Bill Briles [Interview]

 

 

What inspired you to get into the world of filmmaking? What is something you had wanted to do since your youth, or was it something that you happened to find yourself doing one day? 

I’ve always been interested in creating “stuff” and directing. I started directing performances at an early age beginning with my own Mickey Mouse Club, and at the age seven I got into big trouble with the parents for directing neighborhood girls (also ages seven and eight) to perform dances in the buff. Needless to say, this part of my directing career ended unexpectedly and abruptly. 

I continued my interests in dramatic arts into college where I took some acting courses and screenplay writing courses. I wrote a lot of screenplays in my 20’s none of which were produced. Once cameras became inexpensive enough, we started writing our own scripts and making our own movies, the first being a full feature. 

Aleta’s interest in performing started in elementary school where she produced, directed, and starred in her own plays (lots of Gilligan’s- Island types) in the basement of her house for the neighborhood kids. She sold tickets and popcorn for her performances (an entrepreneur even in her early years). 

What was your first paid gig in the world of entertainment? And were there any sort of lessons learned from this experience that still affects your work today? 

Our first movie, Romance at Frisky’s Bar, was actually on Netflix and we did get “some” money despite it being very amateurish. It was a two-year, low budget project which required turning our house into a “bar- night-club”. It also required living in a “bar” for 6 months while the movie was being shot. Due to complaining neighbors, all actors had to be bused in to the ‘bar” in a van from a local bank parking lot. We were very motivated to make this movie and jumped a lot of “hurdles” in the process. 

My wife Aleta managed to corner a distributor at the Tribeca Film Festival Filmmaker’s Lounge (we were just spectators). The distributor took a copy with him (we had always carried copies of our movies) and three weeks later he agreed to distribute our movie, thus Netflix. 

The big lessons for us in our movie-making experiences are: it can be a cruel world out there and you are going to hear things about your work you’d rather not hear. Also, there are some people quite willing and ready to take advantage of your hard work. 

I recently truly enjoyed your latest film A Private Dancer in Mom’s Kitchen! It was so great, and insanely original. I am curious to know where the idea for this film came from? What made you want to tell this tale? 

The idea evolved over time. We started the movie with an end-goal of making a short since we had never made a short. As we kept shooting, the story evolved and turned into a feature. Also, my wife and I wanted to see if we could make a movie that involved only the two of us, which included everything; main characters, extras, pre-production, production, and post production. 

The story came from different “pieces” of our lives. My wife is a very good singer-songwriter and dancer and this is where the “private dancer” was born. My characters are personal alter-egos and represent to a degree parts of my life and life experiences. I grew up and went to school in the south and the southern heritage has been a part of all our movies. We are also both doctors and I’m a painter-sculptor, all included in Private Dancer. 

 

 

You have a very original style of filmmaking in Private Dancer, the likes of which I don’t believe I have ever really seen before. And I’m actually not quite sure how to describe it. So, would be willing to do so? Can you tell our readers what it is about your style that makes it unique from other filmmakers out there? 

We have been told that our movies are definitely not mainstream and “different”. We have also been told more than once that our characters are unusual and at times “quirky”. It is probably because we are “quirky” characters ourselves and our perceptions of the world may also be “quirky”. We love comedy, but a few years ago wanted to see if we could pull off a drama for variety. Our movie, First Shoot the Lawyers was our first attempt at drama and we thought it was drama-like. The first showing at a film festival resulted in, to our surprise, a lot of laughing so we gave up on drama. The distributor called it a “Black Comedy”. So now we call all of our movies comedies whether intentional or not. 

I’m not sure if I answered the question but, we go with what pops into our heads and what pops into our heads “ain’t in the normal range”. I personally am tired of movies with big explosions, lots of killing but say nothing about the “essentials of human existence”. 

If you were handed the opportunity, on an unlimited budget, to create the biopic of any legendary figure in American history, who would it be?

Since Van Gogh has been done (several times) I would go with another famous artist, Edward Hopper (from early-mid 1900’s) and his relationship with his wife (also an artist). Based on my understanding, their personalities were polar-opposite and despite monumental personality differences and on-going friction, they were joined at the hip. It would be an expose’ on the human condition and how ‘suffering and misery’ trumps being alone’ (for some). I think there would be many opportunities for comedic scenes and maybe a little insight into our nature. He is also my favorite artist. 

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers? 

We can’t seem to stop making movies so we’ll probably do it ’til we’re ‘pushing daisies’. We’re presently shooting another comedy, Thomas A Peeper (Get it?). The story is about a gardener who is forced to work the “graveyard shift” and a woman going through a tumultuous divorce brawling with her soon-to-be-ex over “custody” of their house. Thomas A Peeper gets entangled and disaster ensues. 

What was the last thing that made you smile? 

My wife Aleta, a very funny girl.

 

Check out this trailer from the Dr. Gabs, and check out A Private Dancer in Mom’s Kitchen on Amazon Prime.

 

 

Sunday Matinee: Facing East [Film]

 

“Tommy Baker’s chilling and captivating Facing East, an expose on a graveyard that would re-use graves over and over. With over 100,000 documented disturbed burials the owners and operators of Eastern Cemetery systematically re-used graves over and over, taking advantage of low-income families during one of the most difficult times in their lives. 25 years after the cemetery was left abandoned, the Friends of Eastern Cemetery was formed to provide care and upkeep that the burial grounds so desperately needed.” – October Coast PR

 

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Hello Folks. I hope this finds you well. While I know we are all concerned about the impending doom that is all around us, today we are talking about a somewhat related issue that should not be forgotten. Facing East is an incredible story that really needed to be out there in the world. It’s the story of greed, corruption, mishandling, and downright evil if I’m being completely honest. I’ve always had an affinity towards cemeteries. I’ve spent numerous hours walking the grounds of resting places across southern Mississippi, the hills of Southwest Washington, to some grounds going as far back as 800 years here in the East Anglian region of England. So when I saw a film passing through my inbox that was in regards to a Louisville based church, I wondered just what it might be about. And lo and behold it was probably about 20 minutes into the film that I vocally exclaimed, to no one in particular, “Who the HELL have I never HEARD of this!” But now that I do know, I feel an obligation to tell all of you dear readers about the wrong doings at the Eastern Cemetery, and about this powerful documentary that attempts to showcase the horror, and downright disrespect, that was given to the resting places of those who were loved and cherished on earth and were completely disregarded once they had passed. All for the love the mighty dollar. All because of lies and misleadings. It’s truly horrifying.

 

 

Thankfully though, there are some wonderful people out there who are trying their best to bring the respect back to the Eastern Cemetery. And I am not only talking about the lovely people at Friends of Eastern Cemetery. Clearly they are heroes. But, I am also referring to the Facing East filmmaker Tommy Baker. Every city and town you visit, you will find great people doing wonderful things for their communities. Which is a wonderful thing, obviously. The problem is that the powers that be who rank themselves above the common citizen will do all they can to silence them. And that is where Mr. Baker comes along. He is here to bring a voice to these honorable citizens. Bringing a voice to the voiceless is a noble cause that should also be celebrated. I’m no expert on the matter, but I feel safe in saying that you don’t make a film like Facing East in the hopes of making money off of misery, or even for entertainment purposes. This is for awareness. This is information driven content about a very serious problem that a band of wonderful community leaders are attempting rectify. Facing East is a film that everyone simply HAS to see!

For more information about , and how you can help out with, Friends of Eastern Cemetery, be sure to check out their WEBSITE for more details.

Facing East is available now on DVD & VOD from Uncork’d Entertainment.

 

 

 

Saturday Special: The Wakefield Project [Film]

 

“Eric and Reese invest in a property in the little town of Wakefield. Chloe a medium, who used to live in Wakefield returns to her roots to enlighten the new entrepreneurs on the history of the town. The property was originally owned by Nathan Cross (Rob Archer, Lost Girl), who’s post mortem crimes stain the entire town. On a day when unprecedented solar flares target North America, Wakefield becomes the centre of a temporary shift in atmospheric energies. The living are seeing the dead walk among them. As they find themselves in the heart of this nightmare until dawn, they need to face history in the flesh, and survive.” – October Coast PR

 

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Hello Folks! I hope you are all enjoying your Saturday. Although, does the day of the week truly matter these days? So, if this is a reminder, it is Saturday. And why not have escape from the horrors around us….with a wonderful horror film! Remember when a supernatural thriller was what we might have been most afraid of? Lol, what a time. Anyway, I am very excited to share with you all some info about an absolutely wonderful & layered supernatural fright fest of a film, A Wakefield Project. For a film covering a pretty common subject, the film is highly original. On first viewing, I got a somewhat more serious Shaun of the Dead vibe to it…sort of. I mean this because our heroes spend the first act of the film seemingly oblivious to the chaos that surrounds them, being the new kids in town that is. Much like SoD used this in a strictly comedic fashion, A Wakefield Project sees this concept as a fun move in a thriller as well. And Folks, it works! What we have is a well-rounded horror thriller that everyone should enjoy.

 

 

The team that makes up the film’s lovable duo of Eric & Reese, Anthony Bewlz & Dennis Andres, respectively, are probably the highlight of the film for me. One is a bro with a heart of gold, another is a bro with a heart of gold…and a constant hard on. The comedic elements of this team bring a bit of light to a very dark story, written by the third member of the actually, the wonderful Lindsey Seim, is incredible in her role as well! And of course the legendary Rob Archer’s big ass is there to really scare the hell out of us. What could make this monstrous man any more terrifying? I don’t know. How about if he was a god damned GHOST! In all seriousness though Folks, this is a wonderful film for horror fans and film buffs alike. With an independent eye but blockbuster worthy effects, A Wakefield Project is a must see!

 

A Wakefield Project is available now on DVD & VOD from High Octane Pictures.

 

 

Jearnest Corchado [Interview]

 

 

Hello Folks! Today we have a wonderful interview with a real star on the rise. It’s Jearnest Corchado! She is the star of the “The Jaguar”, being part of the AppleTV+ original series Little America, brought to the world from the great Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani. And Folks, Jearnest absolutely SHINES in her role. For those who may not be familiar with Little America, it is an anthology series that focuses on a different person overcoming some significant obstacle, whether it is deportation, visa problems, language gaps, or other cultural clashes. Corchado portrays an undocumented teen that becomes a killer competitive squash player. And Folks, it is so damn good.

Believe me when I say that Corchado is a force to be reckoned with in the world of performance. She has been on the grind since she was 8 years old, and is showing no sign of slowing down. I am so very excited to follow her career and see what she gives out to the world. And we are so excited that she was able to take some time out of her busy schedule to grace our digital pages today, and become the newest member of the TWS family.

So Folks, without further babbling, please enjoy some wonderful words from the brilliant Jearnest Corchado!

 

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What inspired you to get into the world of entertainment? Was it something that you have aspired to do since your youth? Or did you happen to find yourself in this world one day?

Yes! I knew I wanted to be a performer since I was a baby. I would always love to be the center of attention at family gatherings always dancing in front of people and making a show. I was always super dramatic. Haha. One day, I was watching a kids telenovela and realized kids could be actors, so I started begging my mom to take me to acting classes. I was a child actor and did a bunch of TV growing up back in Puerto Rico, and eventually moved to LA to pursue it professionally.

What was your very first paid gig in the world of entertainment? And were there any sort of lessons learned from this experience that still affects your work today?

I think it was a TV show called La Adopción or a telenovela called Dueña y Señora and I was 8 years old. It’s crazy because when you’re a kid, you are just having fun and you’re just so present, you know? And I think I always try to remember that. To have fun and to not think so much and be in the moment.

I am very intrigued by a project that you are involved with now from Apple TV+ entitled Little America. Can you tell our readers a bit about this project and what they will be seeing you do?

Of course. Little America is a comedy anthology series that follows the lives of different immigrants in the United States. There are 8 episodes and each episode focuses on a different family and culture. It’s a truly wonderful series, so fresh and unique. I play the role of Marisol in episode #2, titled, “The Jaguar”. The Jaguar is about an undocumented Mexican girl, Marisol, who discovers a great passion for squash.  She is so naturally talented, and determined to become the best, that eventually, she becomes a professional squash player. As Marisol, people will watch me play a lot of squash and be a very fierce and perseverant young lady!

And what was it that drew you to work in this series? What was it about the story that drew you in?

The squash! I was so excited to learn about this sport and train for it. I really love learning new skills, especially if I’m getting paid to learn them. Haha.

If you were handed the opportunity to portray any legendary figure from world history, who would it be?

Two exceptional women come to mind. First, I’d love to play Cleopatra! That’s one of my biggest dreams. And Alexandria Ocasio Cortez. I think I would have a lot of fun with both roles. I think they’re both very strong, complex and interesting human beings and I’d love to bring their strong essence to the screen. I admire AOC so much and think I could do a really good job portraying her. She is such a badass Latina!

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

If you like horror, my film Cucuy: The Boogeyman is currently available to watch on Video On Demand. Beyond that, my next couple of projects don’t have a home as of now but we should be hearing about them soon. I have the comedy series, Sneakerheads, where I got to work with the amazing director Dave Meyers. Also I have my feature film, Raise Your Hand, written and directed by upcoming filmmaker Jessica Rae. They are two incredible projects and completely different from one another.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Aww. My little brother actually! It was his 7th birthday a few days ago and I sent him a huge teddy bear. He lives in Puerto Rico. When the teddy bear expanded from the box, he jumped to hug it and it was the cutest thing in this world. It melted my heart.

Sunday Matinee: Case 347 [Film]

 

“Psychologist and UFO skeptic Dr. Mia Jansen joins forces with two documentary filmmakers who set out to prove alien abduction claims are a form of “mass hysteria”, but during their research, unexplainable events begin and the entire crew goes missing.” – TriCoast Entertainment

 

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Hello Folks! I hope this Sunday finds you well. It’s imperative now more than ever that we find ways to entertain ourselves, and what better way than with a nice bout of fear and suspense that doesn’t involve some infectious disease? Well, you will get this and more with today’s matinee feature, Case 347. For fans of found footage horror, I promise that you are going to absolutely adore this film. I personally have never been drawn to the genre itself particularly, but after checking out this incredibly made film, I might just have to do some more digging. Filmmaker Chris Wax has created something very special with this one and I implore you all to check it out as soon as possible.

 

 

As far as suspense films go, Case 347 is on a whole new level. With all of the elements of horror (save for “gore porn”, but frankly, who needs it?) that can be crammed into a brief time, it is all brilliantly and deliberately timed. Of course there is the occasional jump scare tossed in there to keep you on your toes, but it’s not a film that saturates itself in this idea. And it behooves me to mention that the film’s lead, Maya Stojan, is absolutely incredible at pulling you into the story, and sincerely making you believe that this is not a production, but is actual found footage. Basically, her acting is so damn natural that you can hardly tell she is acting. Which is sort of the point, right? Even if so, Stojan is an exceptional actor.

 

Check it out Folks! It is currently available on various digital streaming platforms (FLIXFLING, Vimeo on Demand, Vudu, Amazon, iTunes, Google Play).

 

 

Saturday Double Special: Faulty Roots + Soundtrack To Sixteen [Films]

The film follows two teens with different genetic conditions who are forced to form a friendship. Ella wrote, directed and produced the film aged only 18. She wanted to make a film on depression in teens and to raise awareness for mental health problems.
Wow. In just a short 10 minutes, the emotional response that I felt whilst watching this incredible gem of a film is almost indescribable. Our dear friend Ella Greenwood has truly knocked it out of the park on her directorial debut that perfectly showcases the idea that not all wounds are physical. Emotional pain can hold just as much clout in thy mind’s eye as the physical can. The film tackles very serious subject matter regarding terminal illness, as well as the treacherous reality fo mental illness and how we will sometimes as humans disregard the latter as a real issue. I will keep this brief, as it is indeed a short film, adding the chance of spoilers to ruin it all for you, but I simply have to say that everyone should see this film. In fact, as I’ve said about a few other projects we have covered in the past, this should be required viewing for schools. Beyond the fact that the film was made my an 18 year old, it’s just a film that could impact the lives of young people across the globe, and is absolutely fantastic. However you manage to see it, Folks. Do it. You will not be upset.
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So, alot of you are stuck in the house. We get it. It sucks. Like a lot. That’s we TWS is trying to throw as much great content at you as we can. We love and appreciate you all, and want to help you all through this as best as we can. So we are doubling our efforts this Saturday, and making it a double feature. Maybe we will do it again? We shall give it a shot! Enjoy!
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“Maisy is obsessed with a guy who will never get with her. She is self-conscious and constantly overanalysing. But she’s sixteen and can’t helpvit. Ben – another awkward teen from a nearby school is happy being a nerd and thinking he’s better than everyone else until his grades start plummeting and he can’t work out why. When they meet on the night bus, Maisy still in pyjamas from a humiliating sleepover, Ben killing time riding around the route after getting sent home for shouting in assembly. Maisy finally has someone she can open up to. After trying to switch friendship groups she has ended up with no friends at all and she’s mortified that she still hasn’t had her first kiss. The two fall into a
tumultuous friendship but as exams loom and they must fight their anxieties, they find support in each other while they try and work out if there’s more to the relationship than friendship.” – soundtracktosixteen.com
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For those of you who know me personally (or maybe just digitally), you may know that I am a man in his mid-30’s and you may think that I have no business discussing the going ons of a teenage angst film. But, listen, a great film is a great film. The life of a teenager is something that we have all experienced, and something that we all can relate to in one form or another. It’s a part of life, and when you look back on it all of these years after it occurred (for some of us), there is a deeper sense of understanding about the era you endured that goes beyond just simple nostalgia.
I guess that last paragraph is just a pre-cursor to why I am so excited to tell you all about Soundtrack to Sixteen. I really, really, really, loved this film! Besides being brilliantly edited and amazing to look at, it is truly one of the sweetest and most heart-warming films I have seen in quite some time. The idea of showcasing awkward teenage angst on screen is not new by any means, but when it is done as well as this film, it’s absolute gold. From the incredible performances, to a brilliantly written story, Soundtrack to Sixteen is one of the most pleasurable films of this subject matter to have been released in quite some time.
Scarlett Marshall and James Calloway really manage to manipulate the viewer in so many ways. As somebody who is, as previously mentioned, far removed (20 years?) from the era as I am, I know that I spent so much time yelling out loud things like, “It gets better!” or “Just kiss her!”, like a damn fool. It’s the whole “if I knew then, what I know now” idea, I guess. But that’s the thing, isn’t it? You DIDN’T know it then. The adults around you could tell you until they were blue in the face, but you’re not geared in a way that what they say truly matters.
This generation is growing up dramatically different than some of ours, yet are still facing the same issues we can all relate to somehow. And the filmmakers known as The Shakespeare Sisters have done an amazing job in encapsulating that for us with their incredible film Soundtrack to Sixteen that I can not recommend enough to Everyone who reads this. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll cringe oh so hard at times. Check it out!

Tracey Cherelle Jones [Interview]

 

Hello Folks! I hope this Friday finds you healthy, safe, and not so stir crazy (yet). Today we have a wonderful interview with an even more wonderful actress. It’s Tracey Cherelle Jones! Tracey has had a wonderful career in and out of the world of performance. On a personal level, I sought Jones out because she appeared in one of my favorite comedies of all time, and arguably one of the greatest parody films of all time, which would be the great Don’t Be A Menace To South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood. Hardly a week goes by where I don’t think about the “poem” that she reads to Shawn Wayans and it always brings a smile to my silly face.

We are so excited that Tracey was able to take some time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions for us here at TWS. She is an incredibly sweet and kind human being, and we are honored to have her join the TWS family. A family that, if I might add, has grown by almost immeasurable amounts, and is becoming all the better for it. With that in mind, while you are locking yourself up indoors and looking for absolutely anything to entertain yourself, check out this wonderful interview below, and dig into some of the back catalog of this incredible actress. So without further babbling and ado, please enjoy these incredible words from the great Tracey Cherelle Jones!

 

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When did you first discover that you had a passion for the world of performance? I know you got into the business at a very young age, but when was it that you decided that this was the life for you?

I love performing for and moving an audience.  I started acting lessons at the tender age of 8 years old.  It was super fun, and the icing on top was becoming different characters.  Being able to get an audience to feel what I was feeling always fascinated me.

 

What was your first paid gig in the world of entertainment? And were there any sort of lessons learned from this experience that still affect your work to this day?

My first paid role was in a McDonalds commercial.  It was my first audition I ever had and I booked it.  Well, when my Mother and I arrived to the set we noticed another little girl on camera, saying my lines, who was a shade or two darker than me.  We were told that I didn’t look “Black enough”, I would be paid for the day and was not needed.  I didn’t understand what “Black enough” meant because I WAS black, how much blacker could I be?  Needless to say my Mother (Bless her soul!) cussed out everybody on the set….including the director, assistant director, school teacher, the crafts service person, the wardrobe lady, the security guard…..everybody…..lol!!!  The hard lesson I learned was that Hollywood is a fickle beast!  I was slightly jaded after that experience but kept going knowing that I could always be replaced at any moment for any reason, so just have fun with it!

 

Your performance in the hit 1996 comedy Don’t Be A Menace…. was the sort of stuff that comedic dreams are made of. You were wonderful in it. I am curious to know how the filming process for such a silly film? Was it has much fun to work on as it is still for me to watch to this very day? Anything notable or interesting from working on this project?

First of all, thanks for the compliment!  That was such a fun shoot.  Most of the main cast are comedians so jokes flowed non stop.  Scenes were constantly adjusted to “find the funny”.  I learned so much from that shoot, and it was a joy going to set each day.  Marlon kept me in stitches and the fact that a few friends I knew from growing up in L.A. (Chris Spencer, Alex Thomas, and Darryl Heath) were working on the film made it even more fun.  That was a once in a lifetime experience and I’m grateful for it!

 

 

Another incredible project you worked on was 2001’s Baby Boy, along with our new friend of the site, DeJuan Guy. Same sort of question, but more about your experience working under the guise of the recently dearly departed John Singleton? What made this experience a worthwhile project to work on?

I had known John (Bless his soul!) for several years before Baby Boy, so working with him was like working with an old friend.  He was so cool, and really allowed the actors to just roll with it……loved that!  I also had known Taraji from a previous acting class and I became an instant fan of hers from the first time she put up a scene in class.  She is an AMAZING actress.  The opportunity to work with her and John together was something that I will always treasure.

 

If you were handed the opportunity to portray any legendary figure in American history, who would it be?

I actually would like to portray a legendary figure of African History, Inari Kunate, the wife of Mansa Musa.  Mansa Musa, an African Ruler, is the richest person to have ever lived, and you know what they say…..behind every good man is an even better woman!

 

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

I currently have several Interior Design clients….yes I am a Designer!  I will also be launching my line of perfume oils this year, “Tracey Alexander Fine Perfume Oils”, and my show Grown Folks, season 1, is currently streaming on UMC, so check it out!!

 

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Cleaning out my file cabinet today I found my son’s prayer book from when he was a little guy.  I read through it and the kindness of his prayers, made me smile and proud!