Backtalk with Antoine Fuqua

Director shares his motivation for launching his film program for Brooklyn youth


What tactics will you use to reach kids who don’t seem to have basic skills or motivation?

The biggest thing is that for any kids, you have to put it in front of them. It has to be tangible. Sometimes all they get to see is basketball players and rappers. A lot of these kids lose interest. If I can find what their interests are and what their weaknesses might be, I can help them make films. I’m hoping to get kids from eighth grade going into ninth grade. It will give me a chance to watch them for four years and help them develop and see what they might need help in.

What would you say are the challenges African American directors face?

There are a lot of different challenges. One is getting financing for your vision, for the stories you want to tell. That is difficult for any director, but if you’ve got a film that you want to make dealing with the black experience, you will find it very difficult to find people who have any interest in that. We need more black filmmakers absolutely, but what we need is more people of color with some money who are willing to invest in filmmakers they believe in. The controlling factor always is who is writing the check.

This article originally appeared in the May 2010 issue of Black Enterprise magazine.

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