First of all, why don't you introduce yourself to those of us
unfortunate enough to not already know you?
Sure, my name is Kent Sutton, I was born on the Caribbean island of Dominica. My
family and I moved to several different islands, Trinidad, Bequia, Barbados
and St. Croix, before moving to the United States at the age of ten.
We moved first to Pensacola, Florida. This move was difficult for us all
but seemed to affect me the most. I experienced culture shock and became a
more reserved version of myself. I can remember the reaction to my accent
from my classmates and some adults that made me uncomfortable whenever I
spoke. It was around this time I began writing short stories, this was my
escape. I stopped writing a few years later and did not write
anything outside of school until I began studying acting. Years
later I am now a screenwriter, director, and by default producer. My
goal is to create work that can spark conversation that would lead to
change in our society.
about some of your current and future projects?
we are in development for a slate of four projects, they all vary in
style. One episodic and three feature films.
We have HeadHunter: Neo noir, which is an adaptation to Pablo Khanís novel under the same name.
The series follows Mael Carter, a disgraced ex-detective who is called in
as a consultant to help solve a string of gruesome murders. He hopes to
pull his career together, instead, he finds his life will soon meet an
Project: Drama/thriller about a young African American husband and
father who struggles to survive prison. He plots revenge on his fellow
Wall St. executives. While awaiting his release, he loses everything he
Miranda: Drama - in
search of peace and love within herself, a disheartened spoken word artist
is faced with perilous choices that could rob her of more than her sanity.
Miranda is reminiscent of Moí
Better Blues and Love Jones.
It follows Miranda, a spoken word artist as she attempts to piece her
hectic life back together.
Called Heaven: Historical drama/war. Three
worlds collide after a young man is torn from all he knows and condemned
to work under dire conditions. He'll stop at nothing to protect his true
love from the cruel overseer, and soon becomes embroiled in a bloody war.
started my next line up of screenplays. The first of the three new
concepts I am exploring is That Kid Jordan, which
is a psychological thriller. It touches on some of the issues young people
are going through in high school. Iíll be entering the screenplay into a
few festivals soon.
as I know, you got into filmmaking via acting - so do talk about Kent
Sutton the actor, and did you receive any formal education on the subject?
that is correct, I began as an actor. I studied at Weist-Barron for a few
years then went over to the Living Theatre under the tutelage of David
Triacca. Studying with David was a great experience. His approach to
analyzing the characters, their needs, along with the different methods
cemented our training, as we become these tragic roles. The experience was
priceless. We studied great works such as Seven
Guitars, Ma Raineyís Black Bottom, and Medal
of Honor Rag, to name a few. This knowledge in acting
and working with actors Iíll always take with me. I
did a few plays in Brooklyn, NY, mostly both as an actor and director over
the years. But my focus was creating a body of work for film which became
my creative focus.
what made you switch sides and go behind the camera eventually?
all these great plays caused a shift in me. I started writing again, all
of these ideas for screenplays started to flood my mind. I can remember
saying Iím not a writer, I just need to get these stories out. I
realized I needed a director for the projects and after much thought I
took up the mantle.
can you tell us about your approach to any given project, how does it grow
from a first idea into a finished film?
say it simply begins with a thought. Something that catches my attention.
Something I have not seen before or more importantly something that can
benefit our society in some way. City Called Heaven was
a story I became curious about and looked into the topic months before I
started writing. Miranda is based
on a true story; I thought it was a topic that needed to be talked about.
We did it as a short film and because of its success and feedback from
screenings, it was decided to be made into a feature film. Each film had
its own unique origin.
Is there any one
genre you particularly enjoy to work in, or one you would love to try your
hands on but haven't had the chance to yet?
I am somewhat flexible in genres. I would say, so far they all have a more
serious tone. Even when we examine the stories that are heavy in
action, youíll find that they are more character driven. At this point
in time the tendency has been navigating towards more dramatic work. But I
may do something more light hearted at some point, perhaps a rom-com.
about your past filmwork, and your career highlights so far?
highlights, my first film Miranda (short)
won an Audience Choice at the Red Wasp Film Festival. That meant a lot as
my first project. It is the standard Iíd like to hold myself to. I would
always want to have an impact on an audience. A few months later it played
at the New York Public Library. The feature length version received a
nomination for best screenplay at the Art is Alive Film Festival this past
January. City Called Heaven won Best Screenplay at the Utah Film
Festival, for which I was especially pleased. A couple of years prior to
this, it received a nomination at the Peachtree Village International Film
Festival. I went back and reworked it a bit, adding to the opening
sequence, adding a stronger promise of the premise and altered the
ending, which has made a world of difference.
would you describe yourself as a writer, and how as a director?
been told that my writing is visceral, Iíd like to add visual to that.
My goal is to provide the actors texture and room to dig in and explore in
order to find the layers and complexities in their roles.
a director I build off of that, it is all about the needs and wants of the
character. Creating a safe space for the actor to take risks and go
deeper. Iíll give an example: There was a scene with a couple sitting in
a car. The actor is a true gentleman. But he was playing an abusive
boyfriend. He did a good job but it was safe. So, we took a moment,
stepped out of the car leaving everyone else behind. I asked him (the
character) a slew of questions back-to-back, not giving time to think or
to process. It was as if I was attacking him, not only were the questions
fast, but I had an aggressive tone. The moment became tense we returned to
the car, as I felt his energy change. I called action and he was a
different person, his eyes glossed over his mannerisms were altered to the
point where I actually became afraid he would hit her. But it went well. I
cut the scene a little short, we had everything we needed. He took some
time by himself to decompress.
filmmakers, whoever else who inspire you?
directors, I like Barry Jenkinsí work. I recently watched The
Underground Railroad, beautiful cinematography. I also like
writers who use plot twists like M. Knight Shyamalan. Iíd have my main
source of inspiration however comes from life. Moments in history or
contemporary issues that grab hold of my attention, that may linger in my
mind becoming something I feel the need to share.
of my favorite movies would include Moí Better
Blues. I liked how they portrayed jazz in the film. Itís rare for jazz music to be covered in that way on film.
Blues came out around
the time I first started to listen to that genre of music, so it kind of
helped to seal my appreciation for the artform. Denzel Washington is
definitely the greatest on-screen trumpet player. He nailed all the
nuances trumpet players have. Great performance.
I am a fan of the period piece genre, some of the films I enjoyed would
include Braveheart and Dances with Wolves. Oh,
I should include Sixth Sense, these
films all had some sort of impact on me. With Sixth
Sense it was about the storytelling. It caught me.
I had to go back to the beginning and watched it over. Dances with Wolves
was about the magnitude of the film as they attempted to capture the
culture of the Lakota.
... and of course, films you really deplore?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Films I deplore, I try to find the voice or the message in each film. To
appreciate it for what it is. The films I deplore would be ones that are
not honest, unclear message or the preparation was lacking.
Your website, social media, whatever else?
Our website is https://www.workingtheary.com
(Working Theary Productions)
You can also find me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kent.sutton.3
Instagram: @kentpsutton or https://www.instagram.com/kentpsutton/
you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
at this time.
for the interview!
was my pleasure.