Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Trailer: UP Original Movie 'My Other Mother' (Lynn Whitfield, Essence Atkins, Jasmine Guy) Debuts 9/21 Trailer: UP Original Movie 'My Other Mother' (Lynn Whitfield, Essence Atkins, Jasmine Guy) Debuts 9/21 Wendy Williams is Crushing the Competition in the Ratings, as Queen Latifah's Show Struggles In Last Place Wendy Williams is Crushing the Competition in the Ratings, as Queen Latifah's Show Struggles In Last Place The Cast of 'A Different World' 20 Years Later - 'Oprah: Where Are They Now?' The Cast of 'A Different World' 20 Years Later - 'Oprah: Where Are They Now?' Sundance Institute Selects 10 Writers for Inaugural Episodic Story Lab Sundance Institute Selects 10 Writers for Inaugural Episodic Story Lab Lamman Rucker, DB Woodside, Billy Dee Williams, Christian Keyes Lead 'Man in 3B' (Based on Carl Weber Bestseller) Lamman Rucker, DB Woodside, Billy Dee Williams, Christian Keyes Lead 'Man in 3B' (Based on Carl Weber Bestseller) Exclusive: Zoë Kravitz, Keith Stanfield, Kimberly Elise, A$AP Rocky Board Rick Famuyiwa's 'Dope' Exclusive: Zoë Kravitz, Keith Stanfield, Kimberly Elise, A$AP Rocky Board Rick Famuyiwa's 'Dope' Tribeca Film Announces 'Nas: Time is Illmatic' One Night Only October 2 National Screenings Tribeca Film Announces 'Nas: Time is Illmatic' One Night Only October 2 National Screenings The Complete ‘Extant’ Series w/Halle Berry Coming Out On Blu-Ray DVD in Dec. The Complete ‘Extant’ Series w/Halle Berry Coming Out On Blu-Ray DVD in Dec. 'Terror at the Mall,' Documentary on Siege of Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Premieres on HBO Tonight (Trailer) 'Terror at the Mall,' Documentary on Siege of Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Premieres on HBO Tonight (Trailer) Producer Charles Belk and Actress Daniele Watts Apparently "Fit the Description" (Just Another Day in the Neighborhood) Producer Charles Belk and Actress Daniele Watts Apparently "Fit the Description" (Just Another Day in the Neighborhood) What’s the Big Secret That Got Those ‘No Good Deed’ Screenings Canceled? What’s the Big Secret That Got Those ‘No Good Deed’ Screenings Canceled? 'Drumline: A New Beat' (Sequel to the 2002 Film) Gets a Premiere Date + New Trailer (Watch It) 'Drumline: A New Beat' (Sequel to the 2002 Film) Gets a Premiere Date + New Trailer (Watch It) 'Terror at the Mall,' Documentary on Siege of Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Coming to HBO (Trailer) 'Terror at the Mall,' Documentary on Siege of Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Coming to HBO (Trailer) Watch First Trailer for Tyler Perry's New OWN TV Drama 'If Loving You Is Wrong' Watch First Trailer for Tyler Perry's New OWN TV Drama 'If Loving You Is Wrong' OWN Announces Cast for New Drama Series 'If Loving You is Wrong' From Tyler Perry OWN Announces Cast for New Drama Series 'If Loving You is Wrong' From Tyler Perry Michael Ealy, Sanaa Lathan, Morris Chestnut Eyeing Leads In Revenge Thriller 'The Perfect Guy' Michael Ealy, Sanaa Lathan, Morris Chestnut Eyeing Leads In Revenge Thriller 'The Perfect Guy' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

10 Questions With Barry Jenkins

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act November 2, 2011 at 4:58AM

Here's a new S&A feature, among many others to come, that I've long been working towards implementing...
10

Here's a new S&A feature, among many others to come, that I've long been working towards implementing...

I'm introducing today what I'm calling "10 Questions With A Black Filmmaker," in which, as the title states, a filmmaker will be asked 10 questions, they'll answer, and I'll share both questions and answers here with the rest of you to read.

It's just something that I thought would be both fun and enlightening for readers of S&A, but also for the filmmakers; shorter and less formal than the interviews you'd listen to on the S&A Livecast.

I came up with about 50 different questions, really on the fly, and each filmmaker will be given a random selection of 10 of those 50 questions to answer. The questions are a mix of both the personal and professional, and, based on the responses I've received from the filmmakers who've responded thus far, have been fun and, in some case, even challenging to answer.

So... starting today, I'll post each "10 Questions With A Black Filmmaker" session just as randomly as I came up with the questions; meaning, on no specific schedule.

First on the list is Mr Barry Jenkins who I'm sure many of you already know well enough, given how much we've written about him and his work on S&A over the last 2 1/2 years. If the name doesn't immediately register, maybe the title of his 2008 feature film debut will - Medicine For Melancholy. And if that still doesn't sound familiar, then consider this your intro. And after you read his responses to my questions, do yourself a favor and go rent and/or buy Medicine For Melancholy on DVD.

Since that film, Barry has directed 3 short films, all of which we've also covered on this site. Tall Enough (a Bloomingdales Filmmaking Initiative project), Remigration (from the season 2 class of the ITVS/Futurestates series), and Chlorophyll, a joint collaboration between Jenkins and the BORSCHT Film Festival in Miami.

The first 2 short films are available online (HERE & HERE), so I encourage you to watch them if you haven't.

Without further ado... 10 Questions With Barry Jenkins:

1. Earliest movie memory...

Aliens. Miami. Drive-in. When that thing jumped out that lady's belly? Popcorn EVERYWHERE.

2. Preferred mode of travel: Plane, train, automobile... or teleportation?

Train. Patience, pace and proximity to the landscape.

3. If I could go back in time, I'd return to this period/moment/place/etc...

I always want to be fully present, mindful of the past but completely present... though a coffee with Baldwin in Turkey sometime between 60' and 71' would be interesting. And I don't remember enough about my childhood, so 1984 Miami would be heavy, productive, enriching. Beyond that, I want to be present. History is tall and wide, it would take lifetimes to properly honor those who came before us. And let me tell you, those folks we'd go back to would send us right back forward with the quickness, trust me.

4. I'd like to see what this musician could do with a film camera...

Man, this is probably the hardest question on here. I get so amped on visuals from soundscapes, I can't help but think the energy flows the opposite direction as well. I was visually sated by Kanye's Runaway (and I thought some of the metaphors were sublime), so that one's done. Erykah would make a wonderful filmmaker, our generation's Julie Dash. I would've loved to have seen what Miles Davis would do with a camera, he saw in sound, you know? To me this is what electric Miles was all about, would have loved to have seen him go all the way. Stevie scored a film on listening to the film alone; I'm not being coy at all when I say I'd love to see what Stevie Wonder could do with a camera, he took synthesizers and made real poetry where others had previously wrung nothing but noise. I mean I get the implausibility of it, creation is revision and you have to be able to properly proof yourself and revise/repeat but, absent context, I think there's something there, a tool is a tool is a tool in the hands of an artist.

5. Sweetback or Virgil Tibbs?

How about Melvin Van Peebles directing Heat of The Night... by which I mean Sweetback all day

6. My ideal professional life as a filmmaker would look like this…

I feel the same about the future as I do about the past. But if I play along I'll say that I've always admired the way Steven Soderbergh and Michael Winterbottom go about their work. They seem fueled purely by their curiosity. And I imagine they have fun with it. In concrete terms, I want to approach feature films the same way I've recently approached shorts, at the same pace and with the same diversity.

7. I want my tombstone to read…

Don't want one. Maybe that will change with time but I don't think that's the way for me.

8. I own every single album (or should own every single album) by this musician…

A Tribe Called Quest, The Sea and Cake, Sam Prekop, Outkast, Tindersticks and Rachel's. A few others are close but I have everything ever released by those folks. Formative.

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

An English Teacher. High school, back home in Miami.

10. I could sit through a 24-hour marathon of films by this filmmaker…

Claire Denis, because it wouldn't feel like a marathon of film at all. On the contrary, it would most closely approach the cinematic representation of real life. There's a place for escapism, we all need it time to time. But sometimes you just need that real thang, and Ms. Denis is all about bringing that real... thang. Give me 48 hours of that, feel me? I'm'a watch that marathon twice!

THANKS Barry!!


Shadow & ActNewsletter