Gina Prince-Bythewood

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As an audience member, if I go to a film, and I am watching two actors, and they're kissing, and it looks like they don't even want to be kissing, it just takes me out of the film.
'Beyond the Lights' took incredible fight to get made. Four years of writing and two years of overcoming 'no.' Every studio balked. Twice. But I kept fighting. What gave me the courage was 'Love & Basketball.' Every studio turned down that film, too. But I never gave up because I believed in it with my whole heart and soul. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
'Beyond the Lights' was my fourth film. I gained a lot of knowledge, and I'm excited to share that with young filmmakers because I know how lost I was coming out of film school with that question of 'What's next?' Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
'Black film,' that term allows studios to just marginalize a movie and say, 'We've made our black film. We've made our film with people of color in it,' as opposed to, 'I just feel like people of color should be in every genre.'
Everything I've written has been personal and touched on things that I needed to deal with in my personal life. So I just feel that writing is great therapy, and the best writing comes from truth, and so I mine my life constantly for that. Truth ;Life
Films really can change a conversation and change someone's thinking and perception, especially with people of color at the center. It rarely happens. I think it's important for both the community but also the world to see people of color in all genres, especially love stories. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
I don't want people to go to a film of mine because they feel guilty, like, 'I have to support it because there's black folks in there.' I want them to go because it's a good movie.
I grew up with white parents, and until after college, it was a lot of confusion, especially because I grew up in an all-white area. So I never looked around and saw anyone who looked like me.
I hate to fly. I'm deathly afraid of it.
I just remember when I came out of film school - and I loved film school - that the industry was such a mystery. How to break in, and once you are in, how to make a film; that is such a large undertaking. There are thousands of pitfalls.
I love movies. And I dig a great love story: the kind that wrecks me, then builds me back up and leaves me inspired. I write what I want to see. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
I love writing and directing because it's great therapy. Every project I've done, there's been a personal connection. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
I remember sitting in the theater watching 'Bridesmaids,' and I'm doubled over laughing, and then I'm crying in the same movie. It's the overwhelming feeling, as I'm looking up and seeing these women, and I'm realizing how rare it is to see that. Women
I was adopted by a Salvadorian mother and a white father. Growing up having complete identity crisis. Then my search for my mother and trying to find out why I was given up, and how could a mother give up a child, then finding out the circumstances of my birth was pretty traumatizing.
I was adopted by two amazing people: a Salvadoran mother and a white father who were incredibly supportive of me and my work. I am eternally grateful for them. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
I write to music, and Nina Simone is always on my playlist to write to. I mean, she's inspiring. She's truthful and real and raw. Music, Chants & Rapps
If I get a note on my script or my films, what I say to a studio executive is that, 'You know, this is the film of my legacy, and I never want to be sitting in a theater looking up on the screen and seeing something that I don't believe in.' I will never do that.
Improv is a very big thing for me. The thing with actors is I do not understand at all how they do what they do. I'm fascinated by it, and I have such a respect for it. Respect
Movies have power. Power to impact society and the choices we make. I want to entertain, but I also want to say something to the world. Society ;Power ;Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
My husband and I are writers, and I wish I could write faster. There are not a lot of movies made with black actors in mind. Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
Oh my God, I love UCLA so much. Their film school is great because it's unstructured, so there's a freedom to fail in there and just tell your story, and everybody makes a film. It's so important to have that freedom in film school because that's what you're there for: to learn and make a film. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Religion & God ;Freedom & Liberty
On my set, people have to respect the actor's process. I totally respect what actors do. I give them whatever time they need, and I never scream out directions from the camera. I take the time to walk up to them and talk to them personally. Time ;Respect
'Out of Sight' is one of my favorite films ever. Love Steven Soderbergh. 'Goodfellas' was a huge influence on me in terms of the use of camera. 'Black Orpheus,' a beautiful love story that very few people actually have seen, and that was an influence on 'Beyond the Lights,' too, in terms of the look of the film. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
Some of my favorite films are musicals, like 'Walk the Line,' 'The Rose' and 'Lady Sings the Blues.' I just love the way the music and the story fuel each other. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Music, Chants & Rapps
Talent has no gender. People are hiring young male directors right out of film school, off of a student film or off of a film at Sundance for millions of dollars. You can do the same with a female. It's not a risk about the work if you respect the film that they made. Respect ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
The thing is I write to music, so every script I have has its own playlist. Music just opens me up to the emotions that I'm writing. It's just a pretty cool thing. Music, Chants & Rapps
There are a lot of aspects of filmmaking that I love, but one of my favorites is in post, finding the right song for the right moment. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
There are so many romantic comedies made, but very few dramas or love stories. And with a love story, you have to take time to develop three-dimensional characters. Time ;Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Romantic
There is a blueprint that young female singers seem to follow to make it, to make some noise when they first come out. And it's a hyper-sexualized persona. And the thing is that it works. And they do make noise. But the problem is if it's not authentic to you, then you're trapped in that persona. And you have to live that persona 24/7.
There is a perception within our community and the world that black people don't love each other. That we don't fight for each other. That perception is so dangerous. We need positive images to counter the negative portrayals we see every day. And positive doesn't mean perfect. Perfect is boring. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
There's a great deal of women in film school. I was not the only woman in my class at UCLA. When I went through the Sundance program, it was half women and half men. Women
Twitter and social media have so changed the game for filmmakers, but especially for artists. It shrinks the world and gives chance to feel like they know you. But it's a blessing and a curse. It can help build you up, but there's also such anonymity.
When 'The Cosby Show' came out, and everyone was up in arms about 'The Cosby Show' and that it was reflecting a world that didn't exist - but I knew black doctors. And I knew black lawyers. And I knew families that, you know, had a mother and a father and kids that were well-behaved.
With 'Love & Basketball,' I played ball my whole life and did track at UCLA. So, I'm an athlete. And it was very important for me to get it right. I started with casting: As an athlete, there's nothing worse for me than watching a sports movie and the woman that they hire can't run or can't shoot. It sets women's sports back years. Life ;Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Women
With 'Love And Basketball,' every studio turned it down. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex