SGL Contents: Finding Me Special Edition 3 4 9 14 18 21
Editorâ€™s Letter Movie Star Ray Martell Moore Box Office Star Ronald De Suze Direct Me Roger Mr Independent D.L. Briggs The Finding Me New York Movie Premiere
Editor’s Letter Welcome to another week, another issue. In this issue we are calling it Finding Me: The Movie Special Edition. I am so proud of the entire cast of this phenomenol movie. Last Wednesday night everyone descended up NYC to catch the premiere of Finding Me: The Movie. This movie has been a longtime coming exactly 2 years ago Roger Omeus made this film. We are so proud of him and TLA Releasing for bringing it to the masses. In this issue I sat down with the leading actor of this film Ray Martell Moore. We spoke on numerous subjects so turn to page 4 and sit back and enjoy. Then I sat down with Ronald De Suze to talk about him playing a father to a gay son. You can read about this interview on page 9. Go inside Finding Me with Director Roger Omeus Jr to know the in’s and out’s of the film on page 14. Last but not least we also have a interview with Derrick L. Briggs on page 18. Go behind the scenes of the premiere with our Managing Editor Maurice Runea on page 21. Until Next Week.
Cordially, Cleavester Brooks Editor In Chief
Movie Star Ray Martell Moore A Cleavester Brooks Interview First I want to say thank you for the support, it is very much appreciated. Who is Ray Martell Moore? RayMartell Moore is married to acting and plans to change the world by opening everyone who watches my work to new experiences and discoveries; inside and outside of themselves. What role do you play in the movie? I play lead, Faybien Allen, 21, Caribbean male, who is desperate for direction in his journey from self-loathing to self-acceptance. His life is greatly affected by his father's disapproval and mother's absence. Sending him in down-ward spiral of depression, he relies on the help of his friends and everyone in his life to help him find meaning and purpose in life. Why is your character lacking direction in his life? He's going through that part of his life where he is asking the most crucial questions in his journey to self-discovery, "Who am I?" and "Where do I belong?" and most importantly "Would I be accepted for my choices, would I be accepted as I am?" The questions we all as
human-beings GLBT and straight have asked ourselves.
How did you prepare for this role of Faybien Allen? I really just engulfed myself in the "Lifestyle", I talked to so many people, and every person that I talked to whether GLBT or straight about the subjects of homosexuality and selfdiscovery had affected the way I performed. My biggest influence though was thewriter/director/producer, Roger Omeus Jr. He really took more than a directorial role to my process of finding "Faybien Allen". He was a friend, like a big-brother and gave me a lot of information about his life and experiences, the Black SGL (same-gender-loving) life, and everything else. He opened my eyes to something I would've never guessed in a million years I would have known and experienced. And I greatly thank him because I became a better person and a human being from those experiences. If only there were more people like Roger out there in this world : ) I'm sure there's a few, and to them all I want to personally say thank you. Ray Martell is a heterosexual. But other than that, nothing else is different. Faybien and I are identical. A lot of the same things Faybien was going through, I was going through the same; either at those very moments during shooting or it really wasn't too far from already having been through those experiences. I was as well discovering my own direction in life, coming from a very religious up-bringing, struggling with my own personal self-acceptance and asking the same question "Where do I belong and will I be accepted as I am?" Just as Faybien is growing, Ray Martell is growing and vice-versa. Faybien is going to be apart of my life for the rest of my life. What can we expect from your character in The Sequel? Aw the Sequel! You can definitely expect a new and improved Faybien. He accepts himself for who he is and seems to be going in the right direction in life. But just because one person goes through something and gets through it doesn't mean, an occurring event can't bring him back in the mind set he worked so hard to get out of. The sequel, I am very happy is less about Faybien and more about the entire cast as a whole. Each character is carrying their own weight of struggles and discoveries. It's going to be fun to really know the lives of each character and I mean really get to know them inside and out. If there is a third Finding Me would you come back? If Faybien is still alive...of course! Where do you see this movie taking you and your career? Doing many more movies! I mean, it can only go way up from here! â€œFinding Meâ€? made history! And as we continue the story, more history is in the
making. This movie is really just the beginning to a prosperous career. It has and continues to open doors for me, and or allows me to just get my foot in. But I couldn't have asked for a better start. What advice would you give to someone struggling with his or her self esteem? 1st Go outside and scream "Accept Me" then 2nd “Snap Out Of It” : ).... You definitely have to love yourself, before you can love someone else. Really know that you are beautiful inside and out and really believe there is nothing wrong with you. You are who you are, because you are who you are. Maybe that doesn't explain a lot, but who ever has a problem with that is just going to have to accept you as you are. Get away from the negative people in your life and stay around the uplifting people in your life. Tell yourself you have no time for negativity. And last but not least, tell yourself that you are more than enough. You are more than enough to be whatever you want to be, you are more than enough to do whatever you want to do. Live Laugh Love! What can we expect from you in the future? I got a lot of different projects going on. Currently we are shooting the sequel to “Finding Me”. I am also preparing for another feature length film project hopefully beginning in the summer. I am also working with the O’Neill Studio. As well as preparing a one-man show, in which I plan on first doing in New York City and then hopefully traveling with it around the world. Are you going to stay in NYC or movie to Los Angeles? I get that question often. I do plan to do more film than stage, yet I am in love with New York City! I’ve declared it the home I built for myself. I will be working in LA a lot, but coming home to New York City more than often.
Congrads, on your new movie. Any final words before we go? Thank you so much for the
support, and I really appreciate you and this interview. Final words… let’s see… let’s get up every morning to spread love and joy to one another. I mean that’s what life should really be about, right!? And… um… keep a look out for me, RayMartell Moore. This is only the beginning!
Box Office Star Ronald De Suze A Cleavester Brooks Interview Thanks Cleavester for taking interest in what I do and taking the time to interview me. I am humbled by it. I am also inspired by your taking control of your own career/goal/occupation. Young black brothers have to do more of that. You are an important example for our community. Never forget that, nor the community. What kind of force did your character play in Faybien's Life? In the movie, I play the archtypical Caribbean father. That comes with an idea that the man rules the house, gives orders, does "manly" things and so on. It is evident that my wife has died. We grew up in Trinidad together and migrated to the US to experience our American dream. I became Faybien's sole parent. I am old school, invested in passing my values onto him, of which a big part is cultural values (work hard, save, become a 'man,' don't waste time, get a girl friend, get married, that kind of thing). So his force is relevant and resounds loudly in Faybien's brain. He even starts speaking like his father, ie, using some similar terminology, and ideas about life and how one should feel as a man in society. Who is Ronald DeSuze? Wow! Ronald De Suze, is a hard working individual of Trinidadian descent. I am a great lover of cultures, language and entertainment. I am an artist and I believe that I can change the world when I make audiences, laugh, cry or think. I am usually a humble, funny, critically thinking person. I am a scholar. I am an activist. I believe the artist, the activist and the scholar intersect to form a major part of whom I am. My duality as American/Trinidadian gives me the lens to view the world in a unique way. I don't necessarily see things in Black and white, but I am able to see varying nuances and shades of grey. I believe I was born to do great things. I can be very articulate and very loving. I avoid conflict and folks who are vexations to the spirit. I am imperfect, and the older I get, the more I try to smell the roses along the way and approach life in a less judgmental fashion. Ronald is also a man who came to this great country and became beaten down and disgruntled by the disparities in American society. Ronald is someone who got disillusioned by the myth that we all stand a chance to grab that American dream and the notion that we all deserve life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I have seen the racism and prejudice in society, Black men made invisible, and violence against people of color. Moreover, I've seen blatant subjectivity in the entertainment business that passes for objectivity, without regard that artists have bills too and unpaid school loans, eg., when the status quo gives singers and personalities acting jobs, over trained actors. Ronald has become more angry as the rich gets richer and the poor gets poorer. Ronald has also become scared that he may not be heard or helped to overcome these wrongs in society. Ronald hopes to be a successful artist who will one day have a platform of which to voice many of these ills of this society. Until then, I remain invested in my craft and submit to empowering audiences with my knowledge, attitude and performances.
You have had many roles in movies. How did this role come about? I've had more roles in the theatre than in movies. I am still building up my TV/movie portfolio. I love all the media though. This role came about like this. A friend of mine that I knew from an organization in Harlem, came to me and said he had not acted for a while and had this opportunity to do this role. He felt out of the loop and passed on the project, but recommended me for the job. I consented, met with Roger Omeus, the director, and after reading with the Ray Martell Moore, he felt we had a chemistry he was looking for and a near enough resemblance to play father and son. Did this movie change you as a person and as a human being? The movie did not change me as a person or human being. I was very aware of homophobia and violent attitudes toward homosexuals, being a person of Caribbean descent. In my country, it is not common for same sex partners to face death or be in danger of death, but definitely you could be publicly chastised, or jeered for your overt same sex pride. I have been around that attitude that comes from the church of a man bedding another man. I am aware of the machismo culture that purports that heterosexuality is the only model and misogyny. I am also aware that part of the history of this problem stems from these Victorian sensibilities that have permeated the world, that Caribbean countries still hold on to, as a symbol of them being as perfect as our oppressors. There were parts of the film that touched me though, and made me reflect that these chains pass from generation to generation. When Fabyien, not knowing
how to navigate and echoing his father's morality over and over again, is a symbol that there is a great deal of work still to be done in the world, or else difference will always be marginalized and vilified. How was it to play the father of a gay male? It was not hard to play a father of a gay male. I have a lot of fatherly instincts and sensibilities. I grew up around children, I had good parents and relatively good male figures in my life, and kids generally love me. On many occasions I have been cast as a father, though Ray was the oldest child I have ever had (LOL). I have also observed many fathers deal with their boys and I've always had my own idea of raising children, which I have wanted to enact. What can we expect from you in the future? I hope you can expect great things. I have given up on the idea of instant fame and fortune, but I expect to be able to work with great actors, directors and producers. I want to remain open to all forms of media and types of art. I'll try very hard to get the best jobs in the industry possible. You know we aren't all lucky to choose what projects we want and those we don't want. I want the opportunity to work in the Caribbean and especially Trinidad and Tobago. I am slowly penning a one man show that I hope will have both a Caribbean and US version (only because at some level, comedy can be different and non-translatable from one culture to the next), which I hope will make people laugh and think about my journey, and that of many immigrants in the New World.
Who is you favorite actor or actress? Why? That's always a tough question. I think different actors bring different things to the table depending on the project. I have to say I enjoy Don's Cheadle's work. I think he should be more recognized for the kinds of choices he makes and the roles he takes on. As an actor, the work of deceased Heath Ledger excited and motivated me. I totally believed he was a red neck in Broke Back mountain. I totally believed he was Casanova, I was mezmerized by his portrayal of the Joker. He neutralizes his own tendencies and imposes a whole new set of characteristics and nuances. He does it with his voice and his body. I would want to embody his method into my work. I like a lot of the British actresses such as Kate Winlett and Kate Blanchett. I think the two of them are phenomenol. An actress whom I have had had the pleasure of meeting and whose work floors me all the time is Phylicia Rashad. She is one of the best. I saw her in Jem of the Ocean as aunt Ester and I also saw her in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof recently, and she reinvents herself every time. Oprah's friend Gayle didn't even know it was her when they saw the play. I like Angela Bassett too, as her performances are always powerful -- all the time. She was more subdued as Rosa Parks, but great nontheless. If you could star in any television show what show would it be and why? I don't watch that much TV but one show that I tried to get on in the past was Will and Grace. I consider it one of the best written and acted comedies of all time. The chemistry of the actors and the understanding of timing and language are all there when they present it. They also understand not judging the characters and are committed to their over-the-top choices that they make. Once an actor believes this, the audience has no choice but to believe it too. That's important and key. I love farcical comedy. A woman at the Finding Me release last night could not see me doing that. How wrong she was! It's hard work and it took me a lot of discipline, trust, sweat and tears to get it right. Over the years I've developed a penchant for it. I'd give anything to be in such a showcase. I see one of their co-stars, Bobby Cannaval, has his own show called "Cupid", which is filmed in NY. I'm going to try to get on that set. Ugly Betty is my next choice. Thank you so much. Do you have any final words? Finally, all I can say is that I take this craft of acting very seriously. I came to NYC to pursue this craft that I started in Trinidad, and life has no purpose for me if I cannot be an actor. I was on the path of also getting a Ph D, but my love for acting is my true passion and calling, I believe. Acting is hard work and I believe that actors have to be knowledgeable about a plethora of things. Everything around us is fair game and goes into our think tank. The grumpy doctor, the child climbing the school bus, that weave- toting, long finger nail, chewing gum receptionist, the cold traffic cop, our response at our lover giving us the best orgasm ever... all of it is an actor's education. I have tried to educate myself and be humble and be a well rounded person, in the trust that my art benefits as well. In 1998, I was a production called, "You Can't Take it with You." One of the main characters, commonly called grandpa, endorsed my own childhood questions and beliefs when he delivered a powerful message. He said, "How many of us would be willing to settle when we're young for what we eventually get? All those plans we make... what happens to them? It's only a handful of the lucky ones
that can look back and say they even come close." Those words have kept me grounded in my quest to becoming a successful working actor. Thank you very much.
Direct Me Roger A Cleavester Brooks Interview Thank you so much for this opportunity Cleavester. Who is Roger S. Omeus Jr? I am a Haitian American who has always dreamed. Since I was a kid I dreamed of acting, writing and drawing. I'm also an Aquarius so my mind is always in the clouds dreaming. I'd also like to think I'm grounded in some ways. I'm introspective and I love people. I love to find out what makes a person tick." I hope I answered that first question, LOL! How did you come up with Finding Me? I actually wrote the story back in 97 in a book format. I was really inspired my E.Lynn Harris's book "Invisible Life." So I created a story about a combination of friends that were and still are in my life. In 06 I was inspired by Patrick Ian Polk's bravery in letting nothing hold him back from creating Noah's Arc, so in late 06 I decided to turn that book I wrote so long ago into a screen play. We started production summer of 07 and here we are today with a New York screening and a DVD dropping April 21st! Shocked is a pitiful way to describe how I feel right now. How is Finding Me different from your real life? It isn't really that different from my life. When I say that I mean I wrote the story to be accessible to everyone, gay, straight, male or female. These characters are recognizable people. Faybien's plight is very real for a lot of folks. So this is not a far departure from my own life at all. What inspired you to focus on self esteem? " This is a really good question. No one has ever asked me this before. Not that I can recall anyway. I focused on self esteem because this was and still is an issue I confront in my own life. I question myself constantly. Don't we all? Going back to the first question you asked, 'Who am I?' I'm a person who loves to delve into the essence of human beings, and I've learned in my short time in life (33 isn't old LOL) people in all shape and sizes, beautiful, muscular, thin, in shape, out of shape and the "not so pretty" (and I honestly think everyone is beautiful) share one thing in common, their self esteem is questioned by themselves. Faybien is the one character in the film that says out loud, "I don't know what I want and who I am." I think that's honest. We all wonder that. That's his journey, mine and so many others." Is the lead character Faybein based off of a real life friend or is he based off of a real life friend or is he based off of a group of gay males?Faybien is based off a how I felt when I was younger. What's funny is every festival we've been to, older gay men, black or white
would come up to RayMartell Moore (the actor who plays Faybien) and myself and say 'I remember feeling like that when I was younger.' The thing that shocked me was when straight females would come up to me and say they identify with him. It made me realize how the story can touch anyone. What can we expect in Finding Me: The Sequel? You can expect changes in Faybien's life. Things don't go exactly the way he expected them to. You get to see more of Jay (played by Maurice Murrell) and his world. You also get a more well rounded view of all of the characters lives. Greg's (played by Eugene Turner) life is very interesting, and Amera's (played by J'Nara Corbin) life is hilarious! New characters are introduced, which are played by some really fantastic talents, and everyone will know where Lonnie (played by Derrick L.Briggs) goes! I'm very proud of this next installment of Finding Me. A lot of truths are reveled, and that is why it's entitled "Finding Me: Truth. What can we expect from you in the future? Sci-Fi! I love science fiction. I grew up watching Star Wars, Dr. Who, Dune and reading wonderful books like "Wild Seed", and "The Pattern Master." I would really love to get into that. Just know whatever I do I will always try and show the human being in all of us. I would also love for Finding Me to become a series. This characters have so much to say. They've been screaming in my head for the past 11 years. I would love for everyone else to hear what they have to say. Will you continue to produce movies or venture into Television, Reality TV, Etc.
I will continue to produce. OmeProductions (the name of my production company) is here to stay. I have a great team beside me. Sontaia Briggs (Co-Producer) and Tim Yates (Executive in charge of Production) have been instrumental in getting Finding Me to this point. I honestly don't know how we would've gotten hear without them, and I'm so happy they are with me on Finding Me: Truth along with some new additions to the OmePro team. Ray Rodriguez (our Line Producer) and Phillip Muniz (my AD) have proven to be invaluable. I do want to do television, but when it comes to "Reality TV", and I hope this doesn't come to bit me in the butt later down the line, I don't know if it's something I am suited for.
If you could have directed any movie past or present which movie would it be and why? Love Jones. I truly feel in love with that film. It's my favorite movie of all time. Some my question why, but in a time when all we had was shoot'em up films 'Love Jones' showed me black, beautiful, love, and that's what I was yearning for!
Mr Independent D.L. Briggs A Cleavester Brooks Interview Who is Derrick Lewis Briggs? Such an easy question but so hard to answer...I'm a man on a mission to live the best life that can and to make a difference in my community Why are you so misunderstood? That's funny...personally, everyone is misunderstood to me...until you get a chance to know them...I actually like the mystery...Good or Bad...Bad press is still press and if people knew who I was completely that wouldn't be surprised when I do something different or new...I would then be predictable and that's something you don't want...I want to catch people off guard so they will never see me coming...lol Your character is described as a Hunky, Self Assured Guy. Are you Hunky and Self Assured? I don't know about the hunky part (lol) but self-assured maybe...I try my best to stay focused and have a positive outlook on life regardless on life challenges What can the audience expect from your character in the Sequel? Not to give too much away...the audience can expect a different Lonnie Wilson...the character may
seem darker and deeper
What can we expect out of the 4th Season of ADTV? You can expect a different show..I'm excited about the changes and can't wait to start shooting ADTV this Summer What can we expect from Derrick in the future? Now, that's a question I ask myself everyday..."What's Next?" I want to do more films and build my own Television/Film Company to create movies that matter to me and my community How can the people get in contact with you? The best way people can reach me is on FaceBook Thank you so much. Any final word? Thanks Again and Never judge a book by it's cover...make sure you at least read a few pages first...lol
The "Finding Me" New York Movie Premiere was a phenomenal experience... By: Maurice Runea It was a great feeling to see so many community movers and shakers under one roof to celebrate the success of one of our own, standing ovation to Director Roger Omeus Jr. "Finding Me" is about a young, insecure man (Fabian) played by Ray Martell Moore, trying to come to the realization of who he is and love it, hence the movies title... All while trying to deal with a father (Ronald De Suze)who doesnâ€™t understand him. Derrick L. Briggs plays the sexy and perfect boyfriend Lonnie, who despite obstacles in there relationship stick's by Fabian and shows him nothing but love, respect and guidance. Although Raymond and Derrick are the main characters, no movie is complete without fabulous costars... Eugene Turner, J'Nara Corbin & Maurice Murrell play the odd ball friends, with cameos from Uche and recording artist Nhojj who's music is used on the soundtrack, as well as tracks from the recording artist and model Baron. "Finding Me" After-Party @ ATE AVE in Chelsea was nothing to miss and sorry for ya if you did! It was Hollywood all the way.
The guest list of those in attendance read like a who's who of the entertainment business, Some in attendance were Ryan of ADTV, Model Keyon, Recording Artist Baron & Nhojj, Director Kurt-Shannon Butts, The Rainbow Collective's Maurice Runea was there interviewing the cast, Producer Sekiya Dorsett, Radio Host DJ Baker, Rapper Shorty Roc, Author Jamelle Omar Tutler, Photographer DexStar G & HX Magazine, just to name a few... BUT, the list goes on and on and on... "Finding Me" available on DVD April 21st... Get Your Copy: www.tlareleasing.com www.thanks4findingme.com Maurice Runea firstname.lastname@example.org
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