I DON’T LIVE TODAY follows one night in the life of a Black abstract artist who has become disillusioned with the morally corrupt art world in New York City. On this night, Robeson has declared his exodus from the city and in doing so wanders the streets for one final time getting into misadventures that force him to face his own toxic hypocrisies.
Gant intends to unveil New York City with a focus on rarely seen parts of the city to reveal the fuller truth about his hometown where he has lived his whole life. The film is a modern-day morality fable that takes place in the darker ends of the New York arts economy, where the subjects of race, family, loyalty and ethics are put on trial.
Here’s excerpts from our chat with Mtume.
Why do you think it's important to get this film made at this time?
In today's world its important not only that we have films that address important issues - we have plenty of those - but films that are not going to shy away from looking at the harsh reality of these issues which I believe many films that purport to be socially relevant actively do. The issues we face of exploitation in all its forms are of incredible importance and as artists we have a duty when making a 90 minute film to not sugar coat. This film does not sugar coat one bit from form to function. We need to really step up our conversations in this country and add more urgency, this film will be vital in pushing that.
Why do you like about being a filmmaker and what does it mean to you?
I love the totality of cinema. I am a multi-disciplined artist who comes from a background of drama, music and literature so to be able to find a medium that can host all three in a complex way is incredible gratifying, you feel like their so much possibility when making cinema. It also means I have a lot of responsibility because the image is so vital to shaping minds in societies and our society that is obsessed with concepts like “representation.” People are shaping their lives off of the characters they see in cinema, so its my duty to not do what mainstream cinema is doing and providing people with false senses of humanity that placate and engineer people to believing the world is something other than it actually is.
Who are your favorite filmmakers that inspire you and why?
I have many. A few are Andrei Tarkovsky, Wendell B. Harris, Lucrecia Martel, John Cassavetes, Glauber Rocha, Bela Tarr, Krystoff Kieslowski, Lee Chang-dong and Lina Wertmueller. I could go with many more honestly. The reason why I say these names is because these people made films that exist beyond the market, this is cinema that stands as tall as the pyramids in Egypt, they made monuments of humanity. They expressed, not only their personal visions, but captured the pulse of the globe so it was never singular. I could talk about each one specifically but we would be here for hours. But just know that these filmmakers made pieces of art that will exist forever, out live social systems and social conventions, that are now a part of the human fabric wether they like it or not.
What's currently on your Netflix (or Amazon/Hulu) queue? What do you love about these shows?
I actually watch Filmstruck and Mubi more. I know it probably sounds pretentious but it's the truth. Last thing I watched on Netflix is Bojack Horseman, I do enjoy the snide commentary on Hollywoods decadence. Other than that I mostly watch the doc series on Netflix. On Amazon Prime I love that they have the Fandor extension I have been able to see a lot of great films, I just watched Tetsuo The Iron Man again, such a fantastic film. I also watched some films by Tsai Ming-liang, who is another filmmaker I have a great amount of respect for.
What's your most favorite and least favorite thing about NYC?
I grew up here and my favorite thing will always be the ability to walk and take mass transit, even with mass transit these days being as wonky as its ever been. I still feel like I have a certain amount physical freedom that I don’t feel in other cities like Los Angeles which always feel so confined and segregated. Much of it is illusion but life is perception. What I don’t like about NYC is how Capitalism has turned this city into a dreamland for those who have the money. The blatant disregard for the people who made this city what it was. New York is no longer what it was, artists can’t thrive here anymore. As a native I find the gentrification and constant answering to the bottom line of capital inhumane.
About Mtume Gant
Mtume has been circling the arts industry for decades as an actor of theatre and film. He travelled the world as a hip-hop artist under the name Core Rhythm, and now focuses on making socially aware films. Mtume’s previous short films SPIT and WHITE FACE have screened at numerous festivals garnering countless awards including New York City’s Coney Island, Bushwick, Harlem, Lower East Side, and in San Francisco, Woodstock, Aspen, Ashland, and Manchester.
I DON’T LIVE TODAY is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram as @IDLTFilm
and under the hashtag, #NoKingsHere
A crowdfunding campaign is currently on its final week offering a feature film to be executive produced by the Duplass Brothers. Mtume Gant’s I DON’T LIVE TODAY has just raised $20,000 reaching 50% of the campaign $40,000 goal.
In addition to raising the remaining funds, Gant and team must raise 1000 followers to successfully complete the campaign by October 17th 2018.
Individuals can visit the campaign page and click the FOLLOW button which is simple, easy, and free!