ACTION FILM JACKSON BOLT WAS RECENTLY PICKED UP FOR DISTRIBUTION, MEET THE DIRECTOR BEHIND THE FILM: a’ALI DE SOUSA
Often when we think of actors and filmmakers cerebral and introspective are not defining words that come to mind. However, for actor and director a’Ali de Sousa those are the precise characteristics that led to the discovery of his filmmaking talent. He says, “I was a shy quiet and very cerebral introspective child. When I entered secondary school my freshman English teacher influenced me to not just play sports but to also get involved in theater, debate and public speaking. I won quite a few awards and I knew this is what I wanted to do. I also did my first short silent film, Yesterday, on 16mm in high school which was awarded best film.”
Fast forward after years of hard work and professional classical training, a’Ali de Sousa has established himself not only as an actor, but also as a director. His IMDB credentials list him as staring in over 20 films and having directed ten.
Of a’Ali’s most recognizable directorial films and recent release is the action film Jackson Bolt. The film stars former American professional football player turned famed Hollywood actor, Fred Williamson. It also stars former five-time World Kickboxing Champion and former four-time Sport Karate Champion, Robert D. Parham as Jackson Bolt.
Jackson Bolt is an emotionally distraught detective who must clear his name in the death of his partner. The film has garnished 15 film festival nominations and has won five best picture prizes.
The film was picked up for distribution by Maverick Entertainment whose distribution arm includes DVD releases through Red Box and Best Buy.
A’Ali granted us a gracious interview where we discussed Jackson Bolt and his future filmmaking agenda.
ONE ON ONE WITH a’ALI DE SOUSA
What inspired you to direct Jackson Bolt?
My favorite genre’s are psychological thrillers, human interest dramas and SciFi. I definitely did not see this coming. Robert Parham is one of my dearest friends and also one of my acting students whom I had coached as he came into the industry. He really wanted the opportunity to play this role and establish himself in an action film franchise. But It did take some convincing for me to stretch myself into the action genre.
Fred Williamson is an extremely recognizable figure in football and in filmmaking. How were you able to cast him for Jackson Bolt?
Mr. Williamson is a screen icon and one of the pioneers who opened the door for African people in films. For him, an actor with countless films on his resume, to accept me as a director in my first action feature is huge. He’s also a great friend of Robert Parham. The Hammer, as many know him by, is still out there doing his thing and gives back. He is providing people like myself opportunity to showcase our artistic abilities with star talent.
What was it like directing such a prominent figure whose filmography is incredibly extensive?
I’ve never been a person who is star struck. Mr. Williamson is the consummate professional. I went back and familiarized myself with his body of work. When there was the need for direction I just expressed it succinctly. The synergy between the director and their leading actors should be symbiotic and not a clash of egos. As professionals we both knew our jobs.
In addition to Fred Williamson, Jackson Bolt has an extensive casting list including world champion kick boxer Robert D. Parham. How did you go about putting together this ensemble cast?
Robert and I are great friends and have worked together several times before and we have a unique chemistry before and behind the lens. James E. Meyer producer and writer is a champion of bringing people together. We held traditional casting calls and put the actors through their paces for the principle roles and fortunately we made real good decisions. We also brought in a lot of local untested talent. Their enthusiasm and their ability to let go and be directed provided the gritty realism we sought.
In terms of filmmaking what are you working on now and what’s ahead?
I have several projects in discussion. As you know, a lot of confidential things until they’re all signed and sealed. I am also really excited about discussions with several major Hollywood studios that will bring my on screen career to the next level. They include two films that I wrote and will be playing the lead role. One is presently titled “Cards and Cars” which hits home on the social climate today and chronicles the life of high powered attorney shot by the police and left with permanent cognitive disability. The other will be the launch of my franchise character Darien Dakh®. He is a reluctant hero whose latent mystical and supernatural powers unfold, but will he embrace them to save himself and humanity?
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