André Robert Lee is a prolific filmmaker, activist, and educator that has made a name for himself with his provocative social commentary documentaries on race, class and the justice system. We talk about two of his most profound works, The Prep School Negro and Virtually Free and how he has managed to monetize these films in a unique way.
"I commit my work to anyone who has ever felt like Other"
You can find Andre on his website
On Instagram @autodidacticism
On Twitter @andremanythings
Welcome to Episode Four of once upon a film industry. I'm Steven Lloyd Bennett. And I'm Al Lopez. Today we have documentary filmmaker Andre Robert Lee. We are lucky to have Andre take us behind the scenes of his documentary films, prep school Negro and virtually free. And without further ado, Andre, Robert Lee. What up so we're here with Andre Robert Lee Andre. Robert Lee is a accomplished documentarian. Hello, Andre. Hey, hey, what's up y'all? Andre, let's just get it started. Where are you from? You know, I was I was born and raised in the streets of Philadelphia. I started in North Philly. A neighborhood often notified and identified as the deuce Deuce is the 22nd district. It's been considered the roughest district. I've done a bunch of air quotations. Right? in Philadelphia. Of course, he knows where the people live, and where the best food is. And The Best Times is the best people, in my opinion is, but it's a neighborhood that was heavily populated by a lot of folks who migrated from the south to the north, living and working in factories and became a primarily black and Latino neighborhood. What was the thing person or event that if you had not experienced, you would not be where you are today. Um, you know, I'll go with one that is my go to and I think about it often. I went to I got a scholarship to go to this crazy High School in Philadelphia called Germantown Friends School. And I said crazy because it was just, I was a lower income poor kid, my mother made $13,000 a year work in a factory, raising my sister and me, raising us together. And I got the scholarship to go to the school. And while there, lots of things happen, but I met one person who just, you know, change my life around. My name is Elizabeth Alexander and Debussy. Obama's inauguration. The first one, of course, I'm gonna sit there read the poet. Okay. Yeah, I was my 11th grade English teacher. Oh, wow. She was studying UPN at the time, during her PhD, and are struggling for money. She took a job teaching at our school teaching a one middle class, and class was called African American poetry beyond the blues. As I read all this poetry I had never heard about I wasn't a poet. She was I was poetry. That was that kind of neck class already approached us about me. And so I sat with her and it was the classes amazing. And I mean, this is a different lifetime ago, but I was a 1415 year old boy, and she was beautiful, intelligent black woman coming in. So I have a little googly eyes at the time. Um, but beyond all that, what she was delivering to us was so intense and so incredible. You know, as she she one day sat me down to check it out. Brother Dre. She said, You're wonderful. You're incredible. You're popular school, you're doing well, but you're not a good writer. You can't write. And I was like, what does that mean? So you so know how to write if you spent if you want to, if you'll spend time with me in the summer, I will sit down with you and help you learn how to write. I'm 16 is a summer between probably sophomore junior year, I'm thinking like the summer writing Hill, you know, but I did it. And what she what we did is we read Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, there you go. We do a show me read the introduction five times. And after each episode, after each each time after I read it, she had me make a question that will turn into a five page essay. And remember the first time I was like, Here you go, boom, by and she goes well, oh, come here. Come here. Come here. Nice. We're gonna sit down and edit this together. How's that? Oh, man, this is summer, you know. But we sat down and did that it was remarkable because she'd really told me, she's like, you need to write. You need to edit and keep writing. And I fast forward to like, my first like, big, big, big film job. It was on the set of the best man ever the best man of course. Yeah. Oh, yeah. It's a classic. Oh, yeah. Yeah, like, so. My job and I was Malcolm Lee. Spike Lee's cousin was directing it. And I got his job. randomly. Like, you want to hear that, sir. I'll tell you. But I got that job as his personal assistant. Oh, I want to hear the story. I want to get the story, man. We're here to tell story. Okay, so I was you know, when I was a teacher, I did my master's degree. I worked at the Ford Foundation. I quit that to go on the film cutting up a big story make it short. So when I and I had I was a graduate we had a lot I have made Okay, money working in philanthropy. I was a suit and tie kind of guy nice How could all that we're we're gonna film sets. You know, within like, two weeks I was like, what's the word of spike like I had that job. I was in the elevator trying that when you work in film and here's a note for you, Albert. You work in film. Now my bad. Donna. What did you have? To take every job you can get. Oh, absolutely, yeah, practice what I call the Zen, a photocopy of every photocopy of what to make is going to be the best photocopy in the world. I'm going to focus on it. It doesn't matter if I had a master's degree. Doesn't matter if I have flown around the world my job. Now I'm making copies in this office and this could be the best copy ever. So I was trying to get into Laurence Fishburne was making a movie. And he was in a building he's on the top floor. And I went there drummer bass me off hoping that would get a call back as a PA or something. Just anything. Just give me also I want to learn I want to learn. Arabic comes down. The door opens up. I have seen I saw one of my friends friends who I had met who was in the business. He's like, Andre, what are you doing here? And I was like, Oh, I was dropping Elvis because I was dropping. He's like, come here commit to me and I ranted elevator nice. walked in, and I was like, what's going on? He was like, oh, we're making a movie. And this guy, his name is Frank Fleming. And he's a costume designer go out a book cause he's, I could come through come through when I hang out. What are you doing? I was like, well, Laurence Fishburne has a production was upstairs making the movie. That movie didn't didn't get me. That's another story. I said I saw him here. Just I'm trying to get a job because Okay, well, you know, and on a film set, there's a lot of hanging out. As I spent, I was there all day. No lie. Like towards the end of the day, the UPM. That stands for unit production manager. She doesn't because oh, man, Malcolm's assistant just quit. And I don't really, I suppose Yeah, we need to find somebody. I was like, bam. Yeah. I could do photocopies. I didn't have a standard resume. I had no film experience on it. It was all like for Foundation, graduate school. All these things. You said, Well, this is interesting, you know, hang out. So I hung out. Malcolm was going down the elevator, it was like a team people on a scout. Go look at locations. And they like get in there and pitch to them. And I was like, Really? So I'll give you all the bandages time like so Malcolm, I think that I could serve in your system. Right? He's like, this sounds cool. Come back tomorrow. And we sat down and chatted. And I got hired. The next day I came in the next one. 8am saw him by 10 o'clock. I got hired. He's like, sure. Nice. He sounds and and on that film set to go back to Elizabeth. Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis came to the SEC for my meeting. Because they were doing Rebecca the soundtracks, right, right round track. And he had a meeting with them. And he was like, I need you to write a letter to them and talk about the meeting, summon up and say thank you. And I was like, gotcha, you know, I knew I had it. I had it back in like five minutes. Like you could find each other. Yeah. And so because I can write, I leaped over people on set, there are people at mF A's or worked on movies, who were cool, good people. Here I was all of a sudden, the director, the person's assistant, because I could read, I could write like a show up and be like, present, you know, in a different kind of way. And that says stuff that Elizabeth taught me, you know, back in high school, and it played it played out in matter. On set speed, I can speak the language that Malcolm understood. You know, I may have been a little bit too smart for my own good sometimes. But right, Elizabeth really set me straight and was like, you don't know how to do this. But you can learn how to do this. And that's a message I've took throughout my entire life of like, I don't know how to do it, but I'm gonna learn how to do it. I'm gonna do it the best I can and keep practicing at it. What I've done in the past is all those people that have inspired me. I've written them a note, or I've pulled them up and I said, Hey, you know what, you might not know this, but because of you. I am where I'm at. And this is the impact that you had in my life. I was having this conversation last night with a friend of mine. And I was telling her, you know, sure, people had inspired me one of one of them was her uncle. And have you done that in the past? Or have you reached out to this lady to this teacher? Yeah, my mentor is a sick of me. I'm always like, Yo, I was on a paper and that's because of you are like I that's because of you. I believe in giving that because it's true. It's so real. It's so real. And it's and I mean, Elizabeth, when she when I was watching operation and she walked up and I was like, Oh, snap, like, I didn't know she was doing that. That's awesome. hadn't had touch with her. She was in Chicago. So she knew Michelle Obama like that. Like she just know, I have a couple of teachers and people and I'm always because I think it's, it's important. And also, I'm mentoring now. And I'm like, wow, I wonder if I was as much of a knucklehead as some of my mentees or something like thank you for putting up with me and dealing with me and helping me and being there and staying with and having patience. And yeah, I do I think I think it's important so that this teacher, Elizabeth she German town, is that the school in prep school Negro Yes. avatar resist. That's prep. That's a school movie. Yeah. So prep school Negro. It came out in 2002. The 12th. Yeah, well, that's a good question. We got two versions of the film. And this is, this is the, for any filmmaker out there, this is a note of perseverance. Like you got to stay with it. So I movie about 11 years ago. Now. The first of two versions of the first version was done 11 years ago. And it got rejected from all the film festivals, and I have worked at Sundance worked at Toronto at Tribeca. I thought I got this, you know, like, Hey, y'all, here's my film. My time slot, I got my outfit out on the bed like, wrong. I didn't get into any of them. And I was devastated. I got what year was this? What year was that was 10 years ago. So like 2000 2012 maybe 2011. And taking it around. And so I did a whole nother thing. While you know what? I'm going to bring the mountain to Muhammad. And I went to private schools, I went to conferences. And when I was like, you'll kind of show my movie and lead a conversation and start getting like a crazy response, you know, to the point where I screamed at last week, it's still screens, it's still screens. Now here's, here's what's happening. Right before I was only y'all, I'm dealing with this. So somebody Academy Awards got wins as a movie. And they called and said, yo, can we talk to you? person? There's a very hard would you work with us to expand the movie to potentially qualify for academy award? And I was like, let me think about it. Yes, yes, absolutely. Yes. Yes. I've went out and raised the money. And we did with the crazy, we took the film apart and rebuilt it. So there's now a 71 minute long version, and a 53 minute long version. Now 53 minutes I learned is like no man's land and dead zone for festival. That's why I did it. That's one reason I didn't get in. Right? In the short qualifying number is 40 minutes. But I'm a first time they eat something. I'm just like, I got paid three minutes. What's up, this is what I made. Let me change the rules that so it was done in 2012. It showed and went there. But the moments happened right now. And I'm being real vulnerable. So I'm left New York City about three weeks ago moved back home to Philadelphia. And before I came to Philadelphia, I got an email from someone that why why, which is a public station for PBS here in Philadelphia. So they said, Hey, don't say check it out. Can we um, see your movie principal Negro? And I was like, y'all said no before, but Sure. Happily, you know, and I sent the link, and I got this email back from a new woman who's working it. She's like, I want to start out with an apology. And I was like, okay, okay. She said, you know, PBS was started to give voice to the underrepresented voices, and really work closely at getting people color. And folks don't know I participate in media, because of all kinds of issues to have a platform and a venue. I've since left New York, come to Philadelphia, and I'm pushing to try in that space. And if you're interested, I love to broadcast your movie. And man COVID been locked up all the stuff and I broke down and like had a cathartic like cry. Yeah. What's going on? Like real, real intense. And, you know, 11 years after the fact. They're coming back saying we're sorry, we should have aired this. And so it's going to air in October, I think October 1, you're going to air Jessica Philadelphia, I don't know why. But for me, that's, that's magic. You know, that's that's that, man. That is? Yeah, that is great. News, man. That is awesome. You take us a couple of steps back here, Andre. So tell us a little bit about the movie. So our listeners know a lot about you know, a small scope of it. So they know about this movie because I saw the trailer and it's it's I mean, I actually can relate to the story. You know, I went to a Catholic school. I grew up in a Hispanic neighborhood, it was divided. My neighborhood was divided between African Americans Hispanics on one side, when you cross the street, it's a different zip code and it's the Italian Mafia, Italian kids on one side, and so I went to school on the on the, on the white Italian side, if you want to call it but I hung out and played basketball on the Hispanic side and in the African American side. So that's how I met our plane back basketball. Yeah. Yeah. So I, when I saw your, your, your movie, I mean, the film The documentary, I was like, wow, like I related to it immediately. So please, you know, if you don't mind just sharing a little bit about the movies, our listeners can hear your scope of it. Yeah, the prep school Negro is my attempt to share my experience about what it meant to go to a private school and scholarship, what it meant to deal with racial issues, class issues. And probably most importantly, which was surprising to me was, I'm dealing with the issue of feeling disconnected from your family and your community. You know, because I, I made a mistake when I went to the school and I had basically a divorce for my family, because I thought they got money for families, we don't have that what's up and turn my head to like this a success. And that's failure I came from. So I made the mistake of being Gregor Shandy where I came from, it's very emotional movie about the experience of me reconnect with my family and a really important way, a way that I didn't know I needed to do to do nice about trying to tell the story of what it felt like to go from my high school to my home. Because I was living I mean, I was looking around the way like the neighbor you describe is very similar to probably most urban communities. But in Philadelphia, I was on the black section. And I didn't know until I was an adult that there was a Puerto Rican section around the corner. I was told don't go there, they'll stab you. That's what my grandmother used to say. I wasn't allowed to go. I mean, that was her. That was her prejudice problems back in the day. But that's, that's what she knew. The film, the film, really talks about the experience of me dealing with that past and trying to bring closer conversation. This one group, I were just two psychologists I know out in California that brought me out. For screening, they gave me a phrase that I think describes it, so Well, um, psychological homelessness. Oh, all right, that's powerful. The whole idea of you, in your mind, you may be physical, but you have the notion that one, a community environment is not your home, and your home was along with your home. So all of a sudden, you're homeless. And it's a psychological trap that you put yourself in, we're like, Why don't fit into school, I don't fit a home anymore. Where's my space. And I was all about trying to end that. And you brought up a good point here. The old school mentality, I feel that we were raised in was a mentality of fear. Oh, absolutely. And, you know, a fear like, and it's not, it's not to say that about about our parents or the people before them. It's just the way society and the way they were thinking was, they would have the news on all the time. And they and the way they taught their kids was through fear. And I think psychologically, when you're growing up, and your parents, they try to do the best that they can, but they're inflicting that that little fear bracket around, you don't do this, because this will happen, especially the things that they experienced in the 60s in the 50s. In the seventh, like they experienced something that we do not experience today. Well, we experienced some of it, but it's a more of an underhanded way that they're going to be talking about from a fear place, they're gonna be talking from like a way where you've been I do that because it's happened to me, or I saw my friend happen, you know, someone get killed or something like that. So it's, it's understandable, but I guess it's also tight, slightly frustrating. It's something you have to sort of combat against an order of like, overcome, like, you can't operate through fear, and divide and conquer is very real to me, they don't want us unified, they don't want us coming together saying let's get let's lock arms and go against the real problem. They want us fighting each other. That's the, if we believe systemic racism is a real and truthful thing. That's a real seed of that, that my grandmother had a fear of people very so MUCH OF HER that were existing, and function exact same ways. Imagine if that she had gone around the corner and made friends with without Al's grandmother made. So you feel this way too about the community like our kids don't have, let's let's get together and fight and make a change to the system doesn't want that. Not to be like, they stay away. They'll stab you. They they want zactly and right now we're seeing the product of fearlessness against a system that wants you to fear and it's it's, it's, you know, it's we're getting a lot of pushback. I will say watching prep school Negro. It was extremely vulnerable. I was like, Man, this guy is fearless when it comes to showing himself and and just to like your sister speaking on how you'd like you how you said you turned your back on the family and and all that. I was like Man, this is there's no ego here. There's no there's no ego here. I think someone a lot of filmmakers today, and I think there's something to combat is they operate through their ego and they think that's the way they need to operate. And that goes from documentary filmmakers, narrative filmmakers, a lot of directors, producers, they operate through the ego. And they're not thinking from a standpoint of like, what is true. And and you did that in prep school Negro. And I just want to commend you on that. That was it was it was a phenomenal piece of work. I thought, live film. What What, what inspired you to do films, specifically documentaries? Yeah. Yeah. You know, I, I, my senior year of high school, we had a teacher show us we're talking about American history. And we watch dw Griffith Birth of a Nation. There you go, you know, and I had a teacher who didn't know how to really my opinion, didn't know how to really talk about it to black, a black boy, and a class of all white people about what it meant to watch the first film, you know, that helped relaunch a Ku Klux Klan and had numerous people in blackface. And I was really taken aback of like, this is affecting me. I don't know what to say. I'm a senior in high school, I'm 18. But I don't know how to feel. And so that stayed with me. And I Oh, and I wanted to work in film. But I honestly thought, I am a lower income black man that got a scholarship to high school, it's my responsibility to do something more substantial than what I thought was an empty field like movies. And also I thought, I don't have I don't have I can't go work jobs for free. I don't have money to fall back on. I don't have any relatives or friends in the business. So that's not for me. That's what I thought. And so I went to grad school, got my master's education. I taught in Harlem for a little while. And then I got the job at the Ford Foundation. The Ford Foundation is the largest philanthropic organization in the world at the time, amazing place. And I had a research project where I had to go into the into the archives, and I came across two movies that that struck out three movies actually stayed with me. It's a film called the price that ticket about James Baldwin's life, a movie a movie called Rosie the Riveter, which is about folks, women taking on the workforce. In the 19. End of doing World War Two, those are two that I came across and I was reading about how they were funded or written really letters written by James Baldwin. This is an I don't even realize how deep it was. But I thought about them we Rosie the Riveter, I had never I had never seen or heard James Baldwin movie and I watch it. I was blown away. And then Rosie the Riveter, I saw that as a junior in high school to help us learn about World War Two, I saw as a junior in college once again, World War Two history. And now here I am going through the original sources of how it was funded in me. And I thought, you know what film is education. So I can use my films to educate. And I was like, peace for Foundation, you know? And actually, I had a meeting with the president because I'm that kind of dude. Got on her calendar. Well, thank you. We talked about this. How do you feel about someone who's studying philanthropy was the foundation to go into film? And she's like, it's great. I love that you'll be informed and thinking that way. So I left I went into every job under the sun I could grab like I said earlier, graduate, graduate degree didn't matter. Experiences matter. Agent matter. Get into it. I mean, I was walking like, I'm not gonna say names, but let's say I scooped up some famous people's dog's poop, because I had to walk their dogs on a set it off again. Oh, my dog needs to be walking. I don't litter in the streets. I'm saying like, Yeah, exactly. Walk those dogs make those copies. And then I went to Miramax for a long time down. I was there from from Cider House Rules until Scary Movie three. You know, I was okay. And like the academy campaign running and learning and digging deep. One of my favorite stories is on the poster for us for for um, scary movie. with Dana Wayne is holding a high C date. I'm sorry, Marlo is holding. I see dead people. Those of my hands. Really? We were there and Harvey Weinstein was not gonna pave the way is $10,000 they wanted 10 grand to come across country and pose for the poster. He was like now you come in, you know, like literally and I was like, Huh, any black hands? Exactly. If you look at that poster, those are my hands that are photoshopped. So what So I did that and um, after after a while left mere mass because I have to be truthful and honest. I was one of the five black people working with the whole company. One of them left. Another cat was like working at At the front desk, I was like, I'm not gonna I know I'm not gonna advance in this company. They don't see me. I know it's not going to happen. So I left that and jumped into it. One day I was working on a film with a woman and Effie brown every made room and have curves. She was behind your white people the movie, you know, she, she's, she's, she's hot. She's a great producer. And a sense launch is really great program is geared towards getting women making their projects and why she loves horror movies. Effie is just amazing. So Andre, Andre, Andre, let's stay. So you left Miramax? Right? And you jumped to another company. Right? I went I went back to working on film sets. Got it? Okay, okay. All right. Got down. Good. And when you say working on film sets, is that like individual film sets? Or is that like a company that represents? Just like how do you how do you work on film sets? You put your resume out there and people pick you up based off your your skill set? That's a grand, grand, grand and good question. Um, I pulled it I pulled a Ryan coogler before he was a Ryan coogler. I did not say that. Because the way Ryan coogler got Fruitvale Station made. And he was at a party. And he cornered Forrest Whitaker and Oh, man. Come on overhead. You can get this for us Whitaker and Octavia Spencer, right over to them was like yo, I got this film was a great idea. Like they were like, Okay, great. And they made it. And let's talk about that. He had a short call box. He did a Fruitvale Station. He did creed. And then he did Black Panther. He did he has like the perfect career progression that everyone dreams of. He does a short film. He does a indie film. I think it was a million dollars Fruitvale Station. And they does a mid level major film as creed. And they did like the biggest movie of the past 10 years. Black Panther. Yeah. It's like, what has he had this career and his bold action. He had a bold action by cornering and I am big on bold, bold action fearless, bold action, like you. Someone said to you, you know, you have to pitch to Malcolm Lee in the elevator and an elevator like for me, honestly, it's always said that we're like, and I may or may not get met elevator. But you got in there and you pitched it stuck his hand and I wanted to lose my arm. Again, this elevator. Right, right, right. So the reason why I pulled the Ryan coogler is that I saw Effie at a party. And I knew I knew who she was. She may probably have curves. It's a black producer who was successful. And I was like, Hey, what's up? I know I love what you're doing. I heard you're making a movie coming up. And she was like, Sure, why don't you come to Baltimore and workers in some role, get your job. Done. One time I met her. Yo. I called my people in Baltimore. I need a place to stay. I called a better company. I called them I went to the production office and was like, hey, we've met at a party a couple weeks ago. I have a place to stay in Baltimore. I need a job on set please. And she was like, Who are you? Know? Yeah. Right. Okay. And again, I got a job as a as the rights and clearances like coordinator, I was making reikland made things appear. I will call Ray Bans and be like, can you release us to use this? Dude, that that goes to say again, I mean, I'm a strong believer in in hustle. You know, you hustled your way in there. And kudos to you, man. That that is that's awesome. That's awesome. virtually free. Want to talk about it, man? What is the inspiration behind virtually free what is virtually free? The documentary you have out right now it's in film festivals now virtually free. It's a film about incarcerated teens. And actually children can't be incarcerated is called detained, or was incarcerated that makes people understand that word is about teens that are held in prison in Richmond, Virginia. These kids are in prisons in prison and they come out of their prison cells go to an art gallery, downtown Richmond, Virginia and work with a group called performing statistics. And what performance testing does they make art that's used to fight against recidivism. And they make they do all kinds of programs for children that are incarcerated in and out of getting out of prison, to have a life and move forward? Because the prison industrial complex, especially when it comes to children is monstrous. It's really intense. So the film is about we witnesses, children who are coming out and I'm stressing children. They're not young men. They are children 13 to 17. That's not a young man. That's a child when it comes to this Congress. They come out of their prison cells come to art gallery downtown, they're making art. They're being trained, they're given love. They're given support and thought about tidy, once they get out to keep them out, and then also when they get out to rank them a life of support and jobs and mentorship, and caring concern, and the film is about documenting that process. And yes, from playing at from playing at film festivals, you know, we do make a movie. I was never after my first film, my second film didn't get much festival levels, okay. God bless festivals, I got the other round we go, we go to the people, but I'm working with a company called shine global. And they understand festivals and awards. And it's played a to film festivals and a one at both, which I'm just like, shocked and I'm like Word. You know, what's one best Best Short Doc, it's 40 minute piece that is about these children who are in festivals. If one at the richer International Film Festival, and in one of the DC black Film Festival, Montclair is coming up and a couple other festivals have come in St. Louis International, like is playing his kids getting accepted, which I'm very pleased about. Congratulations, congratulations on those awards and those accomplishments. That's that's that's amazing. Congrats. Thank you This this is my These are my first my first award in the film festival ever at the Irish International. We deserve it. It's a really it's a fantastic film. And I appreciate it after watching it. I said Man, I appreciate this. So I feel like this is necessary. This is a necessary necessary fill. What projects are you currently working on other than virtually free working on anything else? I am I am it's there too. And one I can talk about one I really can't talk about because it's early early early. But it's so dope. Yeah, yeah. They can't talk about it's a good Yeah, you gotta have one can't talk about it. Yeah, I do. I have I have I have a long term big feature idea that is I'm like fighting with Hollywood potentially make and it might get me without me, but I support it. And as I mentioned that as first as one. Do you know who Byard? Rustin is? No, I don't know. Yeah, most people do not. And that's why I want to make this movie by are Ruslan was the architect of the civil rights movement. He was if you look at most of MLK, you see a tall guy with big white lamb chops and a little throat kind of standing behind him orchestrating and running everything. He at the March on Washington, he gave the first 45 minutes long speech describing how the day will go. He said it all up. He and April Randolph, had already planned to march for a couple of decades, decade or two earlier, that didn't happen. So it was turnkey, with cables like MIT this app is like that. Gotcha. So Wow, I want to make a film about him. It's always like he was gay and out in the 50s. And just this prolific, intense character that didn't take no stuff. He was a Quaker. He was he was like, so much. And you don't hear about he was I mean, he really was a superhero. We really liked what he did. So black guy, yes. Wow. We you start reading about you. You'll be like, why haven't I studied by Russell because He's incredible. And he's connected to almost everything we know about the sunrise movement when the Gumby bus boycott happened. King was 27 years old. So Rustin had already been doing marches and bus rides and sit ins from the 40s he's like King, I got you. You got to do these 10 things. Let me set it up for you. And I'm going to step in the background and make it happen because you are the face of this. Wow. And as Russell is the man by yard Western people, if you hear somebody saying biard they didn't they don't know who he is because his name his mama called him by our be a ye rd. grilling. What was where was he from? He's from come from right here in Westchester, Pennsylvania. Not surprised, outside of Philadelphia. Another connection I feel with him. You want to make a narrative or a documentary or narrative feature narrative narrative feature? Yeah, yeah, I think it's important. Yeah, it is. It is and it you know, um, there's a big this, we'll leave that at that. Let's just pick one. I'm not gonna lie to you, bro. Um, we should talk about that cuz I'm really interested in that. I like that. I love it too. I'll send you some writing samples and we can tell Oh, we make we make we're making connections. We make making connections. Exclusive only on once. So that's that's like the dream but the the real part is it's actually in the can and should be ready. By this late fall is of a film about my elite civil rights trips. I take adults and children all throughout the south to unpack our history. And we go from we hit Alabama, we have Memphis we have Little Rock, Arkansas, Mississippi, you know we go to the sites and like meet people who are still there. It's on it's on hold this year and some of next year because the world is what it is. Thank you COVID. By my last the last trip I did in February, I took a film crew with me and we did a week of junior high school students, and a week of adults, like seniors, older adults. So when we did together this film, about the experience and what and I actually I'm, I'm exact producing on that one. And that because I think it's important to say that because I stepped forward, and I got to one of my one of my kids who I mentor, I don't think he knows I mentor him, but I mentor him. He does. He would like dp on virtually free, you know, and so he wanted his chops at directing. I was like, Yes, you know, it's time to step aside and lead and let the young kids get it. You know, so he played a Brendon. And then we brought a black woman in, on name a name kylea to come in, and they co directed it, and they filmed it all. And they directed it. And I really have stepped back and let them show it together. So that's the next project about the civil rights trips. And sorry, some most isn't emotional, heavy peace. Nice, nice. Andre, how do you get something like that funded? Like, how does like for our listeners, how do they get started? or? Yeah, there's always a typical route of finding funding through applying to programs, attending festivals, and seeing what was out there was offered. There's, they're, they're hard to get. But there are grants out there. And folks in competition and like, I have gone different routes. You know, I find people that care about a topic and idea. So for instance, with the civil rights trip, the first trip, I was like, Yo, this is a documentary. I had that thought, and I sat on it for a while. By the time the fifth trip came around that I will lead him like, Wow, this is amazing. And I was like, isn't it? It matches because share that sheds with somebody. And they're like, wow, you're a filmmaker, aren't you? I was like, yeah, I'm a filmmaker. When would you ever think about making a documentary? Oh, oh, no. Let's talk about that later. Let's just let's stay on the trip. Let's talk about that later, you know. And then, in two weeks, I was like, bam, here's my proposal. Hustle, Hustle, Hustle, Hustle. Yeah, so so the folks who who sponsored a trip, it's a nation magazine, which is, which is the oldest magazine in the country. This magazine was started by a bunch of abolitionists who were concerned about the issue of freedom, being a topic still after Abraham Lincoln was shot. So Lincoln was shot and his abolition got going. So we got another magazine, and it still exists to this day, the nation magazine and I, you know, sat down with the President sat down with the director sat down with everybody, and was like, Look, let's make this film. Our if we don't get into film festivals, get distribution, I guarantee I can guarantee you I'm distribution and using my platforms, because I go to I went, I've been to so many schools, my other movies. Now I'm like, it comes the next one, y'all. And we do bookings. And they bring us in. So that's so that's like the plan B plan. See, if it'll be a distribution, we don't get Film Festival love. They put all the money up to make it the travel, the tour company, and the magazine partnered together to fund it. It's interesting, I feel like when you go on tour like that, you're almost like a musician. Yeah. Right. Because a lot of filmmakers don't do that. But I feel like with a documentary, film, documentary film, you could do that. You can go to schools, you can go to churches, you can go to groups, centers, and they'll pay for it you just going around and I never actually thought of that before. That's really interesting. And so and so this tour, this promotional tour that you go on, like for instance, you do this with all your documentaries is this and you already have like kind of a template that you use all the time. And you know what, we made it turnkey, because people call you and go How can I get a movie screen movie? Because the studio's rightfully so make it hard for anyone just to just show a movie, right? You know, you need to get permission, you got to pay a high fee. You got to go to paperwork, blah, blah, blah, can explain why on key. Can you explain Turkey for the church turnkey means that what it sounds like this is you put your key in the locks. So I make the steps real clear. I have a boilerplate contract that says Like, if you book the movie, here's a here's a prize for showing it to one to 10 people. Here's a price of a shown with a 10 to 25. Here's 25 to 50 is 50 to 100 is 250 or more. That's what your price is and that's locked in. That's per screening. You know, and then you got to cover travel for me to come as a per diem to attach to that instead of me saying gas calls that I had a snack here. Just pay me a per diem. Yeah, huzzah. Give me an example. Who would you show this film to? Like, so our listeners know, so you have this boy in the contract? Who do you give that to? Like, give me one example of of a company or an organization that you will share your movie with? Uh huh. I'll get to because I think they're extremes Harvard University call and we're like, we're having a program. And they brought me back. I went there three times with my films. You know, that's one example. And then there was an all black private school in St. Louis, Missouri. So we went we showed the film in Missouri to this this all black private school, and they're like, how do we do this? And I was like, well, to hear it, here's his information. And I i've been places where it literally like two teachers holding up a sheet and we're projecting it or these fancy big private schools, like Exeter, Andover or Chote, etc, where they actually have a high at some of the theaters are better than movie theaters that you go to, and all the tech stuff and we and we turn it on. And what this is, this is this is also what I do, I send a text sheet, like we're showing a documentary, we have multiple ways to show it, I could bring a file and put it on a computer that we will dump before I leave the building. So you know, stay with it. I can bring a DVD, I can show it from my my computer where I plug into the system, and I'm making it so easy and also when I go in and talk to tech people I'm kind I don't walk in like yo this how you do this and I will make demands I'm like oh you run a tech space. That's great. What's your name? Nice to meet you. I'm glad we're gonna be here can you can we can I get it and also I put in I want I require at least 30 minutes or I choose a 90 minutes like cut it down like I get it down to a science now but I will say require 39 minutes before the film shows to go look at it on screen see what it sounds like and make sure your project is presenting well because that your show looks good. We'll bring you back you know your kind of people think it's going to work and also also do that because like the prep school Negro let's deal with the truth I have a darker complexion cameras and equipment was not designed to project dark skin well, so I go with and like Oh, you got to turn that you got to turn that gain up. You got to fix it. He said and I don't do it. I'm very kind and gentle with it and ask for the permission as opposed to walking like fix this fix that fix there's no you don't come in like that somebody so you're you're able to show your films remotely and and right so I think that's pretty cool. So your your end Do you give a quick little presentation like before the film I do you share your perspective or the impact that this film was having to the audience before you show the film? Well, you just plug and play show the film and you're done. No, no, I didn't with with PepsiCo Negro. And another film that I produced. Cuz I'm not racism I, which is really having a life right now. Because the world is like, Oh, wait, racism is real. We write racism. It's like, yeah, yeah, real thing. It's a real thing. So what we do is, we use a platform called inventive. Or we get a link, and we'll say you have these hours, or these days to watch the movie. And then we'll be online, we'll be alive in a zoom or webinar or something, to actually have a conversation. So we do we do a synchronous watch where you watch on your own at your own pace between a certain time period, where you need to have a password so we can keep track. So it's not just our thing. You know, who's watching it, and then that shuts down. And then we do a moderated panel and a discussion afterwards. You know, some of them is just me talking. Sometimes folks from the film's You know, it varies but the virtual, I'm telling you the virtual world like there's gold and then their heels because I can in Boston in the morning, walk in the afternoon in LA in the night for I'm racism I our company point made learning. Weird we've been working with. Okay, I can say it. We've worked with Morgan Stanley, big bank in New York. With the management team. We have 500 people sign up for screening of I'm the racism I let's do one more time the bank Morgan Stanley. Wow. So people are signing up to watch other races am I and then see and hear a conversation afterwards? It's so that's amazing. That is amazing. That is not get accepted. That's done got rejected from almost every single Film Festival was the movie. I don't know if it's gonna work. You know. I think it's safe to say you're ahead of your time. Probably because when you were submitting these films, They were getting rejected. And when it comes to film festivals and rejections, it's a little, it could be rejecting because of time limits or whatever. But the fact that they're receiving their success right now in this moment, I mean, this is your time, and this is your time to shine. Timing is timing, timing is everything. And so, like these corporate corporate America right now, right, let's just like Morgan Stanley, is this the HR department that reaches out to you? Or is it like there? Because I see, I see like, other if Morgan Stanley is showing it to 500 employees, then that's just the tip of the iceberg. Yeah, yeah. And so, you know, coming from the Stephen makes fun of me all the time. Because this is Al's business sense of kicking in. So like, it's the tip of the iceberg. Right. So do you would you shop it around to other I guess, corporations and right, that what's what's your strategy behind it? And I'm just curious for the listeners, obviously, you're a hustler. Right so I it's in your blood? I see it. I feel it. I hear it. what's what's the hustle game here for you Phil moving forward? Yeah, that that you know, it's it's having the right partners and people and playmates, all the things that come and you want to read who playing your pin, or did play with you? Well, and so to go back to on the races, EMI, I'm gonna races EMI and principal Nitro book for me under the banner of a company called point made learning. And pointment learning started as a full on production company. And we start seeing we're like, wait a minute, people are booking us to consult in screen and have conversations, and our clients have including Walmart, Walmart, right, Morgan, Stanley, IBM, a little bit in target like this, what's happening is, especially right now, people are always looking for new ways to have these conversations around equity, diversity and inclusion. And now people looking to have ways of anti racism. So we say, look, we believe in a standard lecture, we also believe in using art as a tool to heal. So here's a new product. And here's a film and also, this is a moment I want, I will hope every filmmaker can hear this. Actually, folks watch my movies, the conversation is probably 20% about the movie, and 80% about the subject and the concept. Absolutely. When you mentioned ego in the beginning, putting ego aside. I tell people, I don't want to have a q&a about me as a filmmaker, actor film that can come into it. And I'll fold that in and strategic ways. But I want people to talk about, Yo, I don't understand what racism is, or I was deeply affected by your conversation with your mother and father, would you suggest that I go seek out my father never talked to have a conversation? Like, come on. That's a moment. That's a moment in artists like my work has affected people in a deep level. So when it comes to corporations and communities, institutions, etc. I luckily have 10 years of experience of going in. You know, I've spoken to a lot of law firms, law firms have like you come in and show you a movie, the conversation that we can talk about diversity inclusion. I'm like that. I remember. The first time went to a lover, and I like luckily has somebody inside and she was like, yo, trade check it out your invoice. double that. That's not enough. For real, she's like, yeah, I guess we got it. double it. So so for for four more to go to Morgan Stanley as an example, the way the Morgan Stanley thing happened, the woman who used to be another company, her kid was in a private school, she saw me come in screaming movie, and lead a conversation and, and now has got a position. I'm Morgan saying what she can make decisions. And she was like, Hi, we're streaming this movie, and doing this work. Like that was a good six years ago, she saw me talking, you know, that's also how I got into a company called GSK. And one of my events, someone stood up and she's like, do you do this for corporations? And I said, Yes, I do is that I'm here. You're my pseudo company. Yeah. It's clear that smithkline a parent who was an executive there was like, Hi, I need help with my company. Would you come join us? And we're like, yes. You know, I think about this, a woman who I really respect and who was I'm a producer on it PepsiCo, Nicodemus Sharla. Lynch. She's a filmmaker, and I recommend you couldn't get her to be on the show. She's just phenomenal. She comments a Sharla Lynch she made I'm blanking on Boston, Shirley Chisholm story. She did free Angela Davis and all political prisoners. You know, she won a Peabody for one of those. And so I was wanting to talk to her and I was like, man, I shall I'm so upset. I'm not getting it. This is a prospective moment. I'm not getting to film festival. kushala goes, she's a darling. She wanted Sundance. You know, she's just, she's at Tribeca, Toronto. She's not a prince or her Will Smith like, Ah, my couch like, looks like looks like I want to hug Will Smith. So she, so she was talking to her one day, and I said, you know, Sharla I'm really upset that I'm not getting to Film Fest shoot Film Festival, which is Andre, chill. And I was like, what's up she goes, I had 10 really good parties with my movies, your films are standing the test of time. You're generating income for yourself and for your investors. And they're making a difference across a large scale. So don't be mad. You didn't get the 10 fabulous parties. Look at the long game. And that stayed with me. I was like, wow, wow. Wow, as I looked there, Peabody on the shelf over her shoulder. And I was like, Okay. Well, sometimes it takes moments like that to put everything in perspective, right? I mean, it's just, it's just a is the right message at the right time. Yeah. I have a question. When you have an idea for a documentary, what is your artistic process? Do you research research? Do you create a story is a story in the Edit? How do you I'm more of a narrative guy. So documentaries always, like interesting to me. I love watching them. But something is I have a disconnect when it comes to the artistic process. Mm hmm. Yeah, for me, I am actually talked to a lot of people. That's what I do. I have conversations and take meetings as well to talk further about what they're experiencing and going through. So I really reach out and talk to as many folks as possible, and I do research to is very important to understand, no, you're talking about, you know, you don't want to recommend just going like I make a movie about blah, blah, blah, you got to know what you're talking about in these cases. So the process is, you know, running a bypass looks like does this sound buyable? Does this make any sense? You This is exciting. And you as a storyteller, you tell people the story and you watch them, as their eyes light up and go, Wow, what's that about? Then, you know, you're onto something. But if folks like, I don't understand or Okay, walk away, that's telling to so but me It starts with the people. And then I just spent some time I have a writing partner. And I've run things by him. And he looks at it, because because thoughts and ideas and, you know, start start putting a proposal together and shopping it around. You know, every documentary I made is extremely different from what I had planned to do, or the proposal describes it as rarely does a documentary stay consistent with a proposal, it becomes something else. Like the editing process in the documentary is always like most films change in post production in the editing process. But a documentary, I feel like it just changes even more. Yeah, you have to find this is another note for filmmakers. You gotta find an editor you can trust. And I will tell you no, and you actually believe them? You know? Right. Okay, so Act Three. Andre, Robert Lee. What is next? What's next for you? What's your next project? I know, you kind of already mentioned that the one that you're working on now is coming out late fall. But what's in the near future for you? You know, I've been I've been thinking about that and taking stock and I got a call from someone I've known a business who had this cat had this idea for it. I wish I could tell you about it because it's so good. When he when he talked to me, I was like, Can you give us a little snippet of it? Just like you know, what do you say? A subliminal message? I know, right? less, less, less, less say this hip hop artist gets arrested and accused of a murder. Does time the officers that facilitated his arresting are now in prison. Oh, that's what's up. I saw my say on it. Yeah, that's okay. Okay, right. That's right. And and what he told me the story, I was like, This is timely. And incarceration is something I care about, just from what I told you. That story is hot. And it's Yeah, and it's still happening right now. Right. So that's what I would love to be a part of that um, you know, I'm keeping my ears my ears up for what's happening because I'm now that I'm in the film festival world with the virtually free that opens different doors. That's how someone came to me. And when the civil rights film drops, I just know this audience because it digs deep into a history that we don't understand. We don't really know about it. I'm trying to blow the lid off of that and have a conversation. And you know, and maybe someday I'll get to make my buyer Western feature narrative 100 $50 million period piece. The speaker the speaker, let's say yes, even it's gonna get better we got to make this happen. How you gonna get around finances? Yeah. what's what's the project or type of film you would love to do? If you had all the financing and no limits? I'm not going to say goodbye Rustin because that is already put that out there. I think you know what I want to do, I would want to go, I would want my family's transition from the south to the north, I grew up begging adults to talk about they would not talk about it was too painful. I'm the descendant of slaves, you know, like they clearly were, I have my great grandmother and great grandfather lived 103 106. So they remember seeing their parents who were slaves. You know, slavery is only a great great grandma away, right, which is far away here in America. And so I would love to find some way to tell an epic tale of just touches on those moments and the moments of people not talking and like a young boy discovering who he is. And we say resilience. But I think fortitude is a better word. And I that's not mine, I got it from someone else. But like before, to to that we have to still be here. What does it mean for all three of us? Well, you know, we all come from a people from a really complicated history that's not so clear, and broken out. So something about a person connecting back with that fortitude and resilience that makes us possible to stand we say, I'm my, my ancestors dreams. But what is it? What does that really mean? How can really mean a film? How could you really illustrate illustrate that in the film? How can you tell that story? You know, Isabel Wilkerson did a book called I'm wanting father sons. And it's an incredible book about the experience of, I think she picked three or four families that migrated from the south to the north, and is so visual and so intense and so great. I would love to find some story that unpacks and unlocks in a way that we've never seen a modern day connection, like right now connection with folks who have come from the Senate from enslaved people, and are still standing. And it's someone like a character is really exploring that, because it is painful to mislead people. And it's also a pride of like, but I come from the people that survived and made it that conflict right there. How do you illustrate that in the story? You're thinking a narrative or a document narrative? Yeah, narrative that actually matters? Yeah. Yeah. And I wouldn't, I would enroll a lots of parts of my life. You know, my apparently my great grandfather, he was 16. And she was nine when they fell in love. And they like he left a former plantation area. She left the reservation, and they went in the woods and built the house. Like that's how what started Yeah, so amazing. Crazy. I'm like, Wait nine to 16 like, wait a minute waiting. Right? What does that look like? What does that mean? So So I mean, that's when I say that I want the money to sit my butt down in a fancy house and develop it. Feed My people as we come in and make this and then find a way to get this done. Make it slick making Black Panther level. Huge by epic buyout was epic pick that just tries to some way to articulate the notion that I have my ancestors Dream on film. Like, I'm gonna be real abstract there. But I want the funding to sit down like the white people. Do. You figured? I just wouldn't saw Tennant man. Did y'all see it in it? No, no, I haven't seen it was that good? It's Christopher Nolan. You know, wait. Remember, a lot of people are gonna be hearing this. And I'm now choosing the words. Yeah, yeah. It's, I really sat in thought, like, Wow, he can do anything. He's getting the permission to do anything. And I want to be at that level. I want to be level as a filmmaker, I'd be like, I want to make this. What's your film about? I don't know. But I want to make something that talks about I on my ancestors dreams, give me $150 million to start. Thank you. I'll be back in three months. I mean, that's, that's why I asked that question. Because I feel like all filmmakers, actors, directors, whatever. They have that big dream of man, if I had that greenlight, man if I had that greenlight, but I feel like a lot of them don't really know what they would do with that green line. Mm. sort of takes them. They don't even know what their direction is. They're just doing stuff just to do stuff. So I asked that question, because I always want to see what is the vision? What is the what is the direction of the goal that people that you want for you, as an artist, I feel like it's very important to have a mentor. I feel like you are just totally I get that. And it's not to know it's okay not to know you don't have to have a concrete laid out. That's what development is about. Right, right. There's my last question. Do you have anything Before I get, ya know, I wanted to ask, what what like what, what directors, current directors or past directors? Are you a fan of that inspire you? Just so the listeners can hear it? Mm hmm. I'll say this in a moment of gratitude, as we get close to wrapping up, alpha timbre of your voice makes me makes me feel so comfortable. I remember New York when I hear you appreciate it. Right, right, right. It's like right there. I appreciate that. Man. Thank you, brother, in terms of directors are like I mentioned Ryan coogler a few times. And I just really do I know people who worked on his set. And they said he was so chill, and so calm and down to earth. Imagine imagine being calm, making black and white. Just think about that for a second. I've seen when I made I made a little small short film, and was losing my mind. And it was a eight minute piece now to to be cool and chill and really foster a community that's from a black perspective first, and is positive is phenomenal. And people I know the ones that said he did that all day, all night, the whole time. So beyond his filmmaking, that is something that's important to me. So I really have a great deal of respect for Ryan coogler. And then you know, I'm going to dig back. Oh, man, I'm gonna get this what is my filmmaker friends name? It's on the tip of my tongue. He did killer a sheep. Charles Burnett as a hard one to pull that Charles Burnett, killer sheep chop Burnett is a is a brilliant black filmmaker, who didn't get his Hay Day didn't get his attention. And his words were were rediscovered, they kind of Zorro nursing him and brought them back like, well, could it work? Charles Burnett is another filmmaker I really respect. If you everyone's just every, every filmmaker should see killer sheep. It's a really simple, beautiful, he presents black life in a positive and incredible and beautiful, beautiful, beautiful way, you know, and then I'll go to the other extreme, and say, I'm a lot of respect for Terence, you know, he's a mess, you know, briefly at Miramax and saw him like go when he was like just hustling with Pulp Fiction and the like. But I like the freedom that he has. And he's taken, you know, and there are a lot of filmmakers I have a lot of respect for that favorite fashion is always hard for me, because I know how hard it is to make a movie. So when a movie is up on screen, I'm like, that's a success right there already. We're actually honoring a Tarantino for a week on our Instagram page. So I just thought I plugged that in. Turn Tina, I mean, this is not gonna Aaron to me, I, you know, I am, I'm a fan of him as well. But from from the side of he's pushed, he limits his creativity. And I'm a fan of that, because he's taken the risk and exposing himself to so much criticism. And, you know, some are successful, some are not, but he's he's pushing. He's pushing it like a true artist should all the time. And that's the only way that we can actually, you know, you could present something and evolve and change people's mindsets. And, you know, and, and share your thoughts on the screen. And he's done a great job of pushing those limits. Oh, yeah. Yeah, he's, he's kind of, he's, he and a few others have done like, I call it the shark day, where there's a tear, you know, you know, a shard a song? You know what sharding music sounds like? Anybody else shot a sound is a guarantee no movie. There's a spike lee movie, there's an M Night Shyamalan movie. Right? You know, exactly. You know, what you want to see when you go in? So this is my final question. It's not super fancy. I'm just gonna make it sound like it's fancy. 20 years from now, what would make you pleased with the career that you had? I think you're already on track for that. You know that. This is something I say to my mentees. When I'm an old, fussy, smelly man. Come sit and have a cup of tea with me and talk to me about what's going on in your life. Don't let me sit in the house by myself after I bust my hump to help you. So I think 20 years from now, I'm seeing the people that I've witnessed and tried to help foster thriving and doing well. They take time to come and sit with me and chill. You know, watch a movie, just relaxed, actually still want to be around me and and that they're doing well. 20 years from now, that would be a nice moment. You know, of course I like my projects and out there to be out there and have some relevance and people growing and learning from them. But I think I'll stick with the first part and say that the people that I've impacted or changed and happy and are better people. I'll be down, though that will make me pleased and happy. 20 years from now, that's really powerful. I feel like people, people on this earth are meant to do certain things. And some people, like my family is a similar thing where we're meant to be teachers, you meant to be agents of inspiration. And I feel like you're one of those, especially because a lot people say, you know, I want to have a billion dollars and 17 houses, I don't want to be, you know, world famous, but you say I want to have tea with my mentees, which is like, that's awesome. That's fantastic. Yeah, yeah. Oh, one last question. All right, and what what advice can you give to someone who wants to do documentaries, or wants to break into the documentary filmmaking business, if you want to do it, don't do it. You have to need to do this. bars, you have to need to do this don't do if you want to do it, you have to need to do this. Because this is it's a very difficult field. And it's not a financially, it can be I've luckily figured how to make it financially sustainable. But for the most part, it's not. That's why you see a lot of films made by people of last names you recognize, because they got family money supporting them, you have to need to do this. And you have to need to tell a story and be involved and affect change. And think I'll leave it I'll just leave it at that. Like think about what that means. What is need to versus want to, in these situations. powerful stuff. Oh, Andre, rabidly thank you for being on once upon a film industry. This has been an absolute pleasure. Awesome. I'm sure our listeners got a lot from it. And blessings on your next stuff. Be? Yeah, congratulations on all the great achievements. And you know, you're really having an impact on on on this world. And your films are definitely doing that. And inspiring people. That's awesome, man. I I feel like I know you man. Yeah, that's fantastic. Thank you. Thank you so much. This is this is so chill. Like, I really, you know, I've been I've been having gone for like 910 o'clock every night with stuff. And I've got to be honest. And I was like, oh, man, I got this podcast. I mean, pull it together. And instantly, it was like, Oh, these cats are cool. You know? Yeah, no, we want to make you feel comfortable. Man. That's, it's awesome. And it's funny, because when you mentioned a couple of things about helping the youth and helping people in the prison system, I actually went down that path in the beginning, in my career when I studied criminal justice, so I went, and I was taught by, you know, a lot of correctional officers, a lot of people in the police department. And I wanted to have that impact to help the young youth in in their journey through the whole prison system. And my biggest thing was, at that time in my life was, I saw a lot of people getting incarcerated should not have been incarcerated for the most silliest, silliest things, you know, and it ruined their lives. It ruined their lives. Yeah. And it's a shame that that happened. And so when I went, my my intentions were to pursue a career in criminal justice to make a difference. And so when when you mentioned these things, and your documentaries, I mean, there it is. It's impactful, man. It's really nice to see. So thank you. Thank you so much, man. I appreciate that. Absolutely. All right, man. All right. If you want to get more info on Andres films in your workplace or school, check out his website at Andre Robert Lee calm and check out our Instagram at once upon a film industry. This podcast has been edited by sometta Gupta. Thanks for listening later.