‘If you can dream it, you can be it’: African American film producer headed to Cannes

The joy of fatherhood: Helpful tips for fathers and men who want to become fathers

by Morris Turner, a proud father

Kwasi Turner, who just happens to be my son, served as co-producer for the film, “Do They Fit?” which will be shown at the Cannes Film Festival in France this May. The film, written and produced by DeForest Mapp, was co-produced by Stefan Gonzalez and is a romantic dramady to be showcased in the Short Film Corner of the festival. The featured actors include Erric Thompson, Afi Ayanna, Christine Waller and Jasania Deshong.

Kwasi Turner, son of Bay View writer Morris Turner, is on the right
Kwasi Turner, son of Bay View writer Morris Turner, is on the right

Kwasi, now 38 years old, has been interested in film since high school and has participated in various projects including a “man on the street” collage he produced while attending the 1998 Super Bowl in San Diego, California. At the age of 18, family friend Sharon McGriff-Payne, author of “African Americans in early California,” told him about a screen writing course being offered through UC Berkeley extension. Not really knowing how serious he was about film, my wife Phyllis and I paid the $150 for the two-day course and, as they say, “The rest is history.”

This is not an “overnight” success story by any means, however, and Kwasi has paid his dues along the way. After graduating from Santa Rosa Junior College and receiving a football scholarship to the University of Mary in North Dakota (long story), he moved to Atlanta where he met other young folks pursuing their passion in the film industry.

He started at the bottom, driving trucks, loading equipment and serving food to the film crews. He met and networked with a variety of people along the way, leading to an array of experiences in the film world. Some paid and some just for the “hands-on” opportunities.

Kwasi’s advice to those wanting to enter the film industry: “Be ready to work long days and nights for little or no pay and take on any job or task you are asked to do because you never know where it will lead you.”

Fast forward, Kwasi’s recent film work includes assistant camera for PBS’ Genealogy Road Show, gaffer and key grip for HGTV’s “Curb Appeal” and associate producer for the Science Channel’s “What Could Possibly Go Wrong?”

Kwasi is raising funds for the trip himself and I encourage all members of our village to help out in any way you can. Please send your “twos and fews” to the following GoFundMe account: https://www.gofundme.com/26zd9vvw

Donations in any amount will be greatly appreciated. The trailer for the film “Do They Fit?” can be found at https://vimeo.com/152260474.

Kwasi’s advice to those wanting to enter the film industry: “Be ready to work long days and nights for little or no pay and take on any job or task you are asked to do because you never know where it will lead you.”

Morris Turner, the father of two sons, ages 39 and 35, was a community worker with the Black Panther Party. Over the past 45 years he has worked with children and young people in a variety of settings, including as preschool teacher, career counselor, family mentor and sports coach. He is also an author and recognized researcher in the area of African American settlement in the United States, but his greatest pleasure today is learning to be a good grandpa. He can be reached at missnpages@comcast.net.

Do They Fit? (Trailer) from DeForest Mapp on Vimeo.