Local

Lisa Mathis Debuts ‘Block Party’ on June 8 – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel

Block Party stars, left Luenell, Margaret Avery and Antoinette Robinson. (photo with kind assistance)

On average, I receive 100 emails a day from cheerful publicists who want my attention, and I make an effort to review each and every one, except for the June 19th comedy, Block Party, that caught my attention. Perhaps the beauty of actress Margaret Avery (“Purple Color”), presenting the matriarch in a modern and fresh way on the film’s poster.

“Block party“Starring Antoinette Robinson (” Dear White People “), Lunel (” Hacks “), Faison Love (” Friday “) and the aforementioned Avery, directed by Dawn Wilkinson and prepared for theaters through Iconic Events Releasing on June 8 and streaming from BET and BET + from June 16.

The film is produced by Branch Out Productions, a production company owned by women and African Americans, founded by Lisa Mathis, Lisa Oliver-King and Andola Mathis, based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Producing with Matisse, Allen and Sue are industry veterans Gabriel Roth and Marvin Towns Jr.

The Block Party focuses on Keke McQueen (Antoinette Robertson), a recent Harvard graduate who can’t wait to dump her hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan, for her dream job in Atlanta. But when Keke discovers that her once super-sharp grandmother Janice (Oscar-nominated Oscar) shows early signs of dementia, she puts her career at stake to save her grandmother’s favorite Juneteenth Block Party, even if it means dealing with her mother Black Tiger (Golden Brooks), her gossip relatives (Lunel, Birgundy Baker), a strange firefighter (Faison Love) and her ex-boyfriend (Teryle). In the process, Keke falls in love with his hometown again.

The film also stars Charlene E, John Amos, Gary Anthony Williams, Brad William Henke, Bill Cobbs and Merle Dendridge. Lisa Mathis of Branch Out Productions wrote the screenplay and story with Christa Soo and Matt Allen, who are also producers. The film is also produced by BuzzFeed Studios.

I took the opportunity to interview Lisa Mathis, president of Branch Out Productions and producer and co-writer of Block Party. She shares the story with screenwriters Christa Soo and Matt Allen, who are also producers.

Lisa Mathis (photo courtesy)

Mathis was born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan and made her work for the local Fox affiliate in a weekly children’s show while earning a master’s degree in television and film from the University of Michigan. After graduating, she started working for Nickelodeon Studios in Florida and was later hired by E! Entertainment TV and helped create several documentaries for E! Real Hollywood stories.

In the late 1990s, Mathis began producing hip-hop-based content for Digital Entertainment Networks, and after the Internet crash of the 2000s, he entered the real estate world while raising a family. In 2019, she returned to production and partnered with fellow founders Lisa Oliver King and Andola Mathis and founded Branch Out Productions.

Their first film, Mighty Oak, was taken from Paramount Pictures and was one of the few films distributed during the pandemic in the summer of 2020. A few months later, it produced Run & Gun, which was also distributed by Paramount Photos in the winter of 2020

In 2020, while taking refuge on the ground due to the pandemic, Matisse raised funds through private investors and partnered with the writing team of Matt Allen and Christa Soo to start writing “Block Party” and by the fall of 2021 Block Party “He started filming at Grand Rapids.

Here’s what Matisse said about making movies.

LOS ANGELES SENTINEL: Congratulations, I really liked Block Party – I had a feeling that this film had some personal roots. What inspired this film?

LISA MATIS: Thanks for answering, some of the inspiration came from my childhood. There was a park we visited every Sunday after church. Everyone would hang out in this park. All the neighbors would stop and we would have a barbecue in the summer and take out their boombox. God, I’m showing my age.

LAS: And it’s beautiful. I think there is such a park all over the United States

LM: That’s right. People were going to throw a party until the lights went out and the neighborhood showed up and people just had a great time. So, this is the idea for the film [“Block Party”].

LAS: God, Lisa, I hear the love and nostalgia in your voice. You also shot the film in your hometown. Good for you!

LM: Yes, it was so exciting. We shot the movie in Michigan. I was absolutely passionate about shooting at Martin Luther King Park, that’s the name of the park.

LAS: Noticed. So you took something that was part of your cultural DNA and turned it into a script. How long did this process take?

LM: I started talking to my husband, who is also a screenwriter, about the idea in 2020. We want to make movies that we want to watch, and we realized that anyone can get involved with a block party.

LAS: Facts.

LM: And the diversity behind and behind the scenes in all our films is vital. Our aim [Branch Out Productions] is to make movies and prepare stories that people find connected. Of course, there are many things that are very inherent in African-American culture, but there are also things that the average white American can definitely relate to, like a block party, just in general, and all the madness that happens in the community and our own family circles. We completed the scenario by the spring of 2021 and began to gather our investors, most of whom are colored men and women. 50% of your investors are colored people or women

LAS: Mrs. Lisa, can you bring that back, please. 50% of your investors are colored or women? Did I hear it right?

LM: That’s right, more than 50% of our investors are people of color or women, and we’re so, very happy about that. Of course, we get at least 15% of our funding from traditional sources. Our goal is to build the wealth of generations.

LAS: I think our community is finally waking up to the fact that we have been stuck in poverty for generations.

LM: That’s right, there are so many solid investment opportunities, and I think the African-American community, like the women’s community, hasn’t been exposed to or knows about these opportunities in the same way that other different communities haven’t been exposed to those opportunities. .

LAS: That’s very exciting.

LM: We need to work to make these people, who are traditionally people who would invest in real estate or invest in the stock market, understand the value of investing in movies.

LAS: Diversification.

LM: That’s right. This is just another way to diversify a portfolio. What we do every month is to attract these investors and meet with them. Explain to them what is happening and explain to them the process step by step how the process works and they appreciate it a lot.

LAS: I can imagine. Hey, Lisa, I love Block Party, it really brought me back.

LM: Thanks, that means a lot. It was important for us to stay authentic to the African-American family, to break away from these stereotypes as much as we could, and it was a bonus to shoot in my hometown of Grand Rapids.

LAS: What do viewers want to know about the comedy Block Party?

LM: That it was made with love and that it opens, theatrically, on June 8 and will start streaming BET and BET + on June 16.

Check out the extended drum bar to see more of the film: https://wdrv.it/36c800dc2.

Lisa Mathis Debuts ‘Block Party’ on June 8 – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel Source link Lisa Mathis Debuts ‘Block Party’ on June 8 – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel

Related Articles

Back to top button