It’s no secret that films that tell stories about people of color have a hard time getting made. Seasoned Oscar-nominated directors like John Singleton, Spike Lee and Gregory Nava have a hard enough time finding investors to back their films, so when Dee Rees decided she wanted to tell a coming of age story about a young, black lesbian, she couldn’t go the traditional route and went as far selling her Brooklyn apartment to raise funds.
“We knew that if we could just get the film done, that regardless of sexuality, race and identity, people would be able to see themselves in different parts of the story,” Rees told Colorlines.com last month, as she awaited the release of her feature directorial debut “Pariah.”
“We’d go to pitch meetings and the moment we said ‘black, lesbian, coming of age,’ they would turn around, validate our parking and hand us a bottle of water.”
Actress Kim Wayans, best known for her comedic performances on “In Living Color” says she was aware of how powerful this film could potentially be. She said while they were filming, there was a string of young gay teen suicides.
“I was moved by the entire project,” says Wayans. “It was so beautiful, so powerful and so relevant given all that’s been going on with kids committing suicide because they don’t have a safe place to go.”
The actress said she wants to continue doing serious roles like the character she plays in “Pariah” but says she wants to go back and forth between comedies and dramas, “similar to Whoopi Goldberg and Robin Williams.”
Watch above as Dee Rees and Kim Wayans discuss “Pariah” with Cololrlines.com and talk about the importance of having directors of color in Hollywood.