Chat w/ Faraday Okoro, director of 'Nigerian Prince'

NIGERIAN PRINCE, directed by Faraday Okoro, is the first winning film from AT&T Presents: Untold Stories created by AT&T and Tribeca. NIGERIAN PRINCE follows Eze, a stubborn first generation Nigerian-American teenager, and his cousin, Pius, a desperate Nigerian Prince scammer. After Eze’s mother sends him to Nigeria against his will, Eze retaliates by teaming up with Pius to scam unsuspecting foreigners in order to earn money for a return ticket back to America. The film is currently in theaters and available on demand.

We had a chat with Faraday, here are the excerpts.

  • How did you come up with the idea for this interesting and compelling tale of deception, passion, and self-discovery?

o    The idea came to me while I was working in a computer lab in college. I realized I could tell a story that was both thrilling and personal. 

  • What was the most challenging and most rewarding part of making this film?

o    For me, the most challenging part of filmmaking is finding funding. The most rewarding part is screening the film.

  • What role does being from an immigrant family, and being a person-of-color play in your storytelling?

o    It plays a huge role. I want to tell films that not only included people of color; I also want to portray them honestly.

  • What's next on your plate?

o    I’ve started working on several new projects. Since I’m still developing these films, I can’t talk about them just yet.

  • What are your favorite filmmakers, films, and TV shows?

o    The Remains of the Day, Schindler’s List, The Thin Red Line, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Animal Kingdom, Michael Clayton, The Apartment, The Verdict, Half Nelson, Chinatown, Dr. Strangelove, Jackie Brown, Crimes and Misdemeanors, just to name a few.

  • What's your practical advice to other aspiring filmmakers and storytellers?

o    I think aspiring filmmakers should learn about the history, craft, and business of filmmaking, and watch as many films as they can. Also, I think aspiring filmmakers should soak up as much knowledge (politics, literature, sports, music, science, etc.) as possible in order to tell stories that are thought provoking and entertaining.

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ABOUT FARADAY OKORO

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Faraday Okoro is a New York City based Nigerian-American filmmaker. Named after Michael Faraday, a 19th century English physicist and chemist, the idea of pursuing a career in science has been instilled in Faraday since birth. Though, despite his upbringing and name for that matter, Faraday was inspired to pursue a career in filmmaking after watching 20 minutes of the film Road to Perdition.

He graduated cum laude from Howard University, a historically black college in the heart of Washington, DC. At Howard, he was awarded the Trustees’ Scholarship, which allowed him to attend college tuition-free. Currently, Faraday is completing an MFA in filmmaking at NYU’s Graduate Film Program, where he is a recipient of the Peter D. Gould Scholarship.

Faraday’s debut short film Full-Windsor has screened in 14 major film festivals, including the Los Angeles Film Festival, Austin Film Festival, Chicago International Film Festival, Seattle International Film Festival and the Montreal World Film Festival. His short film Blitz premiered at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival and was also selected to the Palm Springs International Shortfest. Additionally, his work has aired nationally on PBS Television and GaiamTV, and is streaming online via Indieflix. In 2016, Faraday was included in MovieMaker Magazine/Austin Film Festival’s 25 Screenwriters To Watch list.

Faraday is the inaugural recipient of AT&T / Tribeca Film Institute’s ‘Untold Stories’ prize, a $1 million production grant intended to support underrepresented filmmakers in the making of their first feature film.

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You can listen to the full chat/podcast of our conversation with Faraday below (updated 10/26).

 

"THUNDER ROAD" sets Theatrical Release in October!

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SXSW 2018 FEATURE GRAND JURY WINNER THUNDER ROAD SETS OCTOBER THEATRICAL RELEASE DATES


Vanishing Angle, in association with The 10 East Pictures, and with the support of Sundance Institute’s Creative Distribution Fellowship, will distribute the SXSW 2018 Grand Jury Winning Feature Film THUNDER ROAD in theaters beginning on October 12th as an exclusive engagement with Alamo Drafthouse Theaters. The film will expand further theatrically on October 19th and release for sale and rental on October 26th; it is currently available to pre-order on iTunes.  On September 13th, the film released theatrically in France to critical acclaim and this Sunday, September 23rd, it will be participating in Art House Convergence’s Art House Theater Day, playing in select theaters across the country.

Written by, directed by, and starring first-time feature director Jim Cummings, THUNDER ROAD is based on the 2016 Sundance Film Festival Short Film Grand Jury Prize winning film of the same name. THUNDER ROAD centers on Jim Arnaud, a Texan police officer, as he struggles to raise his daughter as a love letter to his late mom. It is a tragicomic portrait of a failing figure of authority in America.

Beyond its success at SXSW, THUNDER ROAD has been a festival favorite both internationally and domestically. The film was in the top five best reviewed films at Cannes this year where it premiered internationally. Most recently it was awarded the Grand Prix at Deauville American Film Festival in France. THUNDER ROAD has also received the New Directors Grand Jury Award at Nashville Film Festival, the New American Cinema Grand Jury Award at Seattle International Film Festival, the Narrative Feature Jury Prize at the Indie Street Film Festival, and the Best Feature Award at the Sidewalk Film Festival.

THUNDER ROAD stars Cummings, Kendal Farr, Nican Robinson, Jocelyn DeBoer, and Macon Blair. The film is produced by Natalie Metzger, Zack Parker, and Benjamin Wiessner. It is executive produced by Matt Miller of Vanishing Angle.

Writer/director/producer/actor Jim Cummings was selected for Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film in 2012. Jim has also written and directed the Topic original series STILL LIFE, episodes of which have been Vimeo Staff-Picks, and the Fullscreen original series THE MINUTES COLLECTION, recently featured by FilmStruck and select episodes screened at Sundance and SXSW.

Vanishing Angle is an independent studio based in Los Angeles. Previously, VA distributed the successful, 35mm only, theatrical release of Dennis Hauck’s TOO LATE starring Academy Award nominee John Hawkes. Vanishing Angle will also be releasing Patrick Wang’s A BREAD FACTORY PART 1 and A BREAD FACTORY PART 2 on October 26th, and Wang’s previous film THE GRIEF OF OTHERS on November 2nd, in New York and Los Angeles. THE GRIEF OF OTHERS was produced by Cummings, Miller, and Wiessner.

This is a first-time collaboration between Vanishing Angle and the newly formed Texas-based production company The 10 East Pictures, founded by producer Zack Parker to facilitate the next generation of independent filmmakers.

For more information visit www.thunderroadfeature.com

Array’s “Teach Us All” by director Sonia Lowman - Bradley Poindexter: In his own words

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In his own words.  The young man looking at you is Bradley Poindexter.  His story is part of the remarkable documentary by first-time director Sonia Lowman “Teach Us All” which is now available on Netflix. 

This powerful documentary was acquired by Ava Duvernay’s distribution company —  ARRAY RELEASING which is a film collective that the  “A Wrinkle In Time” director started several years ago.

“Teach Us All” is about the social justice movement on educational inequality set against the backdrop of the 1957 Little Rock school desegregation crisis. Timed to coincide with the 60th anniversary of that event, “Teach Us All” seeks to build the capacity of students and educators to take leadership in carrying forth the legacy of the Little Rock Nine while activating broader community engagement in today’s urgent movement for educational equity.

Lowman is an educated woman with a heart for service. Her background is impressive and it’s important to highlight that she’s only in her very early 30’s.  As the director of Director of Communications for the Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes, she’s worked in myriad international contexts that included: managing communications for International Medical Corps, a humanitarian relief organization with operations in 30-plus countries; running an International Monetary Fund youth outreach initiative in the Middle East for Arab university students; and contributing to policy papers on international women’s rights for several NGOs, including the United Nations. Plus she holds a Master’s degree in International Relations from the London School of Economics.

So, it’s little wonder that Ava Duvernay connected with this particular film because amongst the cold hard facts that make “Teach Us All” important viewing there are several sound solutions offered by well-versed educators that should be very seriously reviewed. 

Another exciting aspect that arose from the film was watching how the youth—in schools across the country—are educating themselves individually and as a group, and challenging the system.  There is more than hope—there is a movement.  

One of the students that left a mark was an African American youth, Bradley Poindexter, who grew up in one of the poorest sections of Little Rock, Arkansas. In painting a picture of his young life, he noted that he knew more people who “died” tragically than was in his High School class. 

At the time of posting this story Bradley Poindexter now a former student from Little Rock, Arkansas, joined the military and he is currently serving as a Security Forces Member of the U.S. Air Force.  It’s also interesting to note that prior to joining the armed forces, Bradley was an advocate for Educational Equity, working with education initiative Noble Impact in Little Rock.

“Teach Us All” is more than just a documentary to entertain you on Netflix— it’s a window into what can be done; must be done to make a positive change in the United States Public Educational system. In short, it’s movement.

"Teach Us All" an Array Releasing film. Now playing on Netflix.

A chat with Gurinder Chadha, director of Viceroy's House

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Gurinder Chadha is one of the UK’s most proven and respected Film Director and Producers. Her award-winning films – Bend It Like BeckhamBride and PrejudiceAngus Thongs and Perfect Snogging, and others – have earned over $300 million. Her latest film – Viceroy’s House, Starring Hugh Bonneville, Gillian Anderson, Huma Qureshi, Manish Dayak and Om Puri – releases worldwide on September 1, 2017.

We had an opportunity to talk with Gurinder, where we discussed about what inspired her to make this film, what were the challenges and lessons of making this film. She shared her thoughts on Indian history, and her own history as a Kenyan-British-Indian. She also talked about diversity and inclusion in Hollywood and her own struggles, even today. And at the end gave some wonderful advice on how to support and promote diversity and inclusion.

Watch the video below for the full interview:

Viceroy's House is British-Indian historical drama film directed by Gurinder Chadha and written by Paul Mayeda BergesMoira Buffini, and Chadha. The film stars Hugh BonnevilleGillian AndersonManish DayalHuma Qureshi, and Michael Gambon

Checkout more at the link below:
http://benditnetworks.com/filmography/viceroy/

And checkout the movie trailer below: