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BFM: Any final thoughts, any invitation
to the world of filmmakers? What part does New Millennium Studios
play in this future of returning to the basics and good old-fashioned
storytelling and independent thought? What role can New Millennium
play to facilitate that?
TR: I think the part we hope New Millennium
Studios will play in the future of independent filmmaking
be paralleled to slavery and freedom: the quest for freedom when
people who had no idea where Canada was on the map, had never even
heard of Canada, followed a thing called the North Star and traveled
hundreds of miles. Some traveled over a thousand miles to freedom
because in their heart, they had this incredible passion to be free,
to operate without the confinement of slavery and mental slavery
and being told when and where and what to do. Now, you say, "What
has that got to do with movie-making?" Well, in a sense, when
you get caught in the structure of something and feel that you cant
do something because it will not fit in with the going-way that
films are made (they have to be big-budget, they have to have this,
they have to that), youre getting yourself into mental slavery.
Youre being forced to create within a box, within a cage,
within all these mental things, these chains that people put on
you. And anybody who steps outside of that box and aims for that
North Star becomes a runaway, becomes a radical, just by mere fact
that you are going upstream. If we inspire a young person or an
old person for that matter who says "Tim took this shot. If
he can do it, I can do it." then maybe they may get further
than I got. But the fact that people are still inspired, the fact
that I, at this stage in my life, was inspired by Oscar Micheaux
who died in 1952. Almost fifty years, forty-some years later, Im
inspired by reading his life story, and Im going, "Oscar
Micheaux could do it!" Well, maybe fifty years from now, somebody
will be caught in this thing, and theyll read the story of
what weve done and say, "If Tim Reid could do it, I can."
And thats how independent filmmaking stays independent. Theres
always somebody, sitting somewhere in a little garage looking at
something going, "Well, wait a minute. I dont want to
do it that way!" And that person will utilize his passion and
his creativity and make a way to get through the maze, and it will
appear and be accepted. Then, weve served our purpose.
BFM: So, in closing, do you have any challenge
or invitation to your fellow filmmakers?
TR: Well, I mean, Id like to be able to
say to all the independent, particularly black filmmakers, to find
their way to New Millennium Studios and to try to help us build
something. But I know theyre all afraid. And I know theyre
afraid because the dominant culture of entertainment has made them
believe that if they come to a place like this, that they will be
outcast, or theyll be so far from entertainment. And they
forget that a group of Jewish guys were run out of New York because
they couldnt fit the New York model for moviemaking and plays.
They were forced to leave, and they went all the way across America
to a little place called California and a little town that was nothing
more than an outpost for oil rigs. And they created a thing called
Hollywood. Bunch of guys who had never done it before. And they
created an industry there that today everybodys telling you
cant be done anywhere else. Obviously theyre not reading
their own history because it can be done somewhere else. People
have to do it.
So maybe if enough people come to little Petersburg,
we can create an industry that fifty years, a hundred years from
now, will be all fat and rich and arrogant, and well be telling
people, "If you cant do it in Petersburg, it cant
be done! I heard about a guy named Tim Reid, and now Im going
somewhere else!" And theyll go to who knows where. Somewhere
down in Brown, Texas and build an industry, and who knows?
BFM: Well, it sounds like to moral of
your story has something to do with history.
TR: Yeah. History repeats itself.
BFM: You said something earlier this afternoon
that it doesnt necessarily have to.
TR: No. History doesnt have to repeat
itself. Thats the wonderful part. I dont want to get
religious, but it does get down to what people deem religion, and
that is the human brain, the human spirit is the only thing in the
universe that has a choice.
BFM: Free will?
TR: Free will. Humans have the will to create
any kind of environment they choose to create, and all it takes
is the will to do it. Were the only things that can do that.
So, just because history points to a circle of events, you can choose
not to be a part of that. You can say, "Im going to alter
that." How many times have we seen people go back in time machines,
and they tell you, "What ever you do dont touch anything
because it will alter history!" And theyre right. You
touch anything, it alters history. Well, we can alter history just
by touching our own spirit and saying, "Im going to do
whats right for me, whats in my character, what I feel
passion about." And if you do that, you change history, or
you become history. If you dont, you get caught up in history,
and you keep repeating the same thing over and over again, and youre
a part of the same thing over and over. Youre like all these
people following the same thing. You vote the way the masses vote.
You dress the way the masses dress. You buy the latest Pokemon card.
The next Christmas thing that comes out, you stand in line and fight
and kill each other, so you can spend your money, take your kid
this toy that he probably wont remember twenty minutes later
anyway because youre a mass thinker. Youve given up
your free will. And that to me is the only thing left to really
your free will. You can call it religion or whatever,
but were the only ones that got it. So use it. Cause
when its gone, you dont get it back.
Martin Jones is an independent producer and Tim
Reids partner at New Millennium Studios. His feature credits
include Asunder and Nothin 2 Lose.
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