Interview with Filmmaker Benjamin Jefferson (OREO)

OREO played to rave reviews at the November 2021 WILDsound Comedy Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I have often been called an ‘Oreo’ growing up in the suburbs as an upper middle class black kid that didn’t go to majority black schools. As a result, I often struggled with how I perceived and am perceived by my own race. I think nowadays more and more black kids are growing up like I did and having similar struggles. This film is for my fellow so called ‘Black-ish’ people out there.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?

I got the Idea from a TikTok in August 2020 and its first audience screening was February 2021

3. How would you describe your film in two words!?

Surreal & Layered

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

Finding a location that would be authentic but still allow us to capture usable audio. All the real bus stops and busy roads we thought of would have too much traffic noise. So, we had to settle for a more country look, because if we can’t get audio, we don’t have a film.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

The Audience feedback is the whole reason why I make films. I have never been an “Art for Art’s sake” filmmaker. So, when I saw that the reactions were what I intended when I wrote it, that was very satisfying. I literally clapped and cheered out loud when they said Oreo “reminded them of ATLANTA”. From the very inspiration, even at the first draft stage, All the way through the final cut, my whole mantra to the entire team was “I want to emulate the feeling you get from ATLANTA” so to hear the audience say that means we did our job.

Watch Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

In 7th grade, I realized that being a movie star like Will Smith “was not a realistic, stable career path” so I chose a different unrealistic, unstable career path, behind the camera.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

Back to The Future is my favorite movie of all time.

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

This is great I have no notes.

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?

FilmFreeway is great, I like that I can always update the project file as I complete final touches on my stuff as we go through screenings at different festivals, and I realize tweaks I can make to improve the film for the next festival.

10. What is your favorite meal?

Mac n Cheese – in any form from Kraft to home made. My favorite is Stouffer’s brand on Thanksgiving.

11. What is next for you? A new film?

I’m currently rewriting my next short film called DINNER WITH VENUS. It is about a 35y.o. executrix who manipulates her 18y.o. tinder date into allowing her to execute him. The goal is to have that out by next October for Austin Film Festival.

By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival www.wildsound.ca

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