QWFF: Q&A with Don P. Hooper of Page One

Page One” a short narrative was screened at The Museum of the Moving Image on Saturday afternoon as part of the Making Sense of Self thematic block. Here is the movie description: “Abel is a black actor who’s made his living getting killed on page one of countless horror films. When a film set is attacked, the cast + crew turn to Abel – the guy with the horror film know-how needed to survive.”

Afterward, we caught up with director Don P. Hooper, and here’s what he had to say on his film:

The Court Square Blog: Tell us your inspiration for the film.

Don P. Hooper: It’s been a long road. Tarik Davis, our lead, wrote the script. It’s been in his mind for 10 years. Movie watchers, especially horror fans, know the trope that the black guy dies first in horror movies. So Tarik created the character Abel Crispus Worthy who literally is the person cast to die first in every horror film. He played it once on stage and wanted to bring into feature mode. T brought me the script three years ago and we worked on the rewrite together. It eventually just came to this point.

TCSB: Do you plan on doing more with this short?

DH: It’ll be a feature film. We did the script for that first. We were raising funds for it and LeMar McLean, one of our producers, he had the idea to take out a scene from the movie script and turn it into a short to generate more awareness and interest.

TCSB: The short touches on socio-economic issues. Is that something you intended?

DH: The feature film captures everything we’re trying to do. With the short, we really wanted to encapsulate the tone of the feature. It’s horror, but there are hints of comedy and action. Like you said, we wanted to address socio-economic issues like the Black Lives Matter movement, police shooting unarmed victims and police brutality. Joshua Mesnik plays the cop. We know that the cop has blanks in his gun – he’s just playing a role on a movie set where the monsters have become real. Still, the ferocity at which he points the gun at Abel elicits the very real response. We wanted to address all of that. It’s the importance of people working together from different socio-economic stratospheres. The ‘lead’ actors, they don’t understand the extra who’s trying to save everyone. He’s like, ‘just listen to me. What I have to say is important.’

TCSB: The one thing I took away from this is that you need to listen to what the person is saying as opposed to just judging them on how they appear.

DH: As an extra, or as a black person, or as a person of color, or as a woman, or as a person of different sexual orientation, that person has a myriad of dimensions to them. It’s this person’s chance. He’s been invisible and marginalized his whole life, and it’s played out through his job as an extra. He’s saying that he’s not invisible, and what he has to say is important. We’re all on this set together, and we all have to help each other to survive.

The Court Square Blog Review: “Thought provoking, intellectual, funny, and action-packed in one package, Page One shows all the promise of an outstanding Indie comedy that explores the more complex nature of socio-economic issues in entertainment and in greater society.”

Be sure to check out more about the movie on its website.

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