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10 Questions With Rodney Evans ("Brother To Brother," "The Happy Sad")

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act November 10, 2011 at 1:03PM

Installment number 4 of the S&A "10 Questions With A Black Filmmaker" series... catch up with the first 3 if you need to Barry Jenkins HERE, Seith Mann HERE, and Victoria Mahoney HERE.
5
Rodney Evans

Installment number 4 of the S&A "10 Questions With A Black Filmmaker" series... catch up with the first 3 if you need to Barry Jenkins HERE, Seith Mann HERE, and Victoria Mahoney HERE.

The beat goes on with Mr Rodney Evans, the acclaimed writer/producer/director of Brother To Brother, his 2004 debut feature - a drama that looks back on the creative energy of cultural revolution during the Harlem Renaissance from the perspective of an elderly black writer who meets a gay teenager in a New York homeless shelter. The film, which starred Anthony Mackie before he became ANTHONY MACKIE, won the Special Jury Prize at Sundance in 2004, and was nominated for Independent Spirit Awards in four categories in 2005.

It should be on your "must-see" list of films, if you haven't already watched it.

Rodney is currently in buried in post-production on his 2nd feature film titled The Happy Sad, which follows two couples, one black and one white, whose lives collide as they navigate open relationships and sexual identity.

Rodney certainly hasn't said so, but, if I had to guess, I'd say that The Happy Sad will likely make its debut at Sundance 2012.

In the meantime, get to know the man a little bit by reading his answers to my 10 randomly-selected questions below (thanks for taking time to do this Rodney!):

1. What happiness means to you...

A good balance between work and play.

2. If I weren't a filmmaker, I'd be this...

I’d probably be a musician or composer of some kind. Possibly a radio host where I could interview interesting people.

3. Number of Oscar Micheaux movies I've seen...

LOVE Micheaux and he was an huge inspiration for the Harlem Renaissance sections of BROTHER TO BROTHER so I saw as many as I could for research. WITHIN OUR GATES, GIRL FROM CHICAGO and BODY AND SOUL at the NY Film Festival with live original score from Wycliffe Gordon and the Jazz Society of Lincoln Center. This was one of the best screening experiences I’ve had in the past 10 years. Blew my mind.

4. Current episodic TV show I absolutely cannot miss...

THE HOUR which I download from I-tunes. Amazing writing by Abi Morgan who also did amazing work on SHAME, directed by Steve McQueen). Incredible performances from Ben Whishaw and Dominic West

5. Theism or atheism?

Atheism.

6. If I could recommend 2 movies newly released in 2011 that everyone should see, they would be these...

WEEKEND directed by Andrew Haigh and MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE are the two that come to mind. The first for the honesty, intimacy of the central relationship and the way that the director used improvisation to really empower the actors and incorporate them more in the collaborative process. Really inspiring. The latter for the light touch, stellar performances and gorgeous cinematography. PARIAH and THE DESCENDANTS would also be high on my 2011 recommendation list.

7. "Burn Hollywood Burn"? Or "Rock on Hollywood, Rock on"? Or "what is this thing you call "Hollywood?""

Probably the latter since Hollywood feels more and more irrelevant to what I do and to most of the filmmakers who are part of my community.

8. If I had Bill Gates' billions, I'd do this...

Start a production company and finance all of the projects by the brilliant filmmakers I know. 

9. I’d kill to work with this actor (or these actors)…

Jeffrey Wright. Meryl Streep, Mos Def.

10. If I could live in one city in the world, it would be this one…

As much as I bitch about it sometimes I don’t think I could live anywhere but New York. The culture that I have access to and people fuel and inspire me on a daily basis.

This article is related to: Interviews


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