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Interview: The Creative Team Behind 'Roubado' (Tale Of Afro-Portuguese Teen In South of France)

Interviews
by Masha Dowell
September 26, 2013 10:23 AM
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I’ve never been a parent, so the statement that I am about to make can be held up for objection. Then again, maybe some people will be able to relate to my belief.

Filmmaking is a lot like creating a family. I’m not speaking in terms of traditional gender roles; but moreover, like duty wise; like mission wise.

All filmmaking differs; but in general terms, the producers find people to create a story via film. They then locate the writers; the director, and the talent. The actors are comparable to being the children of the family. The comparisons could go on. Overall, in creating something; the whole family learns.

The point that I’d like to make is that in my few years as a filmmaker, and actress, all my projects have been a complete film family effort. I’m fortunate to have been able to play multiple roles in filmmaking from producer/director, talent, to press.

This brings me to my collective interview with the crew behind the new French-American film, “Roubado”. The project serves as the USC thesis film for graduate student filmmaker Erica Watson. We actually covered the projects Kickstarter campaign a few weeks ago on the site. The creative team consists of Erica Watson (Director/Writer), Daniel Willis (Producer), Tierney Young (Producer), Joshua Clark (Producer), and Tommy Maddox-Upshaw (cinematographer), and Brian Rhodes (storyboard artist).

It is my hope to achieve the following with this interview: 1) Paint an honest picture of the collective efforts of filmmaking. 2) Give you some information about the project. 3) Allow you the opportunity to get involved with the financing of this film via Kickstarter.

Shadow and Act: Erica, you conjured up the idea of your film in France. Tell us the back story.

Erica Watson: I’ve always been interested in the loss of innocence of young black men.  I met a young Afro-Portuguese photographer on the streets of Cannes in 2011.  He was 16 years old then.  He didn’t even speak English, but somehow, we connected and he did an impromptu photo shoot of me in the middle of the street.  I thought it was interesting how some of his experiences as a young black man in Cannes paralleled that of my teenaged nephews here in America.  He inspired me to create this character.  

Shadow and Act: As producers of the film; why did you three decide to get involved?

Daniel Willis: I responded to the writing immediately and I connected with the themes Erica is wrestling with in the piece. I think it’s a story that demands to be made and one that needs to be seen.

Tierney Young: painted this vivid image of an Afro-Portuguese family living in France.

Joshua Clark:  The opportunity to convey a truthful and accurate story that can influence, change, or improve the lives of people is all the motivation that I need.

Shadow and Act: Brian and Tommy, can you tell us about your roles?  

Brian Rhodes: I am in animation, and want to move into directing for both animation and live action.  I was immediately attracted to the project because of its powerful portrayal of black youth and a struggle that affects families globally.  

Tommy Maddox-Upshaw: I’m the projects cinematographer. I was attracted to this film because it provided a different expression of black culture for me to explore. I’ve been a camera operator of several films; one foreign film in Asia. It was a great experience for me. The key to making a foreign film is to remain flexible because of all of the cultural differences.

Shadow and Act: Tell us about your Kickstarter campaign? Have you raised funds collectively?

Erica Watson: We’re 81% funded. We have 3 days to go. The entire goal for the film is $23,000 USD, but Kickstarter is a site where if you don’t meet your entire goal, then you don’t get any of the money. So we decided to aim for raising $10,000 USD.  

Shadow and Act: What action steps can interested readers take to help make this film happen? Not everyone has the money to give; but they may have resources that they can share.

Daniel Willis: Beyond financial support, we’re open to developing creative partnerships with any person or organization interested in backing our cause.  We’d also like to build relationships with community and activist groups as a part of our screening and distribution strategy.

Tierney Young: Roubado is a compelling story that involves many underlying issues – one being child abuse. The great thing about Kickstarter is that it brings people together on projects from all over.

Joshua Clark: This story has global importance for youth of all ages trying to define themselves in an adult world.  A contribution to this film is a contribution to the freedom of young people to be who they are.

Make a contribution to the Kickstarter campaign for Roubado HERE.  

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