Have you ever felt an inexplicably strong connection to someone you just met? I have. I felt a crazy intense connection when I met Humber College film student Alexander Henry and aspiring actor, Sam Asante at the ReelWorld Film Festival press junket a couple of months ago.
As soon as Alexander Henry – director/writer of the short film Do Somethin’, and Sam Asante – main character (Tre) in Do Somethin’, sat in front of me at my press table, I was captivated by their positive energy. I wanted to spend more time with them, but after a few minutes, they had to shuffle off to another press table. I didn’t know how, but I knew I had to speak to them again.
A few weeks after the festival, I tracked them down, sent them an invitation to meet with me, and they said yes!
The Meet Up @ Delicia Bakery
Spending the afternoon eating cake and laughing (A LOT) with these two creative guys was ah-mazing!
I met Alex a few minutes before Sam showed up. He still displayed that radiant smile that he had on the day we first met. He shared with me a bit about himself before we started the “official interview” and it was pretty clear that filmmaking is his life. He’s so dedicated to his craft that at the time of this interview, he was working on 6 projects! #doyou
Sam strolled into the bakery a few minutes after I arrived. Although the character he portrayed looked like a tough, angry youth – Sam was far from that. He was soft-spoken and even appeared quiet. Once the interview progressed, he opened up, joked around and had me laughing!
My intention of the interview was to find out more about their passion, but we went WAY off track and spent a looong time talking about #Empire, OSAP payments and our astrological signs.
Don’t worry; I did get a chance to ask them about their experience at the ReelWorld Film festival. Here’s what they had to say.
Hometown: Markham (but lived in Bowmanville, Toronto, and Stouffville)
Astrological Sign: Sagittarius
Fave director: He’s not my favourite director, but I like Wes Anderson’s work
Fun Fact: Alex came close to competing in the Olympics for Tae Kwon Do
When did your interest in making films start?
When I was 12, I made a video for Obama. I remember working on it with my friends. I got such a good mark. That’s what kinda started it. It also started in grade 10 with my friends. We were like the “film kids” of our high school. We would make videos.
How did it feel to learn your film was accepted into the festival?
It meant a lot to me. Insanely amazing! I used to do Tae Kwon Do when I was younger. It was my entire life up until coming to Humber College. From the time I was 3 years old to 17 years old. Being in the festival was like winning one of the titles for Tae Kwon Do. I took a lot of backlash for quitting at a high level in my Tae Kwon Do career. Being in the festival proves that I am going in the right direction.
A story about overcoming stereotypes and getting a chance to do the right thing. The story is told from the perspective of an inner city young adult.
What inspired “Do Somethin’”?
Even though it’s such a short film, there were a lot of things. First thing is the Trayvon Martin verdict. That pretty much impacted a good junk of this. Mike Brown, Eric Garner…they definitely inspired this film. These situations, along with the uprising and protests…I wanted to keep that dialogue going. #blacklivesmatter
Another thing that inspired this film is my brother. Even though we grew up in a great neighbourhood, my brother went on a different path. I’ve been writing about him for a while….just to get it out.
What was your favorite moment from the festival?
Besides seeing the film on the big screen, it was actually great seeing it at Scotiabank theatre – it’s the biggest theatre in Toronto. Having my family and friends there was also a highlight.
When it played in Markham it was so surreal. When I was younger I would go to the movies every Friday. I wish I could go back to my younger self and say, “Your movie is going to be playing on that screen. Just wait!
What message would you like the audience to take away from the film?
It’s very easy to stereotype. Give people the benefit of the doubt.
Astrological Sign: Cancer
Fave Actor: I’m starting to appreciate older actors like Marlon Brando and Charlton Heston. I can’t forget Denzel Washington
Years acting: 2
When did you know you wanted to act?
I was a film major at first…I went to school for film (University of Windsor). I took Communications, Media and Film. The first 2 years was mainly theory, and the last year we got to go on the camera.
I remember filming those students and how envious I was of those kids acting. I was like, “Man, I wanna do this!” That made me realize my calling. It was a good experience – I got to learn the technical aspect of film and appreciate the art behind it.
How did you relate to this character?
We talked about the backstory. I saw the script – the character’s mom’s on welfare, trying to do the best she can for her kids… I grew up as just like Tre. I’ve seen my mom go through so many jobs. I had to bring all that experience I grew up with to the character.
How did it feel to be in a short in the festival?
I was happy. Just like Alex, I felt like I was going in the right direction.
What was the most memorable moment for you from the Festival?
Just to see all my close friends come and support me. Even the ones I didn’t even tell about the movie. Somehow they found out and still came and showed their support.
Any more projects on the horizon?
I’m trying to get into theatre…just to see what will open up. I just want to go out there for the exposure.
Doing interviews is ALWAYS fun. Just by a chance meeting, I was able to meet two powerfully talented young men. So proud of you guys! Thanks for talking with me!
Wanna more info on Alex? Click the links to hit him up
Facebook: click here
Like to know more about Sam? Please visit the links
Facebook: click here