Filmmaker’s Name:  Demetrius Wren
Film Title:  Father(s) Day
Film TRT:  19:20
Genre(s): drama, African American, Veteran

In 50 words or less, what is your film about?
FATHER(s) DAY follows an African American veteran in LA as he strives to live his daily life in support of his family, up against the small but potent prejudices that are still alive and well today.

What inspired you to make this film?  
It has become overwhelming for me to experience prejudice and racism everyday, so much so that when I experience a moment where there is no prejudice directed towards me, I react with a feeling of shock. I freeze. I live in such a constant state of “bracing for impact” that life without the trauma seems strange now.  

And no, it isn't just the stories of young black men dying and children being asked to leave school for inventing a clock...those stories are the kinds that anyone with a heart can stop and say "that isn't right - start Twitter hashtags and Facebook reposts!”  

It is what I call the “micro-prejudice” or the “micro-racism” permeating everything around me that keeps me in quiet chains and bendable glass ceilings. So many of us are victims of it and (to be honest) I also inflict the same judgement on others. I am a culprit. "Hurt people hurt people,” as they say.  

The kinds of prejudice I speak of include how a person might assume a job isn't "right for you/me" because of the way someone fundamentally, genetically is. The kinds of prejudice that lead to being asked too many questions while shopping during the holidays or finding out upon arrival that the apartments you are looking to rent are no longer available to show despite the fact that moments before on the phone there were ample options.  

Father(s) Day is a short film that aims to highlight the small acts that affect our day to day experiences as a judged community. It is told through one day as Andrew, an African American veteran and young father, tries to find his way in Los Angeles after leaving active duty.  

I know it's not just people like Andrew that experience micro-prejudices, but they can affect everyone: men, women, minorities, LGBT… everyone. I hope this film can begin conversations that open doors for all of us to better understand the subtle ways we judge each other and lead to compassionate dialog.  

What’s the best experience you had making this film?  What’s the worst?  Why?
The best experience was working with a team of people that I knew and loved. Discussing these topics, even delicately, is never easy and being surrounded by artists willing to go deep and, in many cases, play roles that are unflattering, was a huge blessing.  I think the worst experience was showing up to one of our locations, that had been confirmed, and being told we weren’t supposed to be there until a certain member of our crew showed up. It just kind of affirmed everything the film brings up. If you’re a man of a certain complexion, even very simple exchanges can be that much harder.

In your opinion, what’s the best film ever made?  The worst?  Why?
I always stand by the Godfather. That is a perfectly made film. The story, the characters, the structure – it stands the test of time over and over again. I don’t know about the worst. As a filmmaker, I really know how hard it is to pull of making a movie and I am able to see the merit in almost anything an artist put their heart into!

RE: a short bio… Tell us about your start in filmmaking.  Who are your heroes?  Did you get your start as an actor? A screenwriter? A grip?
I always wanted to be a filmmaker! I took out a book, while I was living with my grandma in Clarksdale, Mississippi, about how to make a movie and we borrowed the camera from the school she worked at for a weekend. Jurassic Park wasn’t going to make it to Clarksdale on the release date and so I made my own version. In hindsight, the story was much more like LOST, you know, a plane gets trapped on an island…. I have a lot of heroes. Pedro Almodovar has always been a huge one. I’ve been an Innaritu fan for years – I’ve studied all of his films so it’s incredible to see him winning so many awards these days! Scorcese and Spielberg, Steve McQueen, I admire them all a great deal.

Tell us about your connection to Mississippi.  If you don’t have one, why did you choose to enter Crossroads Film Festival?
I spent half of my childhood living in Clarksdale with my grandmother. My mom and aunts and uncles all grew up in Clarksdale and we still gather together at Grandma’s every year or two for the fourth of July. I made my first movie as a boy in Mississippi and my first play produced in New York was based on my experiences growing up there. It is such a part of my history and my story and will always influence my work as an artist.

Tell us about your social media presence:
•    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/demetrius.wren
•    Twitter: @demetriuswren
•    YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/twokidswithacamera
•    Instagram: Demetrius Wren