportunity to speak with Writer & Director Matthew Carter about his challenges and triumphs as an individual and as a filmmaker.
Filmmaking is important to me, because it allows me to learn new things and tell stories that I feel are being left out of many Hollywood productions. It allows me to create an opportunity instead of begging for a chance from other filmmakers, hoping they will feel my message and desire collaboration with the right heart to move forward.
The greatest obstacle I have faced was doing something I never did before, and fear of failure and judgement. I didn’t go to school for filmmaking and I’ve seen how judgmental people can be, and it was a barrier I had to overcome and take a chance on myself.
My new movie is based on some of my personal experiences. After working on a film with Dana Owens and speaking with her, the director, Dee Reese, spoke with me about how she noticed I wanted to be a great actor, and she shared how she was led to talk with me to build my career, to write, and to build a team to grow with. I was puzzled , but I realized who led her to speak with me and then I began to realized I’ve been through a lot of things that many people have shared with me that they would not have survived. I also noticed that many people were killed while experiencing some of the things I survived. I also have many people who question my faith and my beliefs. I decided to write about my experiences and included visions I’ve had to hopefully get others to understand why I do what I do, as well as encourage others on the verge of giving up. I was hesitant about sharing after writing it, but after watching a news broadcast about a 12 year old committing suicide, I realized I had to continue to do what I can, while I can, when I can to help who I can and help them realize they are not alone.
I found my cast and crew because I turned the script into a book. By doing that many people began to reach out with support and stated how they would love to see it as a film. I taught myself how to improve the script, by studying how other scrips were written from getting booked on major projects. Many people I wanted to work with shared that the script was too Hollywood and beyond their ability to work on, so I continued to push towards people willing to accept the challenge like I was, and do our best to create something on a Hollywood level, giving others a reason to want to work with us. Everyone still seemed afraid, so I began to do everything myself and watched YouTube videos on how to get it done. This caught the eye of a few people and they also realized that I wasn’t letting a diagnosis stop me from achieving my dream so they offered to help and we all did our best to create something, even though it was our first time doing what we were doing. I submitted the paperwork with SAG and listed my project on a few sites. I selected my cast by feeling out what was in their heart. This allowed us to connect better while filming, and even though I have yet to meet the financial quota I wanted to pay everyone, I was able to give them he credentials they need to move forward in their career, for those who want to.
Qualities I feel make a great film are authenticity, power, purposeful, tolerance, and vision. Many films are being remade, but there are many original stories out there waiting to be told that have a powerful message that can reach others. I feel there should be a purpose in the film so those who watch it are not lost and confused with what is happening and a reason to watch it. Tolerance is something that can be taught as well as something that will be tested depending on the message and the perspective of the person watching. What’s most important in my opinion is the vision and the purpose. If you can’t see the direction of the film and what motivates you to create it, it will lack many things.
If I could change one thing about the current film industry it would be to nullify racial profiling. Giving African Americans more diverse roles and many more opportunities to show the range we can deliver.
Remember that what you desire is on you to deliver. It’s your dream and your vision, not theirs. Don’t be discouraged if others don’t see it right away. Keep pushing and make sure you customize what you’re doing as much as you need to in order to help them if you must. Many people may not believe you until you reach a certain point. Exceed it. Know why you are doing creating what you want to create and maintain your focus. I’ve learned that having the right heart and mindset will allow you to persevere through everything. The moment you give up on yourself will make others give up on you as well. Your motivation and determination will draw the right people on the same wavelength into your life to ensure you meet your goal.
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Macoproject FF 2021MD9145