Sampson McCormick, TJ Martin and Daniel Lindsay discuss new projects.
When his editor came to his house last year to transfer the film they had just made to a computer, Sampson McCormick realized that the whole project had been lost. With a shrug, he and his team came together and were able to take it back. Shortly thereafter he had a finished movie – one that landed on Amazon prime.
Written by McCormick – who is also a longtime actor and comedian performing across the country – “Love whoever you are with” is a dramatic comedy that examines the potential end of a long-term relationship between two black gay men. The two main characters are Miles and Avery, who have been together for six years. “It starts out great, but over time something happens and they can’t really put their finger on it,” McCormick said.
McCormick, who is gay, plays René, who owns a cafe. “He’s the best friend we all have or need who you can confide in with everything, but he’s always ready to let you do whatever you need to do and learn the lessons you need to learn,” McCormick said of the character.
He wrote it last summer and filmed it late last year during the COVID-19 pandemic. “The way we shot this movie was totally illegal,” he laughed. “Fortunately, no one got sick.” He and director Spencer Collins shot it quickly and played down the risks.
McCormick is quite proud of the project. “It’s a movie black homosexuals have been waiting for,” he says. “It’s very relatable. It shows what happens when you are honest in love and what can happen when you stop communicating. On the more positive side, it shows how love can land on your doorstep without you looking for it.
The film explores issues such as monogamy and mental illness, as well as the specific challenges black gay men face in relationships and dating. “I didn’t know we were dating anymore,” he laughs again. “I think people are more afraid to date them. Dating in 2021 is a horror sight, but it’s mostly because so many of us have things to work on that we’re afraid of. There are a lot of different things attached, and you have to put it all together. “
Outside of DC, where he was born, actor / writer / comedian Sampson McCormick calls Atlanta one of his favorite cities. He has performed here on several occasions and was the star of the Positive Impact’s Party event with Impact World AIDS Day last year. Later in 2021, he will appear in the highly anticipated film version of “B-Boy Blues,” directed by Jussie Smollett.
After winning an Oscar for their 2011 documentary, “Undefeated,” filmmakers TJ Martin and Daniel Lindsay are back with the excellent HBO Max presentation of “Tina” about the legendary Tina Turner. The film features all kinds of new footage, as well as an interview with the singer at her home in Switzerland.
Turner had already agreed to make the film (with the producers) when the two were approached. “We were a little hesitant at first,” said Martin. “We didn’t know that two men should be the author of Tina’s story. We’ve been approached before to make high profile celebrity films. In the musical space, we often find that they are looking for a story. It’s usually about leveraging the fame. As we slowly dived in, we started to realize that there was an amazing saga here and we could approach it like a real movie. It turns out that in the center is one of the most iconic artists in the world.
“We thought the documentary form in particular served this story,” Lindsay added. “In all these other stories [about her] there is a kind of separation. It was the opportunity to tell this story in her his own voice.
One thing that surprised filmmakers was Turner’s years in Vegas. After leaving Ike, she scrambled to fend for herself, get food stamps, and clean houses. “But that was the journey of this newcomer to her age, when she took control of her stage presence and the next chapter of her life,” said Martin.
Filmmakers are certainly well aware of what a Turner icon is in the LGBTQ community. “She’s not at face level a gay activist, but she has charted a life for herself in a society that told her she had to be something else,” Lindsay says. “It’s so admirable.
“Love whoever you are with” is now streaming on Amazon Prime
“Tina” is now streaming on HBO Max