Do remember the film Inkwell? It was released April 22, 1994 and had a cast of up and coming actors (actresses) such as Larenz Tate, Joe Morton, Suzzanne Douglas, Duane Martin, Glynn E. Turman, Jada Pinkett Smith and Vanessa Bell Calloway. The film didn't receive very great reviews and didn't do too well in the box office but then again consider the source... who exactly were the critics? Nicole Gagne of All Movie Guide states Inkwell is "a Charming comedy about a 16-year-old boy coming of age on Martha's Vineyard in the summer of 1976." It was written by Trey Ellis and Paris Qualles. Most of the cast members hailed from the popular show "A Different World." It was a coming of age film that depicted a young boy (Larenz Tate) searching for his identity. He comes in contact with challenges that force him to grow up a little bit and give him a taste of love.
The Director is none other than Matty Rich who is most noted for his film "Straight out of Brooklyn" which he directed when he was only 19 years old. He used some of the same tactics that Spike Lee used as far as financing his film. Spike Lee got money from the community, sponsors, and credit cards for most of his first films. Rich is a former student of Tich School of the Arts at NYU. He is quoted for saying that the faculty at the school was racist.
He'd later receive criticism from Spike Lee who called him "ignorant" because of his comments in regards to Tich. Rich was not discouraged when he chose to leave the school. He continued to pursue other means to gain funds for his film. He used a series of film screenings, donations, and credit cards to raise money for the film and earned a total of 77,000 dollars to complete the film. He also used a different strategy when it came to looking for actors as well. He didn't necessarily go for Hollywood A list actors but he opted for hiring non-professional actors. Some of his funding also came from the American Playhouse Theatrical Films sponsorship. You must have true dedication and a fearless work ethic to pull something off like that.
Some of you may be wondering... well who is Matty Rich? Matty Rich was born November 6, 1971 in Brooklyn, New York City. His full name is Matthew Statisfield Richardson. He grew up in the Red Hook Houses, a Brooklyn Housing Project. Rich's father was a Vietnam Veteran and could have been depicted in his film "Straight Out of Brooklyn" which displayed the father as angry at the world. The wife in the film was being battered by her husband but even still she stayed with him. The scene where she has a discussion with her daughter about how he (her husband) is just going through a lot and things aren't going well for him (and she must be there for him) provided a strong message. I'm not exactly sure that it was the right message in regards to the woman staying with her husband regardless of the fact that she's being beaten but it shows "staying power" in the sense that the "African American" woman stands by her man through it all. There are other scenes in the movie that are very raw but that gives the audience a clear look into the hardcore reality of Brooklyn, NY at that time. I'm very sure it has changed drastically since then but you still must be on top of your game before you step foot in Brooklyn.
During the time when the film was gaining a lot of attention and success people were comparing Rich with other new, young, talented African American Filmmakers at that time such as Spike Lee, John Singelton, Mario Van Peebles and the Hughes Brothers. These filmmakers were also being hailed for their films about "ghetto life." Rich's second film which we talked about earlier "Inkwell" was not very well received and was a commercial failure. Though Rich has not made another film since then, in 2005 he wrote and directed a video game "187 Ride or Die" which was also not a major success.
Very Classic Photo: Mario Van Pebbles, Matty Rich, Spike Lee
It would be great to see another film by Matty Rich. I'm not sure what he's working on at the moment or if he feels like Inkwell was it for him but obviously he has a love and a passion for film that cannot be duplicated by any other. There may be many directors and writers out there in Hollywood but it is important that we remain conscious of what is real and what is fabricated for commercial gain. That is why I love independent film because it gives us a tool as filmmakers that is limitless. It is another avenue that allows us as storytellers to tell the story as it was meant to be told without a chaser, without pumped up sexual innuendoes, and without unnecessary stereotypes. Where are the filmmakers ... but more importantly where are the storytellers? It is important to remember that our way of passing on history is different from the mainstream. Dating back to ancient time we as an African people tell our stories orally and that is why film is perfect for us.
In recent news, (well not that recent) Matty Rich marries Los Angeles Publicist Leah "Reid" Johnson at a private ceremony with friends and relatives on Saturday Jan. 19, 2008 in Los Angeles, CA.
Matty Rich Coming Back?
According to the Florida Star Matty Rich is said to be coming back with a vengeance.
When asked what he had in the works he replied “I was living in Europe for a little bit producing video games. Now that I’m back in the States I’m getting ready to do my next feature film. Then I have a TV show I created that we are getting ready to launch with Isaiah Washington. Man, I’m just back in the mix and I’m excited about it.”
Rich continues to explain how he thinks the industry has changed and how his attitude has changed towards the movie business:
Rich responds, “The industry has changed. Before, the making of a black film was an event. It was like Spike, Matty, John Singleton, the Hughes brothers but now it is limited. The black movies now don’t have that event factor and I think it has a lot to do with the current Hollywood system. Right now it seems like black cinema is in a box, (then he adds humor), it’s in a DVD box! We need to get it out of the DVD box and get it back to the big screen. That’s how I see the business has changed.”
Rich continues, “The great thing is that black filmmakers like me and the Hughes brothers are getting opportunities to make bigger movies. But sometimes bigger movies aren’t always the right things to do. I made my first movie for $77,000. It was good quality and it made it to the theaters but my second movie The Inkwell was made for $4 million. I don’t really think it’s about the number of the dollar signs, it’s about the quality. We as black film makers have kind of lost the whole thing about what is quality. Meanwhile the public isn’t spending the money on our films like they used to because the quality is kind of lax.”
When asked is there pressure on him because of his name and people expecting a certain thing out of him when he makes a movie? Rich shrugs, “Oooh yeah, I would be lying if I didn’t say that was true. I came on the scene so strong and then I just vanished. I left because I wanted to leave. I didn’t want to be this filmmaker with nine movies can then you are exhausted. People are tired of you and you are tired of yourself. So when I had the opportunity to go to Europe I’m like yo, I’m outta here! Now that I’m back I can speak French and I have a fresh eye.” Rich also emphasizes that young up and coming black filmmakers must go to school and really learn “how” to make a film.
Interview with Matty Rich courtesy of The Florida Star [article By Rych McCain/ email@example.com
Photos: Ried Johnson PR]
Photos: Ried Johnson PR]
DIRECT LINK to article HERE -----> [http://southwestconfections.com/content/?p=330]
As always remember to be "REEL" and stay on the MOVE!