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Jesse H. Knight
2016, 113m, crime, drama
Partners follows the lives of two, Rural North Carolina, uniformed police Officers in a small southern town; Officer John Walker and Officer Mandy Kain. Both middle aged and veterans of the department; the story, told in five separate segments, will focus more on how the two officers handle both the job and their personal lives. The story will touch on the problems police officers face in today's society; however, it will not be the typical police action drama portrayed in larger scale films or television series.
Produced by: Darren W. Conrad, Duane A. Sikes, Louise Greene Black
Cast: Darren W. Conrad, Candace M. Blanchard, Marco St. John
10 questions with Partners director, Jesse H. Knight at the half-way mark.
Sunday, August 14th, 2016
1Hi Darren! Congratulations on Partners. Judging by your IMDB, you're very busy. Do you feel it's been beneficial to work in a variety of roles? Oh yes. I started acting at age 5, and even though with my look and build I have found my niche in this business; I love the opportunity to step into other characters to show everyone I am not just a cop. I have played a variety of unique characters from football players, cowboys, animated characters, and fathers.
2Partners feels very authentic and you get a real sense of the community and every day lives of police Officers. I also read that you're, an active Officer which explains this feeling of authenticity. But what made you decide to go from being an officer and a writer/producer/actor as well? Thank you on the complements on the film. I actually started acting at age 5, and outside of stage, my film credits go back to 1980. After majoring in Theater, my first thought was to go to New York as a Stage Actor and continue my learning of the craft. It was when my father died in 1989 that I made the decision to become a North Carolina Law Enforcement Officer. Since 1990, I have managed to blend the two professions. I did not start writing and producing films until 2011. I an still a full time officer about 6 years away from full retirement. I can sometimes be a rush blending the two professions together.
3This film feels very timely considering the current tensions in America regarding policing and race. Did you want to show a police officers perspective with Partners? Actually, when I wrote the script in 2013, it was before the recent rashes of police incidents in the US. But, we all know the history of the profession has had its ups ad downs. My goal was to show the personal side of police officers in more of a smaller town setting. The story shows how true the characters were to their professions, but it also shows they are as human as anyone else. They have problems in their personal lives just as any other profession.
4The friendship between Officer John Walker and Officer Mandy Kain comes through very strong. The film takes you on a real emotional journey. Where did you get the inspiration for these characters? The inspiration came from my personal working relationship with an incredible female police officer back in the 1990s. Females were not always accepted back in the beginning. We have come so far in creating opportunities for females and many other minorities. For law enforcement to be successful, we must have all races and sex to be diverse. I wrote Partners to be very Pro Female. John and Mandy's relationship was very close; but it was not meant to automatically imply they were romantically involved. Partners have to have trust and understanding among each other. Overtime, working close with someone can bring a sense of true and honest love for them. The audience has to make up their own mind in the film about the true extinct of their working and personal relationship.
5A Father's Love is another film you wrote that's directed by Jesse H. Knight. How important is it for you to build collaborations? Did you contribute ideas to the directing? Yes. A Father's Love is in the late stages of post production. It is a 30 min SAG Short Film for the 2017 National Festival Circuit. Jesse Knight and I established such a wonderful working relationship on Partners, he and Cinematographer Jason Ledford was without a thought my choice for A Father's Love. I trust Jesse 110% to direct the films in write and produce. He respects my writing and when I am on set as an actor, I let him direct with no interference.
6 What's it like filming in North Carolina? Is there a big filmmaking community there? I was born and raised in North Carolina, and it is a beautiful state for filming with both the mountains and sea. We were honored to have filmed on location in Cramerton, N.C. Our biggest problem now is NC does not offer the film incentives we used to have. Large scale productions have moved to states such as Georgia and Louisiana. I wad so proud to have represented North Carolina in Partners.
7Can you share a war story from the shoot? Oh my! One of the Principal Actresses in Partners is Addy Miller from The Walking Dead. She was the little teddy bear kid zombie in Episode 1 that was shot by the Main Star. Several towns people from Cramerton found out she was going to be filming at a certain location. We were mobbed with her fans!! It was awesome!!! Addy was such a Trooper and took pictures with all her fans.
8What was your festival strategy and any advice for filmmakers? The main thing on film festivals is understanding your target audience for the film and the mature or Non mature subject matter your film contains. Filmmakers need to read the details throughly what the film festival is promoting. It is not a guarantee your film will get accepted, but at least you did not waste entry fee on something that would never touch the type of genre your film represents. Be smart and do research on the festival itself.
9You've built an impressive following on Facebook. What would be your advice in how to find your audience through social media? Thank you! I wad very blessed with the following of Partners on Facebook. I do get a lot of support from the law enforcement community across the nation. The page has been shared on hundreds and hundreds of police pages. Bottom line......know your target audience and don't be afraid to self promote.
10What's next? So yes. A Father Love will be released in the early Fall. I have produced a horror short called Three Way Cut that we film in September. I am Assistant Director on my first comedy short called First Kiss. It will also star name actor Marco St. John. As an actor, I stay busy auditioning for film, TV, and commercials. I do well booking commercials and very thankful for that. In 2017, I am going to focus strictly on acting and take a break from writing. Life is good and I am thankful for my opportunities.
About the Interviewer: Paulette Caletti
Paulette Caletti is the writer/director of The Cake Maker movie based in London. She's currently writing a new feature script and developing 360/VR projects. http://paulettecaletti.com
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