Discreet City | Nicholas Delmacy
Filmmaker Lamont Pierre's work has been visible on the pages of Discreet City a lot lately. With the release of Episode Four [embedded below], the FINAL episode of that he calls the "Pre-Season" of his web series "Freefall," he will now close out Discreet City's stories for 2012. With the end of new episodes of the series comes a $3,000 fundraiser to help produce more in the future, presumably the money raised will be going to fix some of the issues brought up by commenters on this site.
We've been relatively quiet on giving our own opinions of the show after four episodes. However, regular readers probably already know how we feel. And given our long discussion with Lamont Pierre [Interview Inserted After the Break], we're pretty sure he already knows how we feel as well. Having said that, we look forward to seeing what the filmmaker can do with a fresh start and an actual budget.
So here's our complete, controversial, NO-HOLDS-BARRED interview with the creator of "Freefall." We discuss the origin of the series (and its inspiration from DISCREET CITY), the filmmaker's obstacles of being a gay black filmmaker, how he REALLY feels about the project and how he sees the wretched state of gay cinema and gay filmmakers in general. We've transcribed the beginning of the interview and embedded the FULL AUDIO for you podcast/iTunes/mp3 listeners.
[Editor's Note: Please excuse the sound quality of the interview, we're working out the kinks for more interviews in the future. Never happen again!]
Hear the DISCREET CITY'S INTERVIEW WITH LAMONT PIERRE, In Just One Click!
Lamont Pierre: It’s my second web series that I’ve directed, produced and written. I have another web series called “My Brother’s Keeper” that is our signature project and we’ve been doing that web series since 2005. This year will make our seventh year and third season of doing that show. Then I also have a couple short films that I’ve been able to do in the past few years and right now my team is in different stages of developing a few feature films. Including my new feature film, that’s coming out any week now (to film festivals) called “Talking With the Taxman About Poetry.”
Nick: So you were doing web series before web series were cool, right?
Lamont Pierre: You know its funny that you say that because I say that to my team. We were doing web series before it was the genre that it is now. But we don’t get credit for it but it’s cool. We started in 2005 when were also in college. We started putting our content online. Then, maybe two or three years ago, it kinda became this genre that the industry calls “new media”. We went back and started doing season three and adjusted some things to fit the parameters of the new genre.
Nick: Even from the first season of My Brothers Keeper I saw that you had at least one Gay black character on there. How difficult was that…because the climate was different back then than it is now.
Absolutely. I started the project knowing that I wanted one of the main characters to be gay. It turned out that when we first started in pre-production and getting the scripts tight, we found this actor and I ended up a making him a main character so I had two gay characters, but one of them was purposely D.L. So every season has had these gay characters on the show and that was a prominent storyline the entire way thru. Taking us to the current project “Freefall,” I took one of the gay characters from "My Brother's Keeper" and did a spinoff show and that’s what “Freefall” is…We took the character Xavier and built the “Freefall” show around that char from "My Brother's Keeper."
Nick: In the past you’ve focused on a crash type storyline where you have different characters and their lives intersecting, what made you say, “we’re going to make this an entirely gay storyline focusing on theses characters?”
Lamont Pierre: Okay, I kinda anticipated this question…it was a natural evolution to do this particular show this particular way. I have to say if you were to actually look back at all of my projects, including the short films that I’ve done, a smart person would probably make the conclusion that my films are a progression of my own sexuality. Getting to the point where I’m doing a completely gay show from the gate. The issues and situations are exclusively that…and exclusively around the lives of these three types of characters. It was a natural thing that I’ve wanted to do. “My Brother’s Keeper” allowed me to get into certain things but it was more of an ensemble show. This project I wanted to do something different than I’ve done in the past, (something) that wasn’t necessarily “me.” I don’t know if I answered your question though (laughs).
Nick: Nah I think I get a sense of it…it was just an internal artistic thing, you felt like it was time…
Lamont Pierre: Yeah, there’s something that I’m leaving out…You guys can claim a little bit of the credit for me doing this show.
Ocky: Oh wow! (Laughs)
Nick: Uh oh…(Laughs)
Lamont Pierre: I’ll explain myself (laughs). Now, you guys are aware of all the different online outlets out there, all the different blogs and sites. The same way you guys are aware of it because this is what you do, we’re aware of it on our side, especially the ones that are making content. You guys…your site is different. It’s a different perspective and there’s really nobody comparable out there that is looking at the community in the way that you guys are doing and analyzing it in the way that you guys are doing. When I discovered your site, I don’t know how, I think I’ve been reading your site for at least a year. I would go to your site because I always know that I’m going to get a different perspective on things. So I’d be checking out your site and see something that you guys have written over time and I’d be like, “ You know what, yeah…where’s the series and projects that your demo would be interested in?” So that kinda got the wheel turning. And I’m not trying to say that “Freefall” is exactly that, but its important to look at the lifestyle of gay men in different lights. I wanted to do this concept, but knowing that at least there was somebody that was open to seeing something like that was definitely one of the inspirations behind creating a show like this.
Ocky: Just so the listeners know, this is not a paid interview!
Lamont Pierre: That’s why I was excited to talk to you guys because its different. I’ve done press before but sometimes it tends to gets “the same”…as opposed to somebody else (that are) coming from somewhere else and they have a different perspective of the content and what you’re doing (as a content creator).
Nick: No, we appreciate that, having said that I guess we can “get into it”…I’d heard of “My Brother’s Keeper” before “Freefall” but I only saw one episode. Once we set up the interview, I went back and watched a bunch of them and a lot of it is really good. I was surprised to see that Octavius felt the same way.
Ocky: I looked at “Freefall” before I looked at “My Brother’s Keeper.” Looking at “My Brother’s Keeper” after, I felt there was a difference. There was a perspective, environment, scope and style that I felt “Freefall” was missing that I felt “My Brother’s Keeper” actually had…I felt that the same person who did “My Brother’s Keeper” was holding something back.
Lamont Pierre: With “Freefall”…it was supposed to be an experiment. We’re actually on an extended hiatus from “My Brother’s Keeper” right now, we’ve been filming that hardcore for the last 2 years. We got down to this (past) fall and I really wanted to do something different. I kept saying that to my team. I said, “Well, let me go off (solo).” I had an idea but I didn’t tell them about “Freefall.” I went and kinda developed it with a friend of mine. We worked out the characters and the story and what we wanted to do. We really wanted to approach “Freefall” from a minimalistic perspective production-wise because it was just supposed to be an experiment for me, me personally, artistically…And I’ve got to be honest with you, “My Brother’s Keeper” has been my baby for so many years but it’s a challenging project to really make catch on and be a hit. It’s a slow grower that takes a lot of resources, time and money to be able to produce. We weren’t really getting the returns that we felt like we wanted especially being in Season Three, filming in 4 different cities. I really wanted to start over with something. “Freefall” was my experiment in creating something that was for a specific demographic. We did the first episode and I didn’t go into it with the same force that I usually do because it was just supposed to be an experiment. “My Brother’s Keeper” is very socially conscious project, its very hard to build an audience for that because it is so heavy. With “Freefall” I really was like, “I wanna see what kind of audience we’d get if we took this approach and we talked about this and had these type of people in it…I just wanna see.” So we put out Episode One and that was really…I personally was pretty surprised at the response form it. I felt like, “Okay, now I need to give the show my full treatment. I need to start treating this like it’s not an experiment any more. One thing that I’ve learned from releasing “Freefall” is that the gay audience, maybe even specifically the gay black audience is really starving for content. At that point I said, “I can let this show be a bunch of bullshit or I could really put the kind of heart into it the same as I would any of my other projects that are important to me.”
Ocky: Do you personally identify yourself as a homosexual man?
Lamont Pierre: I do…I do now.
Ocky: You do now…So that evolution had not yet taken place when you were producing, writing and directing “My Brother’s Keeper”…With “Freefall,” are you using any of your own personal experiences are you using the experiences of others or both?
Lamont Pierre: Definitely both…But that can be said for anything that I write…No that’s a lie, certain projects its like that and certain projects stand on their own…
Ocky: Can one assume that these characters will evolve? Even though your writing with someone else, will Lamont Pierre’s consciousness and evolution eventually begin to show with “Freefall” also?
Lamont Pierre: Absolutely. Basically I have to find a way. Because I really love the work that did on “My Brother’s Keeper” and I would like to find a way to marry everything that I thought was awesome about that show…Marry that with something that can work specifically for this audience.
[It didn't end there...later we spoke on Sex, stereotypes, coming out of the closet and more! - Nick D]
Hear the full interview through one the links below!