Filmmakers Garrick Wade and Justin D. Jenkins created their company, Cre8tiveTribe Media, in 2017 after facing the hardships of Hollywood. Now, after four years in the game, the award-winning filmmakers recently got their short film placed on Amazon Prime, but admits this has been one of the hardest years in the industry.
Bayou Beat News got a chance to speak with the young millenials, who shared the ups and downs of the business and how COVID-19 has impacted independent filmmakers in the U.S.
BB: What led you to start your own film company?
Justin: In 2017, we had a conversation about having to make our own lane after some projects did not go the way we wanted them to go. Hollywood has not been kind to marginalized folk. Once we finished that conversation, it was a snowball effect, and Cre8tiveTribe Media was born.
BB: How did you get your start as a filmmaker?
Justin: Both of us enjoyed film growing up. When we first met, we discussed our imagination and being young with nowhere to put it.
Garrick: For me, for as long as I can remember, as a kid, I always watched films and critiqued them based on how I would have done it differently. No matter how great the movie was, there was something I wanted to change.
BB: What awards have you won?
Justin: Garrick directed our award-winning short film “Ghosted,” which won the 2019 AT&T Create-a-thon short film competition. “The Reading“ has won the Audience Award at Luminal Theater’s 2020 Black Filmmaker showcase; Best Short and Best Cinematography at the 2020 People’s Film Festival.
BB: “The Reading” was recently added to Amazon Prime. How did manage to secure that during the pandemic?
Justin: We shot “The Reading” prior to the pandemic but It has been an amazing journey creating our other projects during this time. The independent scene is tough, but we understood that going in. That’s why we call the people we work with, our “Tribe.” And we really had to lean on each other this year. As a tribe, we are always networking and building those relationships so securing the Amazon deal was more about timing more than anything. We received the opportunity to submit and we took it. More people are at home watching television so these streaming services are having to turn out content faster. Independent projects that may have been overlooked before are now being greenlighted.
BB: Why do you think “The Reading” has gotten such a great response from fans and the independent film community?
Garrick: I think it is being received so well because we made sure that the audience didn’t become numb while watching this film. We wrote it to be heavy and dark, so we knew that we would have to rely heavily on the cast and the range of the characters. It took tremendous strength, versatility, and commitment for these characters to be portrayed.
This was a story that was important to tell and we wanted to make sure it was told and directed from a place of conviction. We live in a world where belief separates us; especially religious and spiritual beliefs. The struggle that the lead character, Celeste, has is one that many mothers face daily; the struggle of taking care of home and family, not feeling appreciated, and feeling like your faith is letting you down. When Celeste is at her wit’s end with her faith, she puts other beliefs to the test in order to save her son’s life at any cost.’
One of the things we felt strongly about in the making of “The Reading” is that we wanted this film to have a strong presence of women coming together to help one another. As you watch the film, you become invested in the relationships and how they intertwine. We made a point to really showcase that secret bond amongst women and as you get into the film, you really see it here.
BB: What upcoming projects are you working on?
Garrick: We are working on a couple of short films and Season 2 of our hit YouTube series, “Remembering Wednesday.“