For those readers who were not around in the 70’s, it was a time period where we first discovered the Black exploitations films. We had Superfly, Shaft and many others that can now been seen on DVD.
Stars from this era of films initially faced criticism for their roles, but decades later, audiences began to have fond memories and a new surge of awareness for the artistry and the acting performaces of the talent.
Brown Sugar, the popular subscription video-on-demand service from Bounce TV has acquired the biggest collection of the baddest African-American movies of all-time. And the network is premiering its first-ever original short film this month called “Blackstar Warrior.”
Blackstar Warrior, an original new blaxploitation-meets-Star Wars mash up starring Leonard Roberts (Drumline, Love Jones), will debut on Brown Sugar on June 24. Set in a 1970s version of the future, the tongue-in-cheek film follows space detective Tyson Roderick (Roberts) who, in his quest to discover the truth behind his origins, stumbles into — and must defeat — a cult hellbent on taking over the galaxy. Blackstar Warrior was directed by Matt Haley and co-written by Simon Oré.
In a quick convo with Right On! Digital, we learned more about this comedy.
RIGHT ON! DIGITAL: How do you feel about the project coming out at this time?
LEONARD ROBERTS: I think that while we are gIving an earnest nod to the people came before, we can now see things of this nature through a wider lens. You watched those original shows (and films) so you could see you and seeing you on a screen is monumental. We can take this with reverence and we can see comedy and irony in a way that we were not a able to in times past. It’s good to be a part of progress.
RIGHT ON! DIGITAL: How would you describe Leonard Roberts who plays the character Tyson?
MATT HALEY: Leonard’s training and charm put everyone else at ease. We want actors to feel at ease on set. These folks know what they’re doing, so I try not to micromanage. As a director you create a scene, don’t judge. Tyson it’s his universe and we’re all living in it.
RIGHT ON! DIGITAL: Did you encounter any difficulties on set?
LEONARD: it was difficult not to crack up on set. And we’ll have so much more of that!
RIGHT ON! DIGITAL: How difficult is filmmaking these days? Is there any advice to people that would like to break into the field?
SIMON ORE: At the end of the day there are obstacles, but look at what you have at your disposal. If you have a good story, the creative field is like vineyard. You won’t have wine in a month. You’ll lose crops at first. But you should never get discouraged; if you have a script, there’s always new people at these companies so that you can submit your material.