FROM DIRECTING MUSIC VIDEOS TO DIRECTING A FEATURE FILM, RH BLESS
Easter Sunday is a feature length drama film based on true events that occurred in Brooklyn’s Coney Island and Red Hook neighborhoods. The film starts off on Easter Sunday and a group of teens journey into a traditional outing to Coney Island. The outing takes an unexpected and life changing turn when these friends find themselves caught up in the midst of a subway shooting after a previous run in with members from another group.
The film was directed by Brooklyn’s very own Hip Hop artist, RH Bless. Bless endeavored into filmmaking by first being a Hip Hop artist, producing and directing his own music videos. While in the process of making an extended music video for a song that was made to reflect on the tragedy of Easter Sunday, he says: “It started off as a treatment for a music video. But the vision I had for it became too big for just a music video. A three minute and something second music video was not enough to tell the story so it took on a life of its own.” Thus, Easter Sunday was conceptualized and made into a movie.
ONE ON ONE WITH RH BLESS
Can you tell us about your transition from directing music videos to directing a feature film?
For many of the videos I directed the goal was to tell a story visually and not just have a typical performance video. My passion and desire to tell stories continued to grow and I began nurturing my writing abilities. At the same time I began investing in myself and I started purchasing more and more filmmaking equipment, better cameras, etc. With that I started bringing my stories to fruition visually.
You have an ensemble cast in Easter Sunday. How did you go about casting for the film?
I held an audition for some of the cast members. Quite a few others were casted from networking and meeting talented and hungry actors willing to lend their time and gifts and take a chance with a first time film director. For some of the actors it was their first film project as well so it was a growing experience for many of us and I’m thankful for everyone that took part in the film.
Is there anything in particular that compelled you to make Easter Sunday?
The story was a true story based on actual events that took place involving my cousin and some child hood friends from the Red Hook neighborhood. The actual incident surrounding the story was something that scarred many in the Red Hook, Brooklyn, community. It haunted those that were there that evening, many that never received therapy or closure after such a traumatic event.
Can you tell us about the locations you shot Easter Sunday in? Particularly why those locations were selected?
The locations were Red Hook Projects, the home base of the main characters and Coney Island, the place where everyone from Brooklyn would go on Easter Sunday. We also shot in Fort Greene Projects, Williamsburg, Bed-Stuy, and on the subway.
What were your biggest challenges in making Easter Sunday? From pre-production to post-production?
Some of the challenges were getting crew and actors schedules to align and production pauses due to cast members being incarcerated. But the greatest challenge was having to deal with a conflict with an initial partner in the production of the film. When roles and responsibilities aren’t carried out, expectations aren’t met, and the show must go on, but communication is poor, it all leads to trouble. Egos get involved, emotions boil. It becomes enough to really try or break a relationship, if you let it.
What exactly do you want viewers to walk away with after watching Easter Sunday?
Easter Sunday is mainly a message to the youth. The decisions you make now will affect you for the rest of your life. Not only may they affect you, but your decisions and choices may affect those near and dear to you. Think before you act. Act and not react. It can save your life, save your future, as well as someone else’s.
As far as filmmaking, what are you working on now?
I’m working on collaboration projects for film festivals as well as a web series. I have a feature in development and a few pilots for pitching. I’m continuously writing, creating and directing for myself and others. Hustling and Praying.
What advise can you give to inspiring filmmakers? As far as writing, directing, obtaining funds, etc.
First, find your passion then harness it. Don’t worry about obtaining funds. I started and did it with no money. Only the money in my pocket. Invest in yourself. Wait on no one. Decide in your mind what you want to do. Get as much help as you can, a team, then y’all get it done, period! Let nothing or no one stop it from being completed. Hustle and Pray. Hustle And Pray. Hustle And Pray.
WATCH EASTER SUNDAY
Below is a button link to preview and view RH Bless’s Easter Sunday. If you’d be so kind to view the film, we’d love to hear your take on it. You can simply send us your comments via our CONTACT page.
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