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Director's Spotlight: Alex Stapleton's Real Life David And Goliath Story In Making "Corman's World"

by Cynthia Reid
December 16, 2011 6:45 PM
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Alex Stapleton pic

In writing for S&A, I often find the "story" behind making films can be just as intriguing as the film itself.  That's the case with first-time director Alex Stapleton and her documentary Corman's World: Exploits Of A Hollywood Rebel, an homage of sorts to the king of low budget filmmaking Roger Corman.   

Not long ago, I had a chance to speak with her about the flick and the rollercoaster ride she endured in putting it together.  If you'll listen to the audio'll learn of her surprising impressions of Mr. Corman, how she almost lost the project to a "known" veteran director, the way she financed the film and her inspiring takeway. 

The film opens today (Dec. 16) in select theaters. 

Director Alex Stapleton On Making "Corman's World" by amazingkarma

Corman's World poster 414

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  • Masha Dowell | December 21, 2011 11:07 PMReply

    I really liked this interview. It shows you were passion defeats practicality.

  • Malik | December 19, 2011 12:19 PMReply

    There are plenty of attractive directors. I'm more surprised by how young she is. I enjoyed the trailer and interview. I'll be on the look out for it when it hits the theater.

  • James Madison | December 18, 2011 4:02 PMReply

    Saw this yesterday. Really good insight and inspirational. Jack Nicholson actually broke down in his interview.

  • tamara | December 17, 2011 1:56 PMReply

    great interview and an inspiring journey for her. i wish her the best.

  • Tombs | December 17, 2011 1:20 PMReply

    Roger was on Tarvis last night and this was the movie he mentioned interesting.

  • artbizzy | December 17, 2011 8:37 AMReply

    Wow, what a story! Dreams do come true. Roger Corman is a great indy director to learn from. Alex Stapleton is on her way! Can't wait to see it.

  • Laura | December 17, 2011 2:45 AMReply

    She's definitely an inspiration.

  • James Madison | December 17, 2011 12:32 AMReply

    Really good interview. Really inspiring not just because of what she did, but also because what she wants to do. I look forward to seeing her action oriented films. Great to see her aspirations of venturing into that genre where there a limited amount of women directorial talent. Gale Anne Hurd as producer and Kathryn Bigelow being the main two I can think of right now. Great job Cynthia.

  • Donella | December 22, 2011 4:22 PM

    I'll throw in Debra Hill. But how great we'll be able to add Alex Stapleton to the list.

  • Emmanuel | December 16, 2011 10:18 PMReply

    Very interesting. Good job, Cynthia! I'll definitely check out Corman's filmography.

  • Jay | December 16, 2011 9:30 PMReply

    Excellent! Great interview — and a PERFECT example of taking chances to achieve goals and using passion to inspire.

  • colored | December 16, 2011 8:40 PMReply

    great trailer. i'd like to see this.

  • WOW | December 16, 2011 6:47 PMReply

    She's a looker!!!

  • Mark | December 19, 2011 12:06 PM

    On the one hand, I'm a bit perplexed by just commenting on Stapleton's looks and ignoring her talent. Then on the other hand, I'm even more perplexed by how just saying someone is good-looking turns into accusing someone of colorism. Saying that someone is a "looker" does not explicitly state any preference or dislike of a particular phenotype!

    I understand how someone might be tired of colorism but to assume the worst of another based on one short sentence seems excessive.

  • Jmac | December 18, 2011 7:53 PM

    Geez, go shopping and do some cooking and all this happens. Nadine's second comment was closest to what I meant. I listened to the excerpt and remembered the last post about how difficult it is to get an interview with Corman. That was more impressive than what the director looks like but seems like this guy just looked at the picture, commented on her looks, and moved on rather than spend a few minutes to see why there's even a post about her or give a more substantial comment ... like everybody else did. As for the rest, methinks you're overthinking. Not that big a deal. Certainly not the right post to get into all that.

  • Nadine | December 18, 2011 10:49 AM

    You know, I was typing so quickly (and without emotion) that I'm actually surprised by the "calm down" responses... I was rushing so I could check my e-mail. I was annoyed by another trailer posted yesterday...won't even get into that...but this, I thought, was just explaining 2 possible points of views since you, @THAT DUDE, questioned JMAC about their motivations. I tried to take the most publicly indicting of interpretations and explain it so that, hopefully, even that would make sense... I then added what I, more or less thought the most likely explanation of JMACs statement was. 90% clinical reading and interpretation.

    As for the kind of personal stuff like, life must be EXHAUSTING... "pre-emptively judgmental" and "heh" -- maybe life should be a little more exhausting for those of us who decided to work in this industry and not so "individual". Based on what's happening right now in the U.S. (now this is me talking for me), there is nothing to be "relaxed" about and that's the major problem with "folks" in this country. It's about how far "they" can personally get in the entertainment industries whilst standing on the backs of others, a trait of Americans, in general, which had been staved off from completely engulfing the American Black communities for centuries, but that is no more. Gender has been a successful device used by the dominant culture to divide this community. So successful, that the gender that benefits has mobilized and instituted policies (including one-sided Colorism) that keep the other gender subjugated all in an effort to be exclusively accepted by "society". People want to talk smack about Steve McQueen's casting of non-Black actors in his films, etc...I mean the Black Brits have so transcended Blacks in the U.S. simply by KNOWING that they are equal, as Blacks, to those who colonized them. There is nothing aspirational about what the Black Brits try to do, they just do it with confidence. They have also built an amazingly strong community of men and women (compared to the U.S. 'cause it's not perfect) who are, you know... like "ride or die" mostly because they have recent cultural connections be they African or Caribbean. Our last cultural connection in the U.S. was Hip hop and Neo-Soul, both near extinguished institutions with nothing left to connect us... When I see the quality animation, production and film research coming from the "folks" across the pond not to mention their forthrightness with their cultures and experiences (without shame), one has to wonder why folks here want to concentrate all their time into proving that they are more sophisticated than the problem as opposed to addressing it. Only the screen (the cultural encyclopedia for Americans) can make Blacks in this country compliment each other. One cannot/could not convince someone to do otherwise with words on the Internet, or even in person, to not put down or ignore, those who look the least like the dominant culture. Oh, I don't need life to be easy... I need to effect change so that someday my children won't have to grow up learning to hate themselves because they have to interact with yours.

  • that dude | December 17, 2011 11:38 PM

    Nadine, carrying all that baggage must be EXHAUSTING. Yes, life is easier for women AND men if you are attractive. And yes she is, to cut through all the jargon, "yella". But she's self-identifying as black and folks who have seen the movie think she's talented...and she's a looker. Good for her.

    Instead of presuming the worst of people, one can either a) take statements at their face value, or b) ask questions instead of making presumptions. Not being so pre-emptively judgemental, you might find the life is a little easier if you travel...lighter. Heh.

  • Quentin | December 17, 2011 9:26 PM

    Yes, seriously. Relax! People should be able to compliment each other on their physical features without the cynicism. Would it have been better if he said, "She's beautiful?"

  • bondgirl | December 17, 2011 10:34 AM

    Relax people...the man said he liked her visage, not all quadroon's. Good grief. And this is coming from someone who calls out colorism often, so I actually agree with the theme of your statements. However, I'd be lying if I said my visceral reaction wasn't the same as "Wow"; thought she was pretty, and I love her ringlets. I think the actress in I Am Slave is GORGEOUS as well. Maybe men should be encouraged to focus on complimenting the darker skinned women who deserve it, instead of castrated for the alternative. I keep vacillating on what the takeaway is here, since I'm a solutions-oriented person. If there should be any gripe, it should be on the "Dysfunctional Friends" post with the "attractive cast" comments considering 4 out of the 5 actresses are bi-racial, the 5th one LOOKS bi-racial, and the 6th girl is white. Anyway, it won't negate her accomplishments to be seen as attractive--in this business, it only helps even if she works offscreen. As a matter of fact, I'm on my way to see her film today, solely based on her interview (great job, Cynthia) and that I feel we share a like-minded philosophy, industry struggle, and optimism. Not based on those adorable curls.

  • Nadine | December 17, 2011 10:09 AM

    JMAC is probably just saying that Stapleton's work is great...Her "looks" shouldn't trump her creativity...

  • Nadine | December 17, 2011 8:45 AM

    @THAT DUDE - because for women, one's level of attractiveness is like currency...a currency that, specifically in the US, is often times given higher value if you look more like the dominant culture than not. That currency can buy you kindness from others, openness to ideas, access to people who would be otherwise difficult to access, jobs and opportunities and even your way out of poverty. So, whether other women can articulate it or not, or are not articulating their thoughts, but their feelings by making more reactionary comments such as JMAC's (who may or may not be a woman), this is what they are likely noting. The fewer African features, the more likely you are to get complimented on your looks, if you are a woman, from Black people in the US. The opposite is true for men regarding their requirements for "attractiveness", but even then, their level of attractiveness is not based on facial features or "grade" of hair. Their level of attractiveness can be altered in ways that do not change what they were born with (confidence, level of success, exercise - no konk required).

    This lovely young lady, I'm sure, looks ambiguous...and that's fine. You've gotta love all the "sisters" and I'm glad she is getting support from Shadow & Act, but she could be Turkish, Latina, from Spain, anywhere, but not from West and Central Africa where most African Diasporic Americans can trace their roots including the manifestation of their current physical selves.

    I don't want this topic to bastardize Alex Stapleton's well-deserved posting, but I thought I should add what, I THINK, JMAC was eluding to... I don't even know if my statement applies, but that was my interpretation of JMAC's comment given my lens.

  • that dude | December 17, 2011 6:03 AM

    re: the comment below - why does complimenting her looks negate everything else about her?

  • Jmac | December 16, 2011 8:48 PM

    And that's all that matters. Sigh...

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