A Stories They Tell monthly interview that highlights someone in a respective community who is creating culture well.
Friday, January 18, 2019
Malcolm is unapologetically…Malcolm. Maybe that’s why at just 21 years old he’s already written, directed, and produced his first movie, “Reckless” and don’t think, even for a second, that his young age is a factor of the quality of movies he is capable of creating, not to mention the weight a movie like this holds in our society. He has a vision and he’s asking us “Is there not a right time but now?!” And we couldn’t agree more.
It’s 5:30pm and I walk into BREW Urban Cafe Next Door. I can’t help but be inspired and it’s not like I haven’t been here many times before. It’s the books! The pictures! The ambiance! The people! I walk down the hallway, look left and there’s Malcolm holding his fiancé, Tiarah, having a good time. He just proposed to her last week at the Reckless premier at the Miramar Cultural Center. I’m hesitant to interrupt this special moment so I take a second before I walk up. He gives Tiarah a kiss and does the signature clap to inform me that he’s ready but something tells me that he was born ready.
Lune: Malcolm, I want to say thank you for taking the time to meet with me. I enjoyed your movie on Friday. It really touched me. I cried at the end.
Malcolm: You did?! What part did you cry on?
Lune: When you shared your heart. All of it just tied in at the end. I didn’t know you had all of that behind you. I see you on Sundays but I don’t typically know what you’re involved in or what you’re working on so I was really inspired. How are you feeling now that the movie is out and people are sharing and talking about it? What’s going through your mind?
Malcolm: I think that as a director, as a writer, as a creative, as someone that was bringing the vision that God gave me to life there’s a lot of things that go into movie production or film production that people don’t really take into consideration and I’m just going to be blunt. It’s an extremely challenging and draining process so a lot of people say “Hey man, now that the movie is out are you happy?” And I always give them the analogy, If a rabbit was running from a fox and the rabbit got away and you ask the rabbit “Hey, now that you got away from the fox are you happy?” I think he’s relieved more than happy. Malcolm chuckles in disbelief that the movie is actually out
Lune: Relieeevveeeed. I get that.
Malcolm: I’m very relieved because the process of making the film was a lot of weight and throughout the process I kind of had to learn to submit to God’s plan and not my own. I feel like whenever I feel the pressure it’s my narcissism and me thinking that I have something to do with this and I always want it to be more of a spiritual experience rather than a physical one. The film has been a learning process and now that it’s out I am able to look at it in retrospect and see the lessons that I learned and what I can take from this experience to the next movie I work on. So I’m very relieved and I am very reassured that God isn’t going to give me a vision and not see it manifest.
Lune: So when you say relieved more so than happy, obviously happy but definitely relieved, is that coming from a place where you recognize God gave you a vision and you and the team saw it through?
Malcolm: It’s coming from a place like “Ok. wow. God gave me a vision. What the heck. What’s wrong with Him. Why would He give me the vision. This is going to go terribly wrong. Wow. This is going to suck pretty bad.” I was having a conversation with my fiancé three days before the movie came out and I’m like “Tiarah, I think this movie is really good.” And then I walked away from the editing room and came back and watched it again and I’m like “Woah this is really bad. People are going to hate me. This sucks. This actually sucks. What did I do. What did I create. This is the worst movie I’ve seen in my life.” I was freaking out and when people saw it I guess it was well received and that’s what I mean by “relieved” because I’m like with a sigh “Ok you guys liked it! It wasn’t terrible? No?”
Lune: And honestly it’s not just that it was good, quality wise, but the messaging was really powerful.
Malcolm: I think that came with an intention.
Lune: Yea. Why human trafficking? Did God give you a vision to focus on human trafficking?
Malcolm: So basically how did the movie come about?
Malcolm: Ok, I’m going to condense this A LOT. So, I don’t write a script. I transcribe a script. Those are completely two different things. A writer typically takes information from what’s in his head and he translates it to paper. Transcribing is what people do in a courtroom. They witness something happen and they record. So 7 months before I transcribed the script I was in the car with my fiancé. We were driving somewhere and she played me a song and as soon as the song came on I just saw a man bathing a woman.
Lune: So that just came to your mind?!
Malcolm: Literally it will come in front of my eyes.
Lune: That’s crazy.
Malcolm: It’s not like I’m daydreaming. It will literally take control over the view of my eyes. So I was in the car. The song played. I saw a vision of a man bathing a woman in the tub. I’m like “Ok. that was very weird. I don’t know where that came from.” So fast forward 7 months. A lot of things transpired professionally and personally and I’m sitting in my room and I literally see the movie from top to bottom.
Malcolm: So literally God shows me the movie from top to bottom. So from the first scene all the way to the end where he is bathing the woman and I’m just like “What?! ok? sure. How does that tie into anything?” I just couldn’t understand it. And then I saw a sermon jam. Actually I saw two things. So I saw Hosea and Gomer.
Malcolm: Randomly on Youtube and then I watched a movie called Traffik with Paula Patton and Omar Epps.
Lune: What would cause you to do all this? Why did you do all these things. They all happened randomly and separately?
Malcolm: Obviously it didn’t happen randomly. Right? Chuckles. I did stumble upon all of it.
Lune: I guess what I’m asking is did you listen to the song only because Tiarah showed it to you?
Malcolm: Yes, that’s the only reason.
Lune: Then you fell upon the video?
Lune: Then you decided after the video “Hmmmm let me watch that movie?”
Malcolm: Nope. Nah. So I used to have a crush on Paula Patton. So if Paula Patton ever sees this it sucks for her because I’m already engaged. I’m taken. Too bad. You know?! Not my fault. Tiarah’s cute. So, when she came out with Traffik I was like “Ohhh I haven’t seen her on in awhile. I want to watch this movie.” It just so happened to be around the time I saw the sermon jam and everything made sense. Snapping fingers to express how quickly everything happened after.
Lune: Isn’t it crazy how God will do that?
Malcolm: I think He’s a jerk for it.
Lune: You’re just walking around in life. You can’t put all the pieces together and then one day it’s like “Alright. I got it.”
Malcolm: Yea. That’s why I can’t really take the credit for it. People are sick of me. They’re like “Ok. Ok. We know God is good but what was your process like?” I wish I had an answer.
Lune: So, process. You said you wrote this in 4 days and then produced it in 5.
Malcolm: Correct. So, when I say produced I didn’t produce it in 5 days. We shot the movie in 5 days. Again, writing a script in 4 days…and the movie was supposed to be a short film. I had promoted as a short film.
Lune: I thought I had seen info about it being a short film. Yea.
Malcolm: It was supposed to be a short film and that’s it. So I wrote 40 pages. Typically it’s supposed to be a minute a page. I wrote 40 pages in 4 days. Even then, typically it’s unheard of. Typically most short films of that length are done in a month and a half/two months. The reason why I did it so quickly is because again, I’m not writing it. I’m transcribing it. So, the reason I was able to get the script done quickly is because I had already seen it. The movie was already done. I just had to record it.
Lune: When it’s God its good and ready right?!
Malcolm: Yea! It’s ready to go. I mean there were slight character development things I had to add but for the most part the structure was already given to me. So I just had to record it and be done. So I copy wrote the script on my birthday, August 1st. What happened was…I want to say we had auditions on the 5th. So 4 days later we were already rehearsing. From August to November I was with my actors twice/week every week. We would go over the script and rehearse it and then in November we shot the 10th and 11th and then the 16th and the 18th and then I edited in 2 months.
Lune: And then you put it out in January! My word!
Malcolm: Films can spend years in post production. So, the fact that I was able to get this film done in less than 6 months is crazy.
Lune: It says a lot about, I believe what God has in store for you. If you can do what you did in 6 months, Malcolm. Wow. When you realized there was a thread to all of this is that when you contacted A21? When you decided that this is more than just a movie?
Malcolm: The funny thing is a friend of mine told me about A21 as I was talking to her about the movie and she recommended that I contacted them. When I failed to do so because I wanted to work with someone more local, she was like “Nope screw you.” And she got me on the phone with a representative. As it relates to the production company…
There are 3 things that Hawk Imperial Studios is going to be responsible for.
1. We paint pictures of the Gospel or biblical stories in a very modern day context.
So you’re not going to know at all what Bible story or how it’s going to be portrayed unless I tell you. You’re not going to watch one of my films and be able to say “Oh! it’s that story!” The reason why I want to do that is because I want people to see that the Bible consists of real people and real stories. I heard TD Jakes say once “If Jesus were alive today he would be a filmmaker because he was a great storyteller. He told parables. He told stories.” So I started out with music originally and even in my music, if you go back and listen to my music, I’m always telling a story. My first music video was 13 minutes long but the song was only 4 minutes long because I always wanted to tell the story behind it. So my whole life…the trajectory of my whole life has been going towards storytelling. I just didn’t know it would be this way. So the first thing that we are going to do is tell stories of the Gospel. The second thing we are going to be responsible for is
2. Give art it’s responsibility back.
A lot of times if you look at Shakespeare or Plato or the whole Enlightenment Movement, Shakespeare wasn’t writing plays and then people were going home laughing. No. There were riots going on in the streets because art could shift culture. And I hear producers and directors, even today, say the job of a filmmaker is to reflect society; to tell stories about what’s going on and I disagree with that. Fundamentally.
Lune: I disagree as well! Art creates culture.
Malcolm: Not only does art create culture. I feel like art is not supposed to reflect society it’s supposed to challenge it. Right?
Lune: It can’t. It has to be much more forward and progressive.
Malcolm: It’s different right? I don’t want to reflect what’s going on right now. And even if I do reflect what’s going on right now I want to use it as a tool to show you where we are so we can change it and give a solution to that in the film. So every single one of my films after the credits or during the movie I am going to give people a practical solution. A charge to take matters into their own hands. So, for example, with Reckless, if you watch the movie until the end and you stay until after the credits there is a representative from A21 that’s talking about something called A Teams. Long story short if you want to be active in your community you can start a team of 3 or more people. They will send you resources for you to raise awareness about human trafficking. They will tell you what to do and how to do it so you can help raise awareness to eradicate the issue. These are practical things that don’t require money. A 16 year old can do it. A 57 year old can do it if they are passionate about the idea. So that’s an example of what we are going to do. Every single one of my films are going to have something attached to it that you can watch and go “Ok this moves me. I’m going to stay after the credits because Hawk Imperial Studios is about to tell me what I can go do that doesn’t necessarily involve any monetary resources but it requires a sacrifice of my passion and time.” So that’s the second thing we are going to do. The third thing we are going to do…
3. We are going to use the Gospel to create social change.
So we paint pictures of the Gospel and we create films that address social issues and offer a solution to that social issue vs just having conversations about the problem itself. We then use the Gospel to paint a picture and change the social construct of whatever we are dealing with at that particular time.
Lune: This is amazing, Malcolm.
Malcolm: Thank you.
Lune: So this is your first movie?
Malcolm: First one ever
Lune: So, why movies? You say you’ve been storytelling. Or is it more than movies?
Malcolm: Well, I think storytelling is more than movies. Right? And at the heart of it I’m just a storyteller. I think that’s just what I’m called to. I’ve been born and bred into. Ever since I’ve been little. This is a true story. I would legitimately get in trouble. I would get grounded. My parents would come home at 11pm to midnight and I had a bedtime. But I would sneakily watch tv way past my bedtime. My parents were confused. How does 1 child watch tv so much. and a lot of it had to do with my upbringing. There were a lot of times where I wanted to escape because there was a lot going on. Even to this day I can sit in a room an watch movies endlessly. Give me food and put me in front of a tv screen and I’m gone for days. Just to be able to step into the creative process and experience something that was taken from the intangible and made tangible?! It’s amazing. Going to the movies is my favorite thing to do. From the moment I pull up when I see the concession stand. I don’t buy popcorn anymore though because it’s $87 for a small bag but!
Lune: I can’t miss the previews
Malcolm: No. I hate missing previews.
Lune: I CANNOT miss the previews!
Malcolm: I have to be there. My fiancé hate this but when we’re watching a movie I’m like “Hey get off your phone. Turn the volume down. Turn the lights down. I want the volume..right here raises his hands to express just the right volume” When I’m at the theater I like to sit higher but not too high but directly in the center so my aspect ratio is perfect. I want the acoustics to be on point when I’m in the theater…Oh yes! Listen. I don’t play around. This is not a game. Why are you laughing?! Hold on! This is not a game. This is not a joke.
Lune: Oh yea?! The aspect ratio huh?
Malcolm: Yes. The aspect ratio. I can’t watch a movie sitting on the side of a theater. I can’t be too low and I can’t be too high. So upper middle. So yea. I have a very strong passion for film. For movies.
Lune: So, we don’t need to be surprised if you decide to tell stories in another form as well as movies?
Malcolm: I mean I already have. I had a very long music career. If you go back and listen to my music you are going to hear stories. I have as song with a good friend of mine. His name is Alex. We wrote a song named Galaxy. At the beginning of the song you hear this guy come over the intercom. We are supposed to be two space pilots getting ready to take off and the mission control comes on the intercom and says hey “Captain says you have one last message to send before we ascend into space.” So the entire song is the message we are leaving for this girl. The message gets cut off at the end of the song and the girl never gets the message. She calls back to try to get me and I want the captain to send her through but we’ve already started the launch sequence. I take off. There’s a terrible mistake that happens with the spaceship and we end up crashing and dying. And the message is I never get to speak to her. That’s all in a 3 minute song.
Malcolm: I’ve been doing this for awhile. I’ve been telling stories. So if it happened then and if it is happening now then you can only expect it in the future. Is it only going to be film? Is it only going to be music? Is it only going to be dance? Is it only going to be painting? If I limit myself I limit God. I can’t If I’m a vessel. I’m saying I’m a vessel and I want to be used by God and I’m putting a limit on me I am then putting a limit on God. If I put myself in a box then I’m putting God in a box and God doesn’t fit in any box. So how can I?
Lune: Understood! I want to go back to human trafficking for a second. How have you been affected or impacted by human trafficking?
Malcolm: Me personally right?
Malcolm: In all honesty I have not been impacted by human trafficking directly. Very indirectly though. Look at the climate that we are in.
Malcolm: This is what I was trying to communicate to people. We’ve grown numb to this but every single time I log on to twitter and people on Instagram and Twitter can attest to this. Every single time we log on to twitter there’s always a “Hey I haven’t seen my cousin in 7 days. Please retweet this to help us find her.” “I haven’t seen my brother in a week. My brother hasn’t come home in 2 days 3 days. Please retweet this. Helps us find him” We log on Facebook “Hey my mom hasn’t come home in a week. It’s not like her.”
Lune: We can’t grow numb to this.
Malcolm: But we are. We’re already numb. So it’s up to artists in my opinion, like myself to create content that wakes people up in the sense of “Hey! This is going on.” And again I think the problem with too much art is you leave the theater like “Wow I didn’t know that was happening.” And that’s it! We don’t leave with any solutions.
Lune: So what do you do about that?!
Malcolm: So I think it’s up for artists to create the content and then give you something practical to go do so we can combat the issue that is growing and that’s not just with human trafficking. With anything. I have never been affected by human trafficking directly but if I see it going on around me it’s my responsibility as an artist to give people a charge to go do something. You know?
Lune: This is good. Yes. This is good. So, do you see yourself exploring other genres?
Malcolm: Ok so this is where it gets tough. I can’t see myself exploring other genres because the genre that I work in doesn’t exist.
Lune: And what do you call that genre?
Malcolm: I don’t know. chuckle Hawk Imperial Studios.
Lune: I love that! How real is that?!
Malcolm: Think about Reckless. What is Reckless? If you think about the comedy and you think about the drama. Think about the suspense. What is it?
Lune: It’s the Gospel.
Malcolm: That’s it.
Lune: The Gospel is everything.
Malcolm: That’s my point
Lune: The Gospel is everything! The Gospel is comedy. The Gospel is poetry.
Malcolm: It’s everything. It’s very similar to…and in no way shape or form do I want to compare but I think he’s brilliant. If you look at Jordan Peele.
Lune: I was thinking that!
Malcolm: There were talks about his film Get Out being nominated for an Academy Award for best comedy film.
Lune: And it’s so much more than comedy.
Malcolm: It’s actually not comical at all. There are funny moments but if you look at the…So, it’s all about perspective. For white people it was a comedy movie. For black people it was a horror film. For black people it projected a reality that we deal with on a regular basis. For white people it’s like “Oh my gosh. This is hilarious.” And it’s like “Uh no this is not a joke. This is actually our lives in a metaphoric expression.” So for me, Reckless had a lot of funny moments but it was about human trafficking. So….there’s no genre. There’s just art.
Lune: And is that ok with you? How does that settle with you?
Malcolm: It’s fine with me. It settles perfectly fine with me. Because genres are a very new social construct. What genres were out when Shakespeare was writing Othello. When he wrote Hamlet what was that? It was a presentation of art.
Lune: It was a story.
Malcolm: Nobody was like “Oh my God did you see the new comedy Shakespeare did?!”
Lune: Why do we have to categorize genres?
Malcolm: I think it’s natural. I think human beings are separatists at the core. We want to see things organized and separated because we want to quantify things so that we can understand it so that we can feel we have control. The moment we lose control all hell breaks loose. I can’t accept that this doesn’t have a genre. “No, no, no, no, no that doesn’t make sense to me” and I want to be able to control this idea. So you’re going to tell me what genre it is so I don’t go crazy.” And that’s why people don’t like cliffhangers.
Lune: Oh! Oh! Oh! Can we talk about your cliffhanger?!
Malcolm: Let’s talk about it Chuckles
Lune: I was upset!
Malcolm: I know. You’re not the only one.
Lune: Your cliffhanger was so good! It was just so unexpected.
Malcolm: Thank you. I appreciate it.
Lune: That was cool.
Malcolm: So what do you want to know?
Lune: Well. Is there something that’s going to follow this?
Malcolm: No. The amount of times I’ve gotten that question…
Lune: What am I supposed to do with this cliffhanger?
Malcolm: You’re supposed to interpret it. Again, art has a responsibility. My responsibility is to challenge not only your desire to do something about the social issue but my biggest thing is to challenge people to think. Use your brain. So, I don’t want to give you answers all the time because life doesn’t give you answers all the time. Sometimes life says “Hey I know you want the answer, but no. Figure it out.” Use your imagination. Don’t always expect an ending. Why not create one of your own? The ending of Reckless.. I have an ending.
Lune: You have an ending, Malcolm?!
Malcolm: I have an ending. I have a storyline that goes with it but I’m not going to share it. Why? Maybe that wasn’t even his mom. Maybe the lady met his mom. I don’t know.
Lune: Alright. Cool.
Malcolm: We don’t know what happened to his mom. So we just automatically inferred that was his mom in the hallway? We don’t know that.
Lune: Where do you get your inspiration?
Malcolm: Um. God. Inspiration is something abstract that reaches the physical so for example, if I thought about this it’s not inspiration. It’s calculation. This was not calculated. This was dropped upon me. This fell in my lap. That’s not calculation. That’s inspiration. Inspiration doesn’t come from what we can see.
Lune: Are there other storytellers that inspire you. Besides God.
Malcolm: I was just about to say that Jesus is the dopest storyteller I’ve ever seen. West Anderson is probably the most notable and most recent. Grand Budapest Hotel.
Lune: I need to watch that.
Malcolm: I’m not going to lie. It’s not the most reveling script. Just the style. So every West Andersen movie is about the relationship between father and son. There’s always an interesting dichotomy between a father and a son. It’s all about reconciliation. But the reason why I West Anderson inspires me? I just think he has very foreign film groups. He shoots a lot of his work symmetrically. His style is amazing to me. I like the way he tells stories.
Lune: Do you have anyone else?
Malcolm: More recently, Tyler Perry. I’m not a fan of his older stuff. Don’t get me wrong. I have very nostalgic memories about old Tyler Perry stuff because its about black family households. But as a filmmaker not a big fan until Acrimony. I feel like that’s one of the best movies created.
Lune: I need to watch that as well!
Malcolm: You haven’t seen it yet?! Listen. If you have not seen Acrimony….it’s good stuff. Crazy. Tyler Perry is a huge inspiration for me in regards to what I want to do with Hawk Imperial Studios because what he’s been able to do with Tyler Perry Studios…crazy!
Lune: Oh man! And he’s done it on his own.
Malcolm: Not on his own. We have a cheat code. He’s a man of faith.
Lune: When I say on his own…you’re right. Absolutely. Thank you for correcting me. I mean he isn’t mainstream. Do you have a desire to be mainstream?
Malcolm: No. No. Well. Yes. But for other reasons. The reason why I want to be mainstream…and I didn’t used to want that. I’ve had conversations with my fiancé about how I don’t want to be famous. I don’t want to be this. I don’t want to be that. And I had a conversation with a guy who is a part of my church community and he said “You don’t have a choice but to be famous.” The greater you make God’s name the greater He will make your name and the only reason He will do that is because you will continue to make His name great. So it’s not about you.” The reason I didn’t want to be famous or I didn’t want to be known was for reasons that were selfish. I didn’t want to be out to eat and somebody walks up to me. I just didn’t want to be bothered. But it’s not about being bothered. It’s about letting people experience the Gospel.
Lune: Malcolm. Malcolm. Unless if you decide you don’t want to continue using the talents that God has given you I don’t see how you’re not going to be well known. My question to you is what does humility look like especially when you’re Gospel centered and I’m not talking about false humility because you can easily say “Well, Glory to God”.
Malcolm: I heard somebody say that to fake humble is a corny way of being arrogant.
Lune: It’s horrible. It’s horrible. You have to figure that out. How does your head not get big?!
Malcolm: For me. I think it’s in my process. A lot of it has to do with my process. I think the issue with a lot of artists is that they make it “there” whatever there is and they stop doing whatever made them get there. So, I know naturally my environments are going to change overtime. Let’s say tomorrow I’m given a 50 million dollar budget to do a movie. I think I still want to write the script in the closet with no one around to just bring me back to the space of like “Hey this isn’t you. This has nothing to do with you.” Essentially no one knows about you. It’s not even about who you are. It’s more so about whose you are. So I think understanding that and having people around me. In my opinion. I did an awesome job in choosing a wife because I don’t think she will allow me to forget that I’m like trash.
Lune: Tiarah will will let you know about yourself!
Malcolm: I think Tiarah is one of the biggest parts. She keeps me grounded and she inspires me in a lot of ways to not succumb to the glamor and glitz of it all because she’s very calm and she’s very reserved and she doesn’t like the glittery stuff. And she makes me reconsider why I do what I do. Sometimes I just want to go big and she’s so doesn’t want that. So I get to a place where I can understand where she’s coming from. And also just striving to have a consistent relationship with God and to not take that lightly.
Lune: And surrounding yourself with...
Malcolm: With people that have very Gospel centered intentions. But even more than that is being closer to God. Even the people around me can change. They can start to conform to another way and if I’m following them...
Lune: Oh yes of course. It’s not about following them but being in fellowship with them.
Malcolm: I think putting God first will give me the proper discernment in knowing who to keep around me.
Malcolm: Because sometimes in some seasons it’s great to have people but it’s not always great to keep people. Certain people are for certain seasons. So as I grow and develop throughout my personal life, my career, my marriage, my family life when I start to have kids I’m not going to keep everyone around me. I can’t.
Lune: As that is happening and as possible fame comes with that how you let go of people in those seasons are important too because you’re going to become an example to others.
Malcolm: I’m also allowing God’s grace to do that for me. I’m so happy I don’t have to do any of this. I’m so happy that I’m just a vessel. I’m so happy I don’t have the responsibility of knowing how to and when to and what to. I just have the responsibility of submission and He kind of takes it from there. So such a huge burden is taken off of my shoulders. I don’t have to have the budget to make the film. I don’t have to have the capacity to make the film.
Lune: You don’t have to!
Malcolm: I don’t have to. I just have to be a willing participant in God’s process and he’s going to take care of everything else.
Lune: I know we discussed my thoughts on this but do you consider yourself a creative? And at what point did you realize “Oh dang. I am a creative and I don’t function in these boxes.”
Malcolm: I do accept myself as a creative because everyday I’m learning to accept myself as God’s son and God is the Creator. So naturally if I’m his son and I’m the spitting image of him I’m going to want to create. Of course I’m a creative.
Lune: Malcolm, what is life if we are not co-creating with God.
Malcolm: I agree. What is that?
Lune: What do you see life is?
Malcolm: Oh. That’s not a rhetorical question?! I don’t know. Here’s the irony. If I envision a life where I am not co-creating with God I still am creating an image in my brain what that might look like. So even in that process of imagining I’m creating.
Lune: Are you suggesting that to create you are co-creating with God whether you accept it as such?
Malcolm: Not always. I do believe you can create without God. I don’t believe that God is in every single creative process but I do believe that God is in every single creative process that is intentional about doing something good.
Lune: And I think there is something to be said for someone who knows and recognizes that they are co-creating with God.
Malcolm: Right because if you don’t recognize that there is no intentionality.
Lune: But God can still use it.
Malcolm: God can use anything. But I have a personal belief that He doesn’t. Although he can use anything He doesn’t.
Lune: Absolutely. What kind of culture are you hoping to create with your endeavors and how do you create culture well? I ask that because often people believe that culture happens to us rather than believing that we create it.
Malcolm: Yea. We think we don’t affect it.
Lune: It’s not even affect. Affect is still secondary. We all have a responsibility to create culture. And I believe that as Christians we have a responsibility to not only create culture but to create culture well and we do create culture whether or not we believe it or see it by our actions by the words we use. Everything. By our work. By the people we surround ourselves with. So, what kind of culture are you hoping to create with Hawk Imperial Studios and you as an individual, how do you create culture well?
Malcolm: The type of culture that I feel I have been given a responsibility to create is a culture that produces thought leaders and action takers. I feel like film and entertainment has become this idea of escapism. “My life sucks right now. Let me go see a movie. My life sucks right now let me go to a concert.” And don’t get me wrong those things are good. Take your mind off the pressure. Awesome. There’s a place for movies like that. But when that becomes the entire industry, it’s bad. I want you to be entertained but I don’t make films for your entertainment. So, the culture that we strive to create is one where you watch a movie and your thoughts are provoked and you’re like “Woah I never thought of it like that” You leave the theater with self introspection. Thought provoking. And not only do I not want to provoke you to thought but with the different organizations that I am going to partner with I want to provoke you to action. I don’t want you to leave the theater and it’s a conversation for two weeks and then on to the next. Everybody was crazy about the R Kelly documentary. It was everywhere. Now we are on Soldier Boy. What happened to the victims? What happened to R Kelly?. And again we are being offered information but we’re not even being provoked to take action. We’re just being enabled to watch more and receive more information. Information not applied creates arrogance.
Malcolm: Yes that’s why they say wisdom is the application of knowledge. The consumption of knowledge without application creates arrogance because you know a lot but you don’t do anything. So you have the answer for everything but you have the evidence for nothing. I heard Denzel Washington say “A lot of people are doing a lot but they don’t get a lot done.” We confuse motion for progress. Just because you’re moving doesn’t mean you’re moving forward. You can run in the same place. I think it’s because people are not being provoked to take action. It’s very accepted for people to run in place. Nobody questions those that run in place. So you watch a movie or you see an important issue on an important subject matter. The marginalization on the black community, women’s rights, or sexual assault, or human trafficking and you have the thoughts about it. You receive the statistics about it and then you do nothing. Now you walk around knowing the statistics. Knowing the issues. Now you can be involved in these conversations amongst your friends and you can sound smart and sound politically in tune with your surroundings. But me, the jerk that walks up to the circle of friends that are having another political conversation based on this movie and I go “Hey this is great that we are having this conversation. Let me ask you this. What did any of you do in the last six months for this cause you are championing for. What did you do?” “Oh we’re having conversation and it all starts there right?” No. Because it doesn’t just start with conversation. The question is about what? Is the conversation result driven/oriented. Are we having the conversation just to have it? Because a lot of people say “Ok. we’re going to stop talking because this is not going anywhere.” But we don’t do that when it comes to the social constructs that we seem to have a problem with. So, again. I don’t have issues with the people but the problems I have with the films like Get Out, like 12 Years A Slave. You leave the theater and you have conversations with your family and friends and it's super intelligent and then you go home.
Lune: But Malcolm. We can’t do everything.
Malcolm: Sure. That’s why I feel like certain films are for certain people. Hawk Imperial Studios is going to grow and develop a culture where you know to stay after the credits, especially if this particular film moved you. Just like in a Marvel movie. Credits don’t get you out of your seat.
Malcolm: You know to sit down and stay there because you know they’re going to give something for the next movie. They created that culture.
Lune: I love it.
Malcolm: If you watched a movie and you didn’t feel anything then it’s not for you because you’re right. We can’t do everything. We can’t. Not everyone that sees Reckless is going to be like “Oh my gosh. Human trafficking!” No. But I’m not looking for everyone to do everything. I’m not looking for most. I’m not even looking for some. I’m looking for the one. Just like God will leave 99 looking for the 1. I’m looking for the one. Because all it takes is 1. All it takes is for one person to see Reckless for them and go “Oh No. This is never happening again on my watch and if it does happen it’s not going to be because I didn’t fight and give my life to this.” And then they are going to start the biggest organization and they are going to rescue thousands of men, women, and children and people are going to say “Hey where did you get the inspiration to start this organization?” And they are going to say when I was 16, 17, 25, 40 I saw this movie, Reckless and it changed everything for me. If we have that 1 that’s all that matters.
Lune: That’s amazing! That’s taking action. The goal isn’t to necessarily reach the masses.
Malcolm: I’m looking for one. Just one.
Lune: Last question for you today! What does Hawk Imperial Studios have to say to the filmmaking industry?
Malcolm: Good luck.
Lune: Why so?
Malcolm: I don’t think it’s going to be fair. Honestly. Because I think what God is going to do through me is he’s going to raise the standard for art in its totality and a lot of people aren’t going to like that because what that may means for them. And they’re going to try to duplicate that model and unless they invite God into their heart it’s not going to work. That’s why I say good luck because I know a lot of people are not receptive to what I just said. But good luck.
Lune: Malcolm thank you so much! This was amazing. Thank you for your time.
Malcolm: Thank you.