‘Blackbird’ Director Patrik-Ian Polk Talks Working with Mo’Nique & the Importance of His Latest Film
Blackbird, set for release in select theaters this Friday, April 24, 2015, is director Patrik-Ian Polk’s latest offering. It is a coming of age story, centered around Randy, a young man living in rural Mississippi who is trying to accept who he is and ultimately live out his truth. The controversial and emotional film appears to be propelling this independent film maker into a more mainstream stratosphere as it stars Academy Award winner Mo’Nique and Isaiah Washington, and introduces us to actor Julian Walker. Ultimately, the film offers an opportunity to support awareness, appreciate acceptance, and applaud equality. Polk remains true to his platform, yet our conversation explores the similarities between us all. Checkout the highlights below.
On the importance of making this film:
“I read the book when I was a freshman in college and it really touched me, so I knew then that I wanted to make it into a movie someday, so it’s a project that I’ve literally been carrying around with me for 25 years, so it was very important for me to make this film.”
On why the book resonates with him:
“Blackbird was the first work of art that I experienced that was told from a black, gay, perspective and it’s a coming of age novel. It’s about a young black boy coming to terms with his sexuality, coming into his own, and those kinds of stories are important, I’ve always felt like that’s a story that needs to be told.”
On working with the cast:
“They were great. Isaiah Washington is my favorite male actor. He is a legend and he’s been doing this for twenty years in countless, amazing movies. He was great to work with. Mo’Nique was great to work with. I also never really thought I would get to work with actors of that caliber, actors with their resumes.”
On awards and accolades:
“Films like mine, independent films, don’t have the backing of deep pocketed studios. I think it is helpful and that kind of recognition is helpful to bring awareness to the project.
On self-doubt and expectations:
“…I think everyone experiences moments of doubt, and it’s just a fact of life, I don’t care how successful you get. And you know, I’m just a struggling independent filmmaker. Filmmaking is in my blood; it’s always what I wanted to do and when you’re that sure of something, to consider it a calling, as opposed to just a career, I think it becomes easier to overcome those fears and doubts because there aren’t any other real options. If something is your calling you can’t end up doing anything else. As an artist I think the mere completion of a project is success. If it’s done, it exists, and on that level it is a success.”
On the biggest lesson the industry has taught him:
“Never take no for an answer. This is an industry in which you will hear no many, many, many, times, so if you’re sensitive to that; if you have thin skin, it is not the business for you. It’s a business built on people saying no and you have to be able to not take that for an answer.”
On what he takes heed to:
“I’ve been doing this for 15 years now and a lot of younger gay men reach out to me and tell me discovering my work helped them with their identity. When I was a teenager I didn’t have stuff like that to inspire me, enlightening me about the gay existence and that inspires me to keep going.”
Up next, he’s shooting a film this summer in Atlanta and developing TV shows, hoping to return to the small screen in the near future! Stay connected with Patrik on Social Media:
Twitter – @PatrikIanPolk
Instagram – @patrikianpolk
Be sure to catch Blackbird in select theaters THIS Friday!
Check out the trailer!