Coming up in three weeks is the GloryReelz Christian Film Festival in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It’s a great festival with a great lineup of films. Today’s interview with M. Legend Brown is the first of a series of interviews introducing some of the filmmaers and speakers festured at GloryReelz. We kick off with A Man Called Jon filmmaker M. Legend Brown, an incredibly talented man who uses film as a way to address difficult subjects.
When did you first develop an interest in filmmaking?
I remember going to the movies to see Lean on Me and that film touched me so much. I remember walking home saying to myself, “I want to make films like that!” Moving forward when I turned thirty five years old. I was working for a small Mom and Pops company. I had been making films for a while and winning awards. I clearly remember leaving a film festival having won an award and receiving all kinds of accolades, and then Monday morning I was back on the day job. I prayed and asked God to allow me to do this full time.
Tell us about your earliest work.
I love the passion we had with our beginning films, telling stories that had a social impact along with an entertainment value. We tackled subject such as AIDS and abuse.
What led to the transition from short films to features?
I had been making shorts for a while, and I read an article that said black men only make short films, and I was making my sixth short film. I decided after that I was going to make a feature film and failed. After failing trying to make my feature film. I decided to walk away from the business. After about three months, I started writing again, and a good friend of mine asked me to direct her seven minute short film. I did and then decided to do my last short which I considered to be my thesis short film. I felt that I had learned how to tell a short film and I now needed to make my mark in the feature world. I believed I was ready.
Where do you get the inspiration for your films?
What’s been the response to your films?
Everyone has enjoyed all the films especially, A Man Called Jon.
How do you find your actors?
I often search my local area and I look for recognizable faces to fill in the gaps.
What is your ultimate goal that you hope to accomplish as a filmmaker?
I hope to continue to spread the message of Jesus Christ through my art as well as turn the mirror to the public to show them how they behave.
What advice would you offer beginning filmmakers?
Get a mentor and do better when you know better.
I really enjoy storytelling, and I think you have to really understand the art of Show as well as Business. You really need to have an idea of how you plan to roll out your film to be a success. I also believe you should work really hard on branding you and your company to be a success in this market place called entertainment.
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To learn more about GloryReelz Christian Film Festival and to register for this exciting event, visit the website or read my article from when we attended in 2014. Providence will also be screening at the festival and I’ll be teaching a filmmaking workshop. Hope to see you there!