Contrastive filmmaker on a mission

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Producer, writer and director of multi award winning movie 'David Is Dying' is on another tour de force film making assignment and he's got a thing or two to say.

July 2012 sees the official release of UK indie film David is Dying. The film was accepted into over 21 festivals to international acclaim, scooping Seven International Film Awards with Writer, Director and Producer, Stephen Lloyd Jackson awarded for Best Director at the 2011 American Black Film Festival, Best Screenplay at the 2011 New Wave Los Angeles International Film Festival and honored as a ‘Focus on Filmmakers Honoree’ at the 36th Cleveland International Film Festival.

Yet despite all of the red-carpet glamour and success of his second feature film Jackson states ‘he’s not one of these filmmakers that are just excited because his films out there. He’s a filmmaker, and he’s also an astute businessman, so he doesn’t want to just give his film away’. Jackson refused impressive offers for the film based on this principle and nobly decided to opt for self-distribution. He has recently set up SAR movie channel, an innovative and creative platform for independent film distribution online.

Since the release of Jackson’s first feature film Rulers and Dealers starring Freema Agyeman [Dr Who, Law & Order] and Terence Anderson [Road to Damascus] in 2006, Stephen Lloyd Jackson has been working tirelessly towards launching his gritty trilogy, beginning with a bang - that is, David is Dying. This dark psychological thriller tackles issues of consuming love and ego, inspired by 5th century Sophocles’ classic Greek tragedy, “Oedipus the King,”and Salvador Dali painting ‘The Narcissist’. Regarding the feedback for David is Dying, Jackson remarks, ‘He doesn’t expect everybody to like his work or to relax with this subject matter. As a matter of fact, he would rather people feel uncomfortable with it or debate it because filmmaking can be very hard work. It guzzles a great chunk of your life. So for people to watch it and just say ‘That was nice’ is not inspiring.

Weeks away from the dvd release of this groundbreaking movie, Jackson is already well into pre-production on the sequel: Sable Fable, a feature film being shot in London this Summer and released next year. Sable Fable is a beautiful story exploring the complex psychology of love, sex and ethnicity through three very different couples whose lives intertwine with one another through a series of unfortunate events. Needless to say Stephen Lloyd Jackson is fervent in his vision to expand the face of Black British cinema as a genre much greater than ‘urban’.

SAR productions was established several years ago by Jackson to depict beautiful stories of the Black British experience, bringing people of the African Diaspora living and working in London to the forefront of the silver screen – And all of this told within the ever-so delicate context of sex and race. “SAR is an abbreviation for Sex And Race, three volumes of books written by the Jamaican historian, J.A. Rogers.”

With this ethos, Jackson is particularly vocal about representation of black people in London and who makes these decisions. In a recent interview, he says ‘Here in Britain, black people don't own their own film companies or music companies...they solely rely on the white financiers backing their projects. Usually the financiers don't feel comfortable seeing pure black faces in their movies, in their soaps, so they always try to balance it out. The European version of a black person, even if a person is half-black and half white, they would still say that is a fully black person. They would rather work with that than work with a dark skin black person.’

The balance of deep sociological exploration within Jackson’s films and the emphasis on many issues disregarded as taboo in the black and wider community, complimented with the edgy, artistic flair, this outstanding multi-award winning British Director is certainly carving out a new direction for Black British cinema. Jackson explains: He does not bow down to the UK industry’s modus operandi.

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