Anthony J. Davis: Bringing Awareness to Cultural Appropriation Through Film

Anthony J. Davis is an indie producer and assistant production accountant. Davis has worked with some of the biggest stars and directors in film and TV, while also showing the drive and determination to achieve increasing levels of success and responsibility. He has worked on several major film productions with budgets ranging from $70 million-$400 million as an assistant accountant, including LOVECRAFT COUNTRY, ANT-MAN, CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, and IRONHEART. Davis has also produced the award-winning indie film ALOHA, CONTAMINATION, and his most recent film, YOGURT RAISIN.


Coffea magazine wanted to know more about where his drive came from, and what motivated him to dive into the competitive industry of film so we asked him a few questions.





Coffea

What attracted you to the film industry?


Davis

The creativity and flexibility attracted me to the film industry. Working in this industry, you get to work with some amazing people and share your ideas that could possibly end up on the big screen. You also have the opportunity to work in an industry as an independent freelancer. I choose which projects I want to work on and how long I want to take a break before starting a new film production. This industry is not for everyone. You will work grueling long hours (12 upward to 15 hrs/day). You have to be very passionate about the film industry to put in the work that it takes to bring a story to life.



A lot of people think that it’s easy to write and produce. A film takes a lot of preparation and prepping a film can go anywhere from three to six months before even starting principal photography.

Coffea

What do you feel are some misconceptions when it comes to producing and completing a project?


Davis

I would say writing and producing a project. A lot of people think that it’s easy to write and produce. A film takes a lot of preparation and prepping a film can go anywhere from three to six months before even starting principal photography. Principal photography on a short film can last from two days to a couple of weeks depending on the length of the film while post-production can be another 3-5 months before your project is complete. Stress is also a factor that can be a deterrent to first-time filmmakers due -the stress of ( writing a solid storyline/script, attaching the right actors to your film, hiring the right director that will take your vision from script to screen, hiring a great shooting crew and financing your project. )Before you can begin shooting, you must have all the funding for your film, and some first-time filmmakers don’t have the access to secure all the funding that’s needed. To produce a short film, you are looking to spend $20,000-$50,000. For feature films, the average cost to produce is $70 million -200 million dollars.


Coffea

Who are some of your inspirations in film and why?


Davis

Will Packer has inspired me through my film production journey. Will has been an inspiration to me from the first time I worked for him on Stomp The Yard 2 as a Set PA. I’ve followed Will’s journey from his indie project Chocolate City to the conception of his production company Rain Forest Films and witnessed him being one of Hollywood’s go-to African American producers. Will is a very humble man and that is a great characteristic to have in this industry.


Coffea

How should one go about gaining experience in the entertainment field? Did you have a mentor?


Davis

I would say that most jobs in the film industry are by word of mouth so you would need to tap into your community film network, check out some Facebook groups dedicated to the film industry, and if you know anyone in your personal network, reach out to them. Interning for a film production company is a great way to gain valuable experience. I had a mentor when I first started out in the film industry and he provided me with some good insight and advice which helped me land my first job interning on a feature film as a Set PA in 2009. (Stomp The Yard 2)




Coffea

What was the first film you ever produced? Tell us a little bit about it.


Davis

The very first film that I produced was the 2013 award-winning short film 'Contamination', which tells the story of a woman imprisoned in her own home that is battling severe obsessive-compulsive disorder brought on by paralyzing germaphobia.


Coffea

When did you decide to create your film, Yogurt Raisin?


Davis

Yogurt Raisin is loosely based on me and my still to today five Caucasian childhood male friends that wholeheartedly embrace African American culture. They love hip hop starting from the origin of the genre to even black women; so in 2014, I wondered what would happen if my childhood friends were ever put in a negative situation that sometimes we as African Americans are put in, would they still embrace my culture or would they turn their backs. This started the conception of creating a storyline for Yogurt Raisin.


Coffea

What have you learned from your experiences with this film (Yogurt Raisin)?


Davis

Being patient! It takes time to produce a great film. From development to principal photography you have to make sure you have the funding secured, your shooting crew locked down, and cast actors who play well-defined characters. You also have to roll with the punches when certain unknown situations arise and be able to handle them under pressure.


From previously interviewing Davis and the cast of Yogurt Raisin we reported this about the inspiration behind the film:

Davis mentions that his close childhood friends get together and take a "man's trip" every year. He realized without even noticing that his friends embraced the African-American culture with no disrespect or malice no matter their differences in ethnicity. However, he often wondered if they found themselves in a negative situation regarding the African-American culture, would the love still be there.


Cultural appropriation has been a major topic of debate and seems to only be defined through the perception of someone involved in a particular situation. The men agreed that respect and empathy are important parts of educating the other party no matter what takes place. We agree that communication is required, and conversations encouraging understanding between brothers or even total strangers are a healthy way to start.


Coffea

What has changed over the years that have made things easier or not difficult to become a producer?


Davis

I would say advanced digital technology has made it easier over the years to become a producer. From production to post, the technology put to get her to now make shots in scenes look better. Also, I would have to say cutting-edge special effects have played an important role in production in film production.


Don't forget to follow and view Anthony Davis's most recent film.

IG: @atl_gemini

www.yogurtraisin.com

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