Romane Antoine Simon is the author of the best-selling novel ‘Red To Black (The Power Of Love)’ and also a young filmmaker and producer.
Grandson of Haiti former president, Simon was determined to one day be able to create his own screen stories, painting images that he hungered for the world to know about.
Simon finally arrived in Hollywood and quickly made himself known among others who shared a similar passion for film which resulted in a new world of cinematic magic. His dream took root and before he knew it, he was yelling “ACTION!” and his filmmaking dance began.
Simon has had opportunities to work with some of the biggest names in Hollywood. A few years ago, he directed a number of short and feature films showing the industry his true artistic power and passion for story-telling.
A recent feature from Simon to make a lot of noise was the 2019 “I Am Not For Sale: The Fight To End Human Trafficking” – a movie starring Emmy Award Winner Judi Evans, Sean Faris, Golden Globe nominee Tom Sizemore and Denise Milfort, that exposes the horror of the human sex trafficking industry in a way that Simon hopes will compel movie goers to work to help end this travesty.
Simon is also known for movies such as “Hybristophilia” starring Quinton Aaron from “The Blind Side” movie with Sandra Bullock; “Blood Runs Thick” starring two famous soap stars Matthew Ashford and Judi Evans; “Dream I Never Had” starring Malcom McDowell and Robin Givens; “The Downside Of Bliss” starring Eric Roberts and Judd Nelson from “The Breakfast Club”; “Street Dreams Los Angeles” starring Grammy winner Eric Bellinger, and Lester Speight; and “Life Of Gia” based on a true story just to name a few.
As well as his work as a screenplay writer and producer, Simon also currently works as an actor, fight choreographer, stuntman, dancer, and even model.
Greek City Times entertainment journalist Vassilios Nicolaos Vitsilogiannis speaks with Romane Antoine Simon in an exclusive interview to learn more.
V.N.V.: Can you begin by explaining how you became involved in the film industry?
R.A.S.: Growing up in Haiti around political unrest I wanted to do something different, I wanted to entertain people and tell important stories through moving pictures. So, I made the move to Hollywood but I was at the ‘wrong Hollywood’, I was in Hollywood, Florida. I didn’t know. [Laughs]. But eventually I made my way to Hollywood, California, 12 years ago.
V.N.V.: What are the challenges and difficulties you face starting a new film project?
R.A.S.: First being an indie filmmaker is not easy because you are pretty much shooting movies out of your pocket and finding good people to work with is not easy. But you’ve got to keep going.
V.N.V.: What is your directing style and how do you approach each film?
R.A.S.: I would say like Quentin Tarantino my favourite director, I am more of an actor’s director.
V.N.V.: How involved are you in the pre-production and post-production process?
R.A.S.: I am very involved specially in casting, location scouting, I don’t like to just sit behind the desk, I like to get my hands dirty at the end of the day, I know my vision best.
V.N.V.: What are those principles on hand when you choose your star cast?
R.A.S.: I have had the chance to work with some big-name talents, but to me this doesn’t matter as long as you have the drive and you are passionate about your craft and directive ability.
V.N.V.: Are you a politically active citizen with a voice to speak out, due to the fact that your grandfather was the former President of Haiti or this didn’t influence you at all?
R.A.S.: It affected me, in all aspect, as a child. I saw people die in front of me. I didn’t care about politics but the people, the kids at school, I wanted to change everything around me. We want a change.
V.N.V.: If an actor is unprofessional, how do you manage that?
R.A.S.: I am not the type to yell or go at it with someone, you just will never be on my set again. Everyone is treated like family and I expect you to treat others with respect.
V.N.V.: Do mistakes happen during the shooting and how do you rectify them?
R.A.S.: Oh yes! All the time things happen you can’t stop this. I remember when shooting my film “I Am Not For Sale: the Fight to End Human Trafficking” I lost the leading actor days before shooting this new film, but you just have to think of the next plan and move forward.
V.N.V.: Do you think the film making industry is losing momentum or gaining power due to the new era of online streaming for films?
R.A.S.: In a way, I will say things are changing drastically. Now is good time for coloured people and women to make their mark, also indie filmmakers. Now your film doesn’t have to be in theatre to make it, it can be online Netflix, Hulu, and other rising platform. So, keep on.
V.N.V.: What are the toughest aspects of making a film today?
R.A.S.: It’s always been finding investors and of course a great team. But we’re making it happen here at Lucky Strike Films.
V.N.V.: One of your recent TV series is “French Connection”. What is the plot and why should someone watch it?
R.A.S.: ‘French Connection’ is an easy fun mini series to watch. A lot of action, a lot of excitement, based on a man who makes so many enemies that he cannot be at peace, as everyone is out hunting for him.
V.N.V.: What kind of films do you like to direct and watch?
R.A.S.: Like action and horror films, I also love telling quality story that can help be a voice for the voiceless.
V.N.V.: Who are your favourite filmmakers?
R.A.S.: Hmm it’s a lot of them. I like Tyler Perry, his story says that dreams do come true. I like Quentin Tarantino for his rawness, one of my favourite film-makers.
V.N.V.: What would you say to your fans?
R.A.S.: I would say to follow your dreams, don’t give up because you don’t know what tomorrow brings.
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