BY ZEHRA PHELAN
US director Tim Reid on the success of Nigerian films and the need for dramas that don’t paint black people as victims
MULTI-AWARD winning actor, director and producer Tim Reid recently partnered up with the British Film Institute through his initiative, the Legacy Media Institute.
The partnership saw the acclaimed TV star bring young filmmakers together for a two-week intensive filmmaker’s workshop, which culminated in a short film that was presented to an audience on its closing day.
Reid, best known for his roles in the television shows Sister Sister and Frank’s Place hosted the final day, which featured discussions around the theme ‘The birth and legacy of race movies in the US’.
Here, he discusses his love-hate relationship with slavery dramas and explains why Nollywood has created a model for how to market black films.
What inspired you to start the Legacy Media Institute project?
I meet a lot of young kids who are in communication programmes in colleges in America who come to my studio to try to get work. I ask them what it is they are proficient in and they say ‘I’m a producer, director’. Then I ask them if they have ever done it before and they say, ‘No, I’ve just got out of school.’ So I’m like, ‘Why would I hire you? You have no skills.’
These kids think they can come out of school and get an entry-level job and get right to work making television shows. So I wanted to create something that would give me an opportunity to interact with the new, emerging filmmakers and see if I could be inspired by them, or inspire them to focus on cultural content that would be more useful to viewers in an entertaining way.
This is your third year of bringing the project to the UK. How does working with budding UK filmmakers compare to working with those in the US?
It’s not that large an organisation to build those kinds of comparisons, but I will make a comparison that I think the writers that I have come into contact with here in England are better writers than the writers in America, in terms of the kind of stories they are seeking to tell.
Black, American up-and-coming filmmakers are always focusing on how the environment, the culture, the police or the community affects them and it’s kind of the victimisation story at certain levels. Writers in the UK are writing about how they affect their environment. As a filmmaker, I find that far more interesting.
Read the rest of the interview as published on Young Voices.