ABOUT THE ARTISTS
1. Why did you submit to the Fourth Annual chashama Film Festival?
Steve: “I passed by the festival last year during the festival and I met Rick, we talked a bit and advised me to submit next year. Two years later and with our new release, To Be King, we’ve been selected to screen at the chashama Film Festival.”
2. Where was the most favorite place where your work was shown abroad? If it hasn’t been shown abroad, where would you like it to be shown?
The film premiered overseas at the Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival in September.
Nigel: “Going there, I wasn’t sure what to expect but when I arrived and saw the attention the film has received amazed me. They fell in love with the film. It was electric, it was a great turnout. Other than appearing at the Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival, To Be King opens in Delaware on November 10th and in New York City at the chashama Film Festival on November 11th at 9PM. Then we’re at it again the following week kicking off the New York International Film Festival on November 18th 2011. It’s been an incredible experience with this film. We guarantee you’ll love it.”
3. Are you glad that your work is going to be shown in NYC?
Steve: “Absolutely. I’ve been waiting for this chance to premiere at chashama for over two years now. NYC is important for us.”
Nigel: ”It really hits home to be in the big Apple. It’s survival, and when you have your peers love the work you do and can show genuine love, then you know they’re right in the trenches with you to make a film that people actually like.”
4. What is the best part about participating in a festival that facilitates discussion with international artists?
Steve: “Getting feedback about your film – audience members give you the most insight on your work. When you see the audience react and clap at the end of the show you know you’ve done something good.”
Nigel: “We love meeting and speaking to people who’ve seen the film. It’s important to see the different views from the audience. Sometimes we learn something new about the work just from someone’s personal view and attachment with what they’ve seen.”
ABOUT A RESPONSE TO THE FESTIVAL
1. What is it about chaos that is most upsetting to you?
Steve: “The theme that we went with in the film To Be King is redemption. We built so many characters in the film, and redemption is the theme within itself – regaining trust or expressing power. The involvement of each character, boyfriend or girlfriend, mother and father, they all find redemption. In our case with the film, redemption leads to closure.”
2. What’s the most rapid social change that you have ever seen?
The economy, social media.
Nigel: “For me, social media has been the biggest change. Once social media was created, it brought a lot of people in contact with friends and family that you never thought you’d cross.”
3. How do you find strength in instability?
Nigel: “I find that what breaks you makes you stronger. If things aren’t stable all the time, we deal with the unseen. The things that come up in life, you have to evaluate and come up to a solution. When the first sign of instability comes, you’re not going to be ready for it, and you are going to find strength.”
4. What do you do to divert disaster?
Steve: “While shooting the film in the last six months, we’ve seen our share of disaster. We lost the owner of the gym where we were filming. Jimmy O’Pharrow of Starrett City Boxing. It was a tough setback. Jimmy was a legend in the boxing world. He helped us in ring work and let us have full access to an historical place.”
Nigel: “We had a couple more days of shooting and my mother, Ismay Harvey, passed away. During the filming to To Be King, her cancer took a turn for the worse, I became a whole caretaker. I didn’t want her in the nursing home or a hospital. I had the support of my girlfriend who sacrificed so I could come to New York from Delaware to finish the movie. It was hard, but my mother always said that she wanted the film to be done. I was a firm believer in her love and spirit and we felt her there every minute, even after she had passed away.
Steve: “After the premiere at the Long Island film festival in Bay Shore, we met a beautiful young lady, Kaiya Kukura, who came with her mother to the show. She told us how much the film inspired her to pursue an acting career. We encouraged as we always do. We learned that she passed away a week later. Our prayers go out to Jimmy O’Pharrow, Ismay Harvey and Kaiya Kukura.”
5. If you could make a community more peaceful, what would be fulfilling about it?
There should be less fighting, more love, less discrimination. No more war. That would be a dream. Everyone could live together. Life would be so much different if we didn’t have hatred for each other.
ABOUT YOUR FILM
1. How did you choose your thematic material?
Steve: “Nigel pitched the story in 2008 and we began filming in January of 2011. This film turned out to be a real blessing. It involves the things that come into play with us everyday and the struggles at force us to become fighters.
Nigel: “There are things that everyone is going through and we made it our point to tell a story of a journey of finding yourself.”
2. How do you work with actors? Or how do you choose your interview subjects?
Steve: “Working with actors can be hit or miss and as a filmmaker we know this is true. I must say the actors in this film, Nigel Harvey, Frank Merlino, Rosie Moss, Tommy Clohessy, Miriam Morales, Kamel Goffin, LoDeon and a handful of others have impressed me. This film is no Hollywood Project, it’s an independent feature film with Hollywood caliber actors and actresses, who gave a 1000% to this film. Never have I been more proud to work with such talented people who were willing to learn and teach me a thing or two along the way.”
3. How did you choose the crew on the film?
Steve: “Some of the people that I’ve worked with in the past. Nigel Havery was in the last film, Bloodline. As well as being the lead actor in the film, Nigel helped produce the film. We had one lighting guy, Julian Conde who made every scene pop with colors. Myself and Julian did the majority of the filming. We kept the boom mounted to the camera. It’s a style I preferred to use since the beginning of my film career.”
4. Why did you choose to make a film that length?
To Be King runs 1 hour and 42 minutes. It could’ve been longer, we shot the material but we wanted to keep the audience involved and never get bored. It could have gone on for two hours if we wanted it to. After are screenings we’ve learnt that if it went 2 hours, no one would have noticed. It moves at a brisk pace with plenty of action and story.
5. What is the most compelling image in your film?
The relationship between the father and daughter. It shows what men go through to fight for their families. It would make a grown man tear up – it’s fantastic. See what we’re talking about. To Be King, Friday, November 11, 9:00PM at 217 East 42nd Street.
Text compiled by Marcina Zaccaria