Cakes Da Killa’s Visibility Sucks (excerpt from short film)
What was your first professionally directed work and when was it?
The first professional film I directed was the “New Heights” closing film, which was shot in September 2020.
How did you get into directing?
I got into directing very young. I used to film my brothers and family members in little short films I would make up on the spot. I remember on Christmas break once, when I was 10, I put my brothers in the leftover Halloween costumes and just started piecing together a story. I don’t think it was very fun for them but I had a blast.
What is your most recent project?
I wrote and directed the feature film Bruiser, which recently premiered at TIFF, and is having its US Premiere at AFI fest on Nov 4th. The film takes a hard look at the effects of toxic masculinity on a boy desperate for parental guidance. Featuring performances from Jalyn Hall, Shamier Anderson, and Moonlight’s Trevante Rhodes, Bruiser contends with healing from legacies of violence.
What is the best part of being a director?
The best part of being a director is the collaboration. You’re talking with people every day, all day in order to figure out a way to create something that didn’t previously exist. I love the social aspect and building relationships with other people.
What is the worst part of being a director?
I think the worst part of being a director is that you’re battling every element. You’re literally fighting nature, money limitations, and human limitations. You’re constantly trying to achieve something at the behest of these elements, which can be frustrating. You have to know when to be controlling and when to pivot. Then again, that can also be quite liberating and forces you to come up with creative solutions to impossible problems.
What is your current career focus: commercials and branded content, television, movies? Do you plan to specialize in a particular genre–comedy, drama, visual effects, etc.?
My main focus, the dream, is to continue making things I write and direct. There’s a gap in filmmaking in terms of Black films and the films I want to see; so to keep making those is the goal.
What is your favorite movie? Your favorite television/online program? Your favorite commercial or branded content?
My favorite film is probably Come and See by Elem Klimov. My favorite TV show has got to be The Sopranos. My favorite commercial is the Nike “Write The Future” commercial Alejandro González Iñárritu directed for the World Cup.
Tell us about your background (i.e., where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
I graduated from Wesleyan University with a degree in film studies. My first job was actually with Team Bubbly as an intern, which eventually led to an Associate Producer role. I was inspired by filmmaking through YouTube and learned photo and video editing software on my own. Eventually, making short films became my obsession, and technology allowed me to learn the ropes outside of a formal education.
How has the pandemic impacted your career, art, craft, shaped your attitudes and reflections on life which in turn may influence your work, approach, spirit, mindset?
Being a child of the Internet, the pandemic didn’t really change much for me at all—I was already learning and doing, planning, etc., through the Internet. I was FaceTiming everyone anyway. Being in this generation…I think the pandemic messed up a lot of people not used to that lifestyle, but for me, I could still get every kind of learning tool and social connection online. It didn’t affect me that much. The only problem was the half a year where we couldn’t go anywhere, cause it was impossible to get out there and actually shoot!
Frank Siringo, firstname.lastname@example.org; Andres Rojas, email@example.com, www.teambubbly.com