Melissa: Thanks for being here today.
Bryian: Thank you for having me!
Melissa: Yeah, of course! First I want to ask, what made you want to make a movie about police brutality? Do you have a personal reason for making this film?
Bryian: Um, ever since I was a kid, um, I’ve kind of had this sort of a fear of police, being a black man. Uh when I was younger, when I was a child, I had a cousin who stole a car, and he was murdered by the police and he was unarmed, and it was one of those things that always stuck with me that at any moment the police could, uh because they have more power than me, they could, um, they could, hurt me. And that’s a sad thing when you see police officers constantly driving around and you think, that’s someone who’s stronger than me, that’s someone who could take me down so therefore I have to, um, I have to...what’s the word I’m thinking of...therefore I have to be in fear of them whenever I walk by. And I wanted to talk about that fear in our movie.
Melissa: As for Amelia, how does she fit into this film? You cast her, a Deaf actress-- how did that start? I’d like to know.
Bryian: Originally when I was casting this movie, I was gonna, I was casting this role that was a deaf person in a film, and I was going to use someone who wasn’t deaf. And that- and that was something I didn’t know was a big no no, I was casting around I was looking for the perfect actress, and I found this girl who I worked with before and I said hey, um, would you- would you play this role? And she said Brian I love the script, I’d love to do it but I can’t take this role. And I said, why not? And she says I can’t play a deaf actress. That’s wrong. It’s like a white person playing a black person. And I said, really?! Is that a thing? And she says absolutely, th-the Deaf community is completely against that, and if you’re going to have a deaf person in your film, they need to be a deaf person! And so I went, okay, and then I went on my hunt, and then I found Amelia, [name sign] [laughter] she was a pleasure to work with and it was just um, I couldn’t- I couldn’t have found a better actress to play the role.
Amelia: Thank you.
Melissa: What are your thoughts on him casting a Deaf actor, you?
Amelia: You know, sometimes, they would just ignore this choice, but he really accepted one person’s advice and took it. And to be a part of a film of a larger controversy and debate, that’s a big deal, it’s a big honor for me to be a part of that, as well. It’s powerful to mix disabilities with people of color in stories, and that makes it more beautiful.
Melissa: Give me an example of when you realized when authentic representation is crucial.
Amelia: I’m the best actress!
Bryian: Yeah, she-- uh-- she’s the best for it!
Bryian: Um, so, there are, three characters in the movie other than the police. Two are black, and then one is a deaf actress [gestures to Amelia]. And um, it was important to me to have an outsider’s viewpoint within the movie of what was going on.
[High pitched ringing]
Bryian: And I wanted somebody who didn’t have a “voice”, but actually had a voice metaphorically speaking. And that someone who could do something, and could speak out, but had to uh, had to take action in a different way, which you find out in the film once you watch it.
Melissa: You have anything to add to that?
Amelia: This is where my character comes in. I do feel an internal conflict where I don’t have the ability to speak out because they don’t understand my language. That conflict leads me to feel that I am unable to save someone’s life. That really got to me. Like, what do I do? It adds to the layers that I’m building.
Melissa: How can people watch it?
Bryian: Well, on December 20th, we’re going to be releasing it on Vimeo, you can go to www.althorror.com/chickens, to see the film on Wednesday, December 20th, and you’re gonna love it.
Bryian: I’m very happy to have put a member of the Deaf community, and it was a wonderful experience, and I can’t wait for you guys to see the movie, it’s gonna be great.
Amelia: I hope this isn’t the last thing you’re writing for a Deaf character!
Guy: It- it will not be!
Amelia: Thank you!!