Inspired by legends like George Lucas, James Cameron, and most of all, Steven Spielberg, as a filmmaker, Jason aspires to achieve greatness in the vast realm of creativity in his art of filmmaking and a frequent positivity in his craft in storytelling.
Q. Hello Jason, it's a big pleasure to have you with us for this interview. Congratulations on your ‘Best Music Video’ award at last September's edition of the “Rome International Movie Awards” (click HERE to read the winners).
Your new project is “It’s Christmas”: in a few words, what is it about?
A. Hello! I am extremely excited and thank you very much for the opportunity to do this interview. It was an honor to participate and be among fellow artists that represented their craft and country in September. Beautifully written and performed by my sister, the amazingly gifted Ms. Jasmin Brown (IMDB), “It’s Christmas” (IMDB) is about the spirit of Christmas and the fulfillment of family.
Q. What can you tell us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere? Was it difficult to find the right collaborators and, above all, a cast who could translate your cinematographic vision into acting and images?
A. The shoot was awesome and quite easy going. It was not difficult to find the right collaborators at all, given the theme of fellowship in the video, because all the cast and crew consisted of family. Before filming the video, we broke bread and prayed together, and that ultimately set the tone for the whole video. No acting was required because we all knew each other. It made the communication and atmosphere on the set intimate, fun, and instrumental in capturing moments that were beautiful and genuine.
Q. What got you into filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?
A. I have always had an affinity for movies and the entertainment world since I was a kid. It wasn’t until the year 2002, while studying Multimedia Arts and Animation at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, that I really started gaining an appreciation and passion for film and its process. I had an editing class as part of my course curriculum, and my teachers’ name was Mr. Marius Voicus. He was Romanian, had a strong accent, but ironically was incredibly soft spoken. He had a vast knowledge of the fundamentals of editing and laid the foundation of Filmmaking 101 for me and my peers. He showed us how to piece together a visual narrative effectively and taught us how to use the tools we had to bring our stories to life creatively. It was awesome, because having access to discover something new and the privilege to express myself through a different art form other than what I had known (illustration & design), filmmaking gave me another exciting and unique creative voice as an artist.
Over time, I started creating my own small projects and family films. Once I started seeing how they could affect people in a positive way, I got a small glimpse of the fulfillment filmmaking could give to anyone. I have been in love ever since.
Q. What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to “It’s Christmas”?
A. There is a film series I have been developing since 2012, and the overall ambition of the series spans seven stories. The ideas and inspiration for the series come from industry titans like Marvel Studios, and from the serialized way they tell their stories. The first story I filmed is titled “A Fanboys Tale”. It’s a documentary / art film which focuses on some of the quirks and unique perspectives of the fanboy culture, in correlation to an extraordinary film event (the first Marvel’s "Avengers" film); documenting the days in the life of fanboys and their aspirations. The second project in the series is titled “Enblackenment”. Originally filmed to be part of “A Fanboys Tale”, “Enblackenment” is a short film that serves as a prelude to it, that explores how a fanboys’ overwhelming enthusiasm is met with the unexpected realities of his roots.
In retrospect, although there were many mistakes, as an aspiring filmmaker the goal was to tell those stories the best way I could with the resources I had. Those films were very personal to me and were not easy to make at the time, but I would not change anything about my experiences in bringing their stories to life for others to enjoy. I believed in them for what they were and what they represented, so I stepped out in faith, and entered both projects into film festivals around the U.S. Overall, they gained positive and constructive feedback. “A Fanboys Tale” was awarded Best Documentary at the 2018 Imaginarium Film Festival in Louisville, Kentucky and both films garnered worldwide distribution through Amazon Prime Video in 2019.
I could only hope those films would resonate with people the way they did. I encourage anyone with a dream to never give up on it, and to preserve the integrity of it, so they may persevere in their ambitions to realize it. I have conceptualized, collaborated, written, produced, acted, edited, marketed, and ultimately invested in those projects. Those experiences have only made me grow as a filmmaker, imagine bigger opportunities and greater possibilities, and have kept me humble and hungry to learn more about the process of filmmaking and building my own legacy in the arts as a whole.
Q. Any future projects you'd like to share?
A. Absolutely! The third story in my film series is titled “The Adventures at Comic-Con”. It’s an experimental documentary that serves as a continuation after the events of “A Fanboys Tale”. It documents the adventures of experiencing the 2012 "San Diego Comic Con" for the first time through musical soundscapes, while honoring the legacy of pop-culture and its pioneers. The film will be released this December.
Next year in 2021, I have a short film that I plan on turning into an anthology series titled “Walls” ...you’ll be hearing more about that project real soon. Lastly, I’m writing and directing a film inspired by the song “It’s Christmas”, titled “Homecoming”. The story focuses on a young woman transitioning into adulthood, as she learns the invaluable lessons of life through her pursuit of living it the best she can. The narrative themes of the project were established to metaphorically highlight the intangible things I feel we as people often miss, need, and take for granted in life… Ok, sorry, got a little deep “Ha-ha” ”Homecoming” is scheduled to be released by the end of 2021.
Q. How would you describe yourself as a director?
A. As a creator, I feel I have similar aspirations in the ways I choose to illustrate as a concept artist, and how I approach filmmaking as a director. Among many things, I like to be creative in my process in developing conceptual ideas for film projects. Being spontaneous allows myself, and the cast and crew the freedom to improv, explore, and have fun in the process of filmmaking. Lastly, I find joy in being collaborative. It brings together numerous creative and artistic mediums, from all who contribute to using them, to fully realizing a vision as a unit. I love to tell stories that are uplifting and inspiring because I believe they are good for the soul. Those components inspire me and feed my ambitions in becoming a filmmaker full-time, keeping me invested in an art form that is constantly evolving.
Q. Directors (and indeed actors) who inspire you?
A. Whoa, where do I start...When it comes to directors, anyone who has the patience, perseverance and the passion to create a film inspires me. There are so many greats that direct in other mediums like Television, Video games, Animation, and even YouTube...then there are the all-time greats that inspire me the most, which I mentioned above in my bio. For film, just to name a few, are Guillermo Del Toro, Ryan Coogler, Peter Jackson, Christopher Nolan, Ang Lee, M. Night Shyamalan, J.J. Abrams and Jordan Peele. For independent film, Darius Britt and Chassidy Jade. For television, Miguel Sapochnik and Misha Green. For video games, Hideo Kojima and Cory Barlog, and for animation, Jay Oliva and Joaquim Dos Santos.
Actors I admire, to name a few, are Denzel Washington, Will Smith, Jamie Foxx, Daniel Day-Lewis, Tom Hanks, Angela Bassett, Viola Davis, Chadwick Boseman, Jonathan Majors, Lupita Nyong’o, Eddie Murphy, Robin Williams, Jim Carrey, Regina King, Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman, Tom Cruise, Leonardo DiCaprio, Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro.
All these brilliant artists have made great contributions to the arts and its legacies past, present, and future. Their beautifully unique visions and voices represent an evolution of the medium and great change in the industry, thus, creates boundless inspiration for me and others that aspire to do the same.
Q. Your favourite movies? And of course, films you really deplore?
A. Hmmm, favorite movies…I have so many. I love all genres in film, because any one of them can move you if the storytelling is done right. As far as favorites, to name a few, are "The Star Wars Trilogy" (1977-1983), "The Lord of the Rings Trilogy", "The Indiana Jones Trilogy", "Jurassic Park", "Terminator 2", "Hellboy 2", "Black Panther", "Inception", "Life of Pi", "Signs", "Get Out", "Coming to America" and "The Lion King" (1993).
I really don’t have any movies I deplore, because even those that I feel aren’t that good at all, I can still learn from them and find some redeeming qualities within them. Although, I will make exceptions for “The Last Airbender” and “Mortal Kombat: Annihilation”, because given the amount of rich source material both films could build from, I was truly sad to see how awful they turned out to be “Ha-ha”.
Q. Where can people see your work?
A. "BrownFamilyTree Productions" is the name of my independent film media company. Its official website will be launched in 2021, but for now, my work can be seen on the official "Filmfreeway" website (HERE). Subsequent film websites and other social media links are also available through my filmfreeway link.
The beautiful and timely quote at the end of “It’s Christmas” was graciously written by it’s author, Ms. Jasmin Brown. Ms. Brown is a professional musical vocalist, and an advocate of poetry as well. Her work can be read, seen and heard HERE.
While on this filmmaking journey, I can gratefully say I am not traveling it alone. Here are the links to some of the other gifted artists I have collaborated with, and have graciously helped me along the way:
1. “A Fanboys Tale”
Ariel Cal (Digital Artist): www.artstation.com/arielcal
Sergio Cal (Traditional Artist)
Jay Balthazard (Multimedia Artist) https://youtube.com/c/JayOrbit
3. “The Adventures at Comic-Con”
Toni Junard (Multimedia Artist) https://tjunard.wixsite.com/theinverse
4. “It’s Christmas”
Donnell Freeman (Multimedia Designer)
A. It is a blessing and an honor to do this interview. This has been a fun and humbling experience, and I look forward to doing this again in the future.
I would like to add, that given the times we’re living in now, I pray we all continue to be the change we want to see. May we persevere in our courage to be true to who we are and preserve the integrity of our ambitions. Lastly, may we not be afraid to step out of submission of the world, to realize our dreams.
Thank you, "Rome International Movie Awards"! Peace.