by The People’s Minister of Information JR
The opening film for the San Francisco Black Film Festival this year is the much anticipated award winning “Guitar Man,” which will screen Thursday, June 13, 6 p.m., at the FilmMore Grand Theater, at 1330 Fillmore St. in San Francisco. After the film, there will be a Q&A with the filmmaker and crew featuring actor Rappin 4-Tay and hosted by D’Wayne Wiggins of Tony Toni Tone, one of the Bay’s most prominent guitar men.
I wanted to give people a quick preview of the opening night festivities with the hope of inspiring you, the reader, to come check this screening out as well as the rest of the San Francisco Black Film Festival at sfbff.org. Here is a quick Q&A with associate producer Ray Robinson.
M.O.I. JR: What inspired the writing of “Guitar Man”? Was it influenced by true events?
Ray Robinson: “Guitar Man” was written by Laurie Lamson and Rocky Capella and was based on a true story from the book titled “Don’t Shoot! I’m The Guitar Man” by author and musician Buzzy Martin.
M.O.I. JR: What are you saying throughout the film about the power of music?
Ray Robinson: Music in our film, as in society, plays a huge role in the very fabric of everyone’s life. I cannot stress enough the power and how it influences all with truth daily no matter the genre.
M.O.I. JR: What is the significance of the main character working in the prison?
Ray Robinson: The main character, Buzzy Martin, taught music to prisoners at San Quentin and later took those experiences back to the at-risk youth that he taught and still teaches to this day!
M.O.I. JR: Since this film was locally shot, what do you want the locals to get out of this film at the SF Black Film Fest?
Ray Robinson: What I would like local communities to get from our film most is that while Hollywood is the main business hub of the entertainment world, I believe that you can make your Hollywood from practically any place in the world. The San Francisco Black Film Fest is showing just that by showcasing great local films and international films.
M.O.I. JR: Have you shown this film in other places? What is the ultimate goal for the film after you complete the film festival circuit?
Ray Robinson: Our film has been accepted into 13 film festivals and it has won 10 awards from Best Feature Film to Best Screenplay. After our film completes its film festival run in a few months, it will go into the distribution and marketing phase of its journey that will determine the media markets where it will be able to be viewed globally.
M.O.I. JR: How did you feel when you heard that “Guitar Man” was selected to be in the SF Black Film Fest this year?
Ray Robinson: Our entire team was elated on so many levels! It’s the feeling one gets when the home team comes home to play after a long road trip. A chance to show our film at home: Priceless!
M.O.I. JR: How were you able to galvanize such a base of support behind your film, considering that it is one of the biggest ticket sellers in the SFBFF this year?
Ray Robinson: As filmmakers from Day One we wanted to be different right out of the box. By that I mean it’s not just about getting that great script (which is of extreme importance); however, this being a people business, it has and will always be at our core to promote and create a positive collaborative atmosphere for artists to thrive.
You do that, and the byproduct is that it will show up on the screen and for that matter whenever our film is talked about – word of mouth has been a powerful driving force – and I would like to think how we treat people has had a lot to do with the following we have been blessed with thus far.
M.O.I. JR: How long have you been a filmmaker? And what’s your history in filmmaking?
Ray Robinson: I have been in the film industry for over 20 years working at various positions learning and working up to producing (we’re always learning): associate producer on “Full Moon Rising,” producer on “Reach,” “Sleeping With The Lion,” “Brackish Waters” and “Guitar Man” and various other commercial projects.
M.O.I. JR: How do people keep up with your work?
The People’s Minister of Information JR Valrey, journalist, author and filmmaker, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook. And tune in to BlockReportTV on YouTube.