TAEM- The Arts and Entertainment Magazine loves to explore all the facets of movie making. One of the most prevalent, and often unsung, is the art of creating a video documentary. These are important films and deal with the every day life around us. One such documentary filmmaker is someone from Long Island, New York where I grew up. His name is Justin Samuels. Justin, what interested you in movie making, and especially documentaries.
JS- I’ve always enjoyed storytelling and sharing information with people in various forms. I’ve written 8 screenplays, and during the fall of 2011, as occupy formed, I began blogging about it. I eventually began taking pictures of it, and started to video interview occupiers as well as take random footage. As a filmmaker, I’m not specifically a documentary filmmaker, I do both documentaries and fiction film.
TAEM- As many students of the arts follow our publication for tips on how to succeed in their craft, tell us about the training and education that you undertook to perfect your trade.
JS-I have a bachelor of arts degree from Cornell University in History. I also took a number of English and writing courses at Cornell. Outside of Cornell, I participated in various screenwriting workshops and read books on the matter.
TAEM- Who most inspired you in this field of filmmaking ?
JS-Probably other writer/directors. Tyler Perry amd Quentin Tarantino.
TAEM- Your first documentary was titled Many Faces of Occupy Wall Street. How was this film conceived, and what was the purpose behind it ?
JS-I interviewed the most controversial people in occupy wall street. I wanted to get a clear cross section of the people in occupy, and let their voices hit the public directly. I originally meant these interviews to be stand alone. But I then decided to compile them in one video, along with footage of the protests.
TAEM- Where has this film been shown ?
JS-It was first screened at New Horizon Film Festival in Tehran, Iran. Waiting for word on whether it will be screened in Paris, and a few other places.
JS-This production occurred before the Many Faces of Occupy Wall Street and became a part of it. Basically, there were a number of thefts and physical and sexual assaults in occupy. Nan Terrie exposed said assaults at the OWS general assembly and in the media. She was pretty controversial, and considered an Omarosa type in occupy. But what’s in print speaks for itself.
TAEM- Both these films deal with the events of these times and have an in depth look at a subject that has been at the forefront of the news. What responses to your projects have been received so far ?
JS-Overall, the response has been pretty positive. I also have an ebook, Occupy Wall Street, A Leftist, Anarchist, Cult. Readers might check this out on Amazon. Actually one can buy a copy of the Many Faces of Occupy Wall Street on Amazon.com I recommend both for those wishing to learn more about the movement.
TAEM- What other projects are you preparing for us at this time ?
JS-I’m in the early stages of development for my feature film, the Agent starring singer/actress Holly T. The Agent was inspired by the real life story of outrageous con artist Melanie Mills. When we have the whole budget, I’ll shoot in Los Angeles. I’ve cast a few other parts in the film already. Singer/actor Lovari Lovari will be in the film as a cop.
TAEM- Justin, it is very important when filmmakers, such as yourself, keep the public aware of what happens behind the scenes. We want to thank you for your time with this interview and wish you luck in all that you do.