After successful premieres in 2008 at gay film festivals in Philadelphia, San Diego and Washington DC, with his independently produced debut film Finding Me, gay filmmaker Roger Omeus Jr. hopes that lightening will strike again. Inspired by E. Lynn Harris’ Invisible Life, Finding Me is a romantic dramedy whose central theme is acceptance; it follows the lives of four young, hip, African Americans including lead character, Faybien Allen’s (RayMartell Moore) journey of self discovery which brings him to the acknowledgement that he is gay. Omeus originally wrote the film in book format in 1997 but shelved the project for a full decade. Then his inner muse was awakened by friends who were photographers and other “creative type” co-workers and he decided to turn Finding Me, the book into Finding Me, the screenplay.
Omeus promises the movie will “bring more excitement, twists and turns,” he said. I spoke with him as he was preparing to release the trailer for the second film Finding Me: Truth, here’s what he had to say:
PRIDEINDEX: What factors contributed to your decision to produce Finding Me?
ROGER OMEUS: I really felt like I had to do it. After shooting the first Finding Me and screening it at the One In Ten Film Fest in DC; I began writing the screen play for the second film. I felt that as a SGL brother I had a responsibility to tell good SGL stories. I’ve learned from all the mistakes from the first movie.
PI: Will Finding Me: Truth pick up where the first installment left off? Will the main characters be reunited?
RO: Truth takes place one year after the first film left off. The four main characters from the first film; Faybien, Greg, Amera and Jay will return. The second film has a much faster pace, there’s more excitement, and many unexpected twists and turns. Our story is not only a gay story; it also deals with everyday people. Truth is about relationships no matter whether they are straight, gay, or bi.
PI: Do you believe LGBT filmmakers have an obligation to the gay community? Why or why not?
RO: I want to say NO, but obligation depends on the individual. Just because you happen to be LBGT doesn’t mean that you need to walk around all the time saying, “Hey I am a homosexual” and show it in everything you do. Just because Finding Me has lead characters that are gay does not mean that my next project will have lead characters that are gay.
PI: Please describe your current or most recent project. Include a brief overview, your motivation for the project, and any notable challenges you encountered.
RO: I am in the beginning stages of writing Finding Me: The Series. I know that it will be a great series and there will be challenges. If we want to see Finding Me or the DL Chronicles or other series like them, our stories need to be good.
PI: Has the series been picked up, if so by whom?
RO: Currently there are no deals with LOGO, HERE or GLO TV Network, yet.
PI: And speaking of LOGO, tell us about your petition to have the film added to their schedule.
RO: We have recently started a viral campaign to persuade LOGO to air our first film. I would like to ask your assistance by contacting LOGO on twitter or on their website. If you are able to do this it would be greatly appreciated. Go to LOGOtv.com, click on ABOUT LOGO, click on CONTACT LOGO, and make your “SUBMISSION/ACQUISITIONS,” your topic. Fill in your information, copy and paste the text below, or add your own! I see Brother to Brother is on LOGO, Finding Me is another great African-American LGBT film. How can we see Finding Me on LOGO?”
The twitter info is: tweet us a question @LogoTV
PI: What is your earliest memory of wanting to be a filmmaker? Tell us about your first film, when was it produced?
RO: I wrote a play when I was in the fourth grade, it was a soap opera. I will not reveal details, just in case I’d like to write about it again in the near future.
PI: Where did you receive your formalized training as a filmmaker?
RO: I have never been formally trained as a filmmaker.
PI: How do you identify and nurture ideas for new projects?
RO: They live in my head. The suspense thriller I am planning to write came to me in a dream. I woke up and I wrote down everything. The character, Faybien from Finding Me first came to me back in 1997. When I begin to write I would image how he spoke, and how he talked to me before my fingers started to write.
PI: Have you ever considered writing a book?
RO: I have toyed with the idea of a book; I am inspired by Science Fiction and the writings by Octavia Butler. I love the power that books have over your mind. Books are much underrated.
PI: Please describe 1-3 filmmakers and writers that have influenced your artistic style?
RO: My filmmakers are Theodore Witcher from Love Jones and Russell T. Davis of Dr. Who. And Malcolm D. Lee from The Best Man. My writers are E. Lynn Harris, Octavia Butler and Ralph Ellison
PI: What 2 films and 2 CDs should everyone own?
RO: 2 Films: Roots, although it made me mad in a good way for its historical nature and Love Jones.
2 CDs: Chaka Khan’s Epiphany and Donnie’s, The Color Section.
PI: How did you select the music for Finding Me?
RO: Artist were asked to submit songs, I also took suggestions. There was Nhojj who submitted two tracks, Quiet Chaos, who makes house beats and one of the biggest was k’bana blaq (introduced by J’Nara Corbin who plays Amera in the film.)
PI: What is the biggest misconception about you and/or your work?
RO: That I am a mean person. I will admit to having a dark sense of humor.
PI: How come the scenes with Jonathan Plummer end up on the cutting room floor?
RO: The scene was removed due to time constraints, after we screened the film in DC; several people suggested that the film was just too long.
PI: What advice would you give aspiring filmmakers?
RO: Have tenacity, gumption and determination and put your heart into your work.
To view the official trailer for Finding Me: Truth click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXN0Y4R7P6E
For more information on Finding Me: Truth, click here: https://www.findingmetruth.wordpress.com