Interview by Andreea Boyer // Edited by Chris Charles of Idol Features
Filmmaker C. Nathanial Brown has an impressive list of works that have earned recognition at prominent film festivals and script competitions. Most of his films deal with serious issues in our society, such as his 2017 feature-length film Chi Nu Legacy, which addresses the topic of campus sexual assault. His recent short, Sacrificing the Queen, which he co-wrote with Rody Pollock, is about two rival gang members discussing a truce ….over a game of chess.
Andreea Boyer: Where are you from and what can you tell us about yourself?
C. Nathaniel Brown: I was born in Baltimore, Maryland (USA) and raised by a single mother, my grandmother, and a group of strong aunts. I knew at an early age that I wanted to be a writer because I enjoyed creating new worlds and telling stories based around the things I was seeing in my family and in my community. My family encouraged me to pursue my desires and cultivated my gifts by always buying me books, inquiring about my writing projects, and sharing my work with other family members, friends, and their co-workers. I am married with two grown children and two grandsons. My wife and I currently live in Atlanta, Ga., where we moved in 2011 to pursue the media and entertainment industries. That’s when I officially founded my company, Expected End Entertainment.
Andreea Boyer: Have you been working in the film industry mainly in your country or also somewhere else around the globe?
C. Nathaniel Brown: I have only worked in the United States so far, but I desire to produce film and television projects all over the world, including in multiple countries in Africa, Dubai, London, and other locations. We have been fortunate to have several of our projects screen at different festivals around the world, including India, London, Ghana, and the Bahamas.
Andreea Boyer: How did you start your career as a filmmaker and what has motivated and inspired you?
C. Nathaniel Brown: From the time I was a child, I used to write story ideas and scenes of scraps of paper and say; “One day, I’m going to put this in a movie” or “One day, this is going to be on television.” I never lost sight of those goals. After filming my first short film with a few interns at my photography studio when I was 39, it awakened all of the dreams and visions. So, I set out to tell more stories and that’s what I did. Since then, I have written, directed and/or produced more than 40 projects, including short films, feature films, documentaries, webseries, and television scripts. Because many of my projects are socially conscious, dealing with topics such as sexual assault, bullying, domestic violence, and breast cancer, I see the impact that my storytelling has on the people who experience it. It inspires and motivates me to continue to produce content. I also get to work with very talented and passionate people in front of and behind the camera. We all push one another to be better. I love that feeling and I can’t get enough of it.
Andreea Boyer: When did you start with your career as a filmmaker and has filmmaking always been your main focus?
C. Nathaniel Brown: I have always been a writer. My professional career started as a newspaper and magazine writer and editor. I transitioned to photography, but still wrote and edited on the side, including becoming a published author and a writing coach helping other writers. I eventually saw the merging of my photography and writing that eventually led me to filmmaking. I have been focused on creating content for film and television ever since.
Andreea Boyer: What can you tell us about the cast and story from your movie Sacrificing the Queen?
C. Nathaniel Brown: Our executive producer and co-writer Rody Pollock approached me about an idea he had for a short film. I was intrigued by the possibility of being one of the characters, so we began developing the idea for Sacrificing the Queen and came up with the amazing storyline of two rivals gang members who discuss a truce over a game a chess. We wanted to add a couple plot twists. Immediately we began seeing actors we were familiar with in a few of the roles, including LaKeta Booker and Saga Boss. When they read the script, they were all in. We built the rest of the cast around them.
Andreea Boyer: Where did you film your movie?
C. Nathaniel Brown: We filmed Sacrificing the Queen in Atlanta, Ga. We shot in a park, a warehouse and at two houses.
Andreea Boyer: What can you tell us about your other films and work?
C. Nathaniel Brown: I have been fortunate to work with amazing actors, producers, writers, and other filmmakers to produce about 40 projects, including 25 short films in the past two years, several of which are available on Amazon Prime, Youtube, and other streaming platforms. Our first feature film, Chi Nu Legacy, is an award-winning film that address campus sexual assault. We have two other feature films in post-production; Same Spot, a romantic drama that deals with complicated relationships and breast cancer, and I Once Was Blind, a documentary about a man who went blind but gained greater vision for life and helping others. We are also in pre-production on our next feature film, an inspirational drama called Malachi. Several of our short films have won awards are have been very popular, including a newly released short film called Not My Daughter, which deals with sex trafficking, and Stand Up, a short film that deals with bullying.
Andreea Boyer: What can you tell us about your best experiences and which moments in your career have been the most influential ones for you?
C. Nathaniel Brown: The best filmmaking experiences for me come when I collaborate with equally talented and passionate people who help bring ideas to life. To know that something started as an idea in my mind and then watch it grow and life on its own, is so powerful to me. The second part is watching the intended audience receive the messages of the projects. My company’s motto is to entertain, educate, and empower. So, to have out projects to one or more of those things fuels me to create even more. We did a film called Signs that addressed suicide and knowing that film prevented people from committing suicide shows me that our filmmaking and storytelling has bigger impacts than just creating something; it also prevents and sustains. That means the world to me.
Andreea Boyer: Which moments on the film set have been the most difficult ones for you?
C. Nathaniel Brown: The most challenge part of filmmaking for me, as an independent filmmaker, is having to wear too many hats. Sometimes, my mentees call me a one-man show because I might be shooting, doing sound, and directing at the same time. So, what happens is we will miss something like a reflection in the mirror or the boom in the shot, just because we don’t have one dedicated person in all the key positions. But I’m aware of the process of building a strong team and allowing people to work in their areas of gifting.
Andreea Boyer: What is your advise for all young independent filmmakers on how they should work on their goals and reach the best audience for their individual work?
C. Nathaniel Brown: My advice to my mentees, aspiring filmmakers, and aspiring writers, is to start where you are. Lao Tzu said; “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Realize that if you are going to reach any destination, you must set out. No, you won’t do everything right the first time, or probably ever. But you are doing it. Create momentum, learn as you go, build your team, and continue to feed your audience. And finally; never quit. The only way to assure failure is to accept it. Any time you create something and it reaches an audience, that’s a win.
Thank you, Mr. Brown. We wish you continued success.
See more of C. Nathaniel Brown and his works at his IMDb page.