The true story of a bond between a father and daughter in a blended family.
Interview with Director Kyle Romanek and Creator Anthony E. Williams.
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
It was clear that this story needed to be told. Inspired by true events, this story deals with topics that are important, relevant and that a modern family deals with on any given day. These topics include forgiveness, unconditional love, sexual identity, parenting, compromise and responsibility. The story is rooted in truth. It’s a realistic portrayal of what it’s like to manage and balance a blended family that some would see as broken; however those inside see as FAM.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
You will watch F.A.M. for the relatability, the honesty in the characters, and the fun of taking part in a day-in-the-life of a family that in many ways will resemble yours. Many laugh while watching F.A.M. and a few will cry, no matter what you feel when you experience our Pilot you will feel something.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
As a pilot episode of an eight part series, we wanted to address topics that are considered taboo in black cinema. For instance, a daughter struggling with a sexual identity crisis and confiding in her father for his honest opinion. Or a black family trying to live a normal life in an all-white suburb in Roswell, GA. As the show progresses we hope to raise awareness to issues such as bullying, homophobia, racism, and co-parenting.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?
The first draft of the script was a twelve page short film. As the characters' backstories collided on the page, the script soon evolved to a thirty minute short. Soon after one of the producers pointed out that there was more to tell beyond the film itself. That's when we realized we had a pilot on our hands. We now have an 8 episode series that we are shopping to networks.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
We just had our first screening and several attendees mentioned that they really don't see the father-daughter dynamic with black characters like this. We also heard that the dynamic between the ex and the wife could be its own standalone show. The quality of the performances, imagery and music were also touted during the Q&A after the screening. The film was delivered in 4K and is TV ready. Our goal was for the network not to have to reshoot the pilot and instead notice the high production value and immediately pick up with episode two.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
Laughter in places you wouldn’t expect. We always knew that the series would infuse situational comedy throughout based on the absurdity of the situations the characters find themselves in. However, due to the fact that the pilot episode was based on real events that at the time were not even remotely funny, people seemed to find humor in the level of realistic absurdity. It was actually amazing. People were choosing sides out loud and saying what they thought they would do. We were also surprised to discover how people found a conversation about sexuality with a black teen to be taboo. It's 2018 but in the black subculture homophobia is still rampant. For some parents we’ve noticed that this scene tends to make them uncomfortable but ultimately allows them to start asking questions, which is what we want. It’s moments like this when we all look at each other and think; maybe we’re onto something. F.A.M. puts you in situations that challenge you to consider how you would react or even reflect on how you have in the past.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
We want to get the word out that we have a quality black TV pilot shot in an Atlanta Suburb that addresses pressing social issues. We Are Moving Stories features underrepresented stories from around the world and we are ecstatic to be a part of this platform and share our story. We hope that readers, executives, producers and distributors will catch our vibe from the trailer or at a film festival screening and that will lead to securing a partnership to complete the series.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
Festival Directors and sales agents are great, however, we are currently in pitch mode. We are seeking the bridge between our pilot episode and the appropriate networks or streaming services to house this project.
We want to acquire the widest reach possible to showcase how we are presenting something that is fresh and different. At this point in time we have been in talks with executives at Amazon, Netflix and some key players associated with shows such as “Power” and “Atlanta”.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
We would love to be a resource that LGBT teens could show their parents prior to coming out, or that kids with separated parents or prior to a divorce can relate with and maybe even extend to the next generation. We want to address all of these pressing issues in one entertaining and consistent series. The main thing we want people asking is wow...how would I have handled that situation?
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
How do you think your father would respond to you coming out during your teenage years and does this vary per culture?
Would you like to add anything else?
While this is a black show, it's not focused on black issues. It’s about life and universal issues that we all have. Every suburb has a half-million dollar house with a stepmom, kids and an ex and people with sexuality issues. This show simply shows a black family dealing with these issues, it’s not centered around being black, it’s centered around balancing the unpredictable challenges that life presents and the family just happens to be black. It’s a refreshing story for this day and age.
What other projects are the key creative developing or working on now?
We have cast members in The Quad- BET, Honey 4- Universal, Atlanta –FX, Nashville –CMT, Step Up-Lionsgate, Acrimony- Tyler Perry and the list goes on. We have a Producer and Director with four Emmys between them who made content for OWN. They are currently in production on two documentaries and developing new narratives under their production company banner Keep It Simp Films.
Interview: February 2018
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series, music video, women's films, LGBTIAQ+, scifi, horror, world cinema. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
The true story of a bond between a father and daughter in a blended family.
Director: Kyle Romanek
Producer: Mallory Cunningham, Sean Morse-Barry
Writer: Anthony E. Williams
About the writer, director and producer:
Writer: Anthony E. Williams is an Actor-Writer-Executive Producer and the CEO of WMZ Entertainment. He has starred in several independent films and will appear in Honey (Universal) and Step Up (Lionsgate).
Director: Kyle Romanek grew up in Maryland and has directed two narrative features, Astray (2014) and Arg Stairs (2017), and has several documentaries and narratives in the works. He won an Emmy for Cinematography in 2017.
Producer: Mallory Cunningham is a three-time Emmy Award-Winning Producer and Cinematographer. Known for her work on OWN’s Super Soul Sunday and currently working on a handful of narrative and documentary projects.
Producer: Sean Morse-Barry is a writer and producer from New Hampshire. Sean is known for his work on feature films Arg Stairs and Astray.
Key cast: Anthony E. Williams, Acacia Leigh, Breana Cymone, Moses Jones, Candace West
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists): All of the above.
Social media handles:
Other: web site: www.FAMPILOT.com
Made in association with: WMZ Entertainment
Where can I watch it next and in the coming month? TBD