Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
The Gift That Keeps on Giving - Leaked Sony Email Challenges Denzel Washington's Overseas Box Office Appeal The Gift That Keeps on Giving - Leaked Sony Email Challenges Denzel Washington's Overseas Box Office Appeal Backlash Against New VH1 Series 'Sorority Sisters' Backlash Against New VH1 Series 'Sorority Sisters' Tessa Thompson Books Female Lead Role in Ryan Coogler's 'Creed' Opposite Michael B. Jordan Tessa Thompson Books Female Lead Role in Ryan Coogler's 'Creed' Opposite Michael B. Jordan Why Aren’t We Talking About the Sexual Assault in 'Beyond the Lights'? Why Aren’t We Talking About the Sexual Assault in 'Beyond the Lights'? Page to Screen Possibilities for Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's 'Americanah' (Lupita Nyong'o, David Oyelowo Starring) Page to Screen Possibilities for Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's 'Americanah' (Lupita Nyong'o, David Oyelowo Starring) David Oyelowo Joins Lupita Nyong’o in 'Americanah' Film Adaptation David Oyelowo Joins Lupita Nyong’o in 'Americanah' Film Adaptation Leaked Sony Emails Reveal Interest in Destiny's Child Biopic + Immersive Kanye West Feature Film Experience Leaked Sony Emails Reveal Interest in Destiny's Child Biopic + Immersive Kanye West Feature Film Experience Weekend B.O. Dec. 12-14 (So How’s That Boycott Working for Ya?) Weekend B.O. Dec. 12-14 (So How’s That Boycott Working for Ya?) FX Orders Comedy Pilot on Atlanta Hip-Hop Scene From & Starring Donald Glover FX Orders Comedy Pilot on Atlanta Hip-Hop Scene From & Starring Donald Glover Chadwick Boseman, David Oyelowo, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Rosario Dawson, Others Share Kisses in NY Times Shorts Chadwick Boseman, David Oyelowo, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Rosario Dawson, Others Share Kisses in NY Times Shorts What Sony Pictures Chief Amy Pascal Should Do if She Sincerely Wants to Make Amends What Sony Pictures Chief Amy Pascal Should Do if She Sincerely Wants to Make Amends Ava DuVernay Earns Her Way Into the History Books - First Black Woman Director to Be Nominated for a Golden Globe Award Ava DuVernay Earns Her Way Into the History Books - First Black Woman Director to Be Nominated for a Golden Globe Award Woody Allen Says He Won’t Hire a Black Actor Unless the Role Calls for One... Whatever That Means Woody Allen Says He Won’t Hire a Black Actor Unless the Role Calls for One... Whatever That Means Will You Join The Boycott 'Exodus' Movement? (Or You Don't Care) Will You Join The Boycott 'Exodus' Movement? (Or You Don't Care) My MoviePass Experience - What Works & What Could Be Improved (The Movie Theater Subscription Service) My MoviePass Experience - What Works & What Could Be Improved (The Movie Theater Subscription Service) Co-Screenwriter of 'Noah' Explains Why There Are No Black People Or POC In The Film Co-Screenwriter of 'Noah' Explains Why There Are No Black People Or POC In The Film 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) Will Smith Explains Why Willow Smith Dropped Out Of 'Annie' Remake Will Smith Explains Why Willow Smith Dropped Out Of 'Annie' Remake 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...

Interview: Dehanza (Daye) Rogers Talks 'Sweet, Sweet Coutry' (Gbenga Akinnagbe Co-Stars)

Shadow and Act By Masha Dowell | Shadow and Act April 12, 2013 at 12:54PM

Interview: Dehanza (Daye) Rogers Talks 'Sweet, Sweet Coutry' (Gbenga Akinnagbe Co-Stars)
3
Dehanza (Daye) Rogers

Nowadays, when someone mentions film and television in Atlanta, Georgia, instant mental images may flash to the ever so popular Real Housewives of Atlanta, the various BET shows shot in the city, or to a delicious southern story like Tina Mabry’s Mississippi Dammed.

However, if you look a little closer, you’ll find an often forgotten story of the city, the immigrant’s story. It is estimated that the number of foreign-born residents in Georgia is nearly 1 million. One of the top ten immigrant segments in the United States.

Director Dehanza (Daye) Rogers brings to us an enlightening story in her film, Sweet, Sweet, Country.  The film has been an official selection at the 2013 PAFF, the Atlanta Film Festival, and was featured at the 2013 LACMA Young Directors Night. It was executive produced by Rogers, Gbenga Akinnagbe, and Doug Turner.

The film’s synopsis:

With her parents and younger siblings living in a refugee camp in Kenya, 20 year-old Ndizeye struggles to support not only herself, but provide for a family she’s not seen in five years. Living in a small southern town, her struggle becomes so much more when her family literally shows up at her doorstep.

Shadow and Act: Why did you decide to tell a story from Clarkston?

DR: I'm from the South. The American Tale includes the Refugee Tale and the Immigrant Tale. I knew about Clarkston when I lived in Georgia but the bulk of my research occurred after I left.  The New York Times' called Clarkston the most diverse 1.1 square mile in the country.

Shadow and Act: Can you tell us about your casting process? 

DR: We cast completely in Atlanta except for the love interest, Ernest played Gbenga Akinnagbe.  We found Danielle Deadwyler, our lead, in a general casting call. She knew our casting director via Facebook and connected that way.  I had been talking with another actor while in LA, but Danielle came in and blew our minds.  When she left the room, she just sucked all the air right out with her.  We were just dumbfounded by her talent.  

I knew I wanted Gbenga for the male lead.  His character grew out of my fascination with his role of Chris Partlow, in The Wire. Gbenga read the script, liked it and he and I conversed via Twitter for a minute and met for lunch when he came to LA some months before we shot.  

Shadow & Act: Can you tell us more about your team in Atlanta?

DR: I met our casting director, Vivia Armstrong via Twitter and she put me in touch with Autumn Ford, who would become our co-producer.  After meeting Autumn she connected us with so many people and resources.  I wasn't doing film when I lived in Georgia so coming home was also about building networks and relationships within the community. We also found support from my alma mater, Georgia State University (GSU). I connected with a UCLA alum, Sheldon Schiffer, who now teachers at GSU!  We found some of our crew there. 

Shadow and Act: Can you talk a bit about the music composition of your film?

DR: I choose the music for the film.  We were fortunate to find support from some really great artists. I’ve been partial to West and North African music for some time now. We used the following artists: Blitz the Ambassador (http://blitz.mvmt.com/), Ian Kamau (http://www.iankamau.com/) , Salam, Senegalese (http://www.last.fm/music/Salam/_/Drogue) and Habib Koité (http://www.habibkoite.com/).

Shadow and Act: This was a student film. You are currently obtaining your MFA in filmmaking at UCLA. Can you tell us about assembling your LA producing team?

DR: My goal was to find people who were willing to buy into my story and what I wished to create. That's a big step and the most important.  With my AD, who came on as a Producer, it was about finding someone I absolutely trusted. Other directors usually make great producers, since they truly understand what a director needs and how to make the process of filmmaking painless for the director.

Shadow and Act: Can you tell us about your upcoming projects?

DR: I'll be returning to Atlanta to direct a short written by Atlanta-based screenwriter Gabrielle Fulton named 'Ir/Reconcilable' & am in prepping for my thesis film, The Youth. 

You can learn more about “Sweet, Sweet Country”, at www.sweetsweetcountry.com.

Here's a trailer:

Sweet, Sweet Country Trailer from dehanza rogers on Vimeo.

This article is related to: Gbenga Akinnagbe


Shadow & ActNewsletter