Xavier Clark is the writer and director of "Black People Don't Tango;" a short film loosely adapted from his short story of the same name. He is a graduate of the University of Georgia with professional experience in real estate, finance, and hospitality and is currently pursuing his juris doctorate. Creatively, Xavier hopes to option his feature-length screenplay for "Black People Don't Tango" and to work on additional projects in the future as a writer-director."
Could you briefly describe your project for our audience?
"Black People Don't Tango" is the story of a man stepping completely out of his comfort zone to hit an invisible target, partially due to perfectionism, but primarily flavored by their love of someone.
What were your main aspirations or goals when creating this project?
Because we have a feature film version of this story I was convinced by my producer to do a short film as a proof of concept.
Share some memorable moments from the shooting process or any pleasant surprises.
"Black People Don't Tango" was my first film, so naturally I learned a tremendous amount about shooting films; I'm super jealous of people that go to film school. Pretty much every second was memorable because it was my first film. Setting up a dance floor in "Argentina" was particularly memorable. But I think it would surprise most people to find out how much preparation and work goes into even what at first glance seems like a simple shot in a scene. The lighting, cadence of the scene, little details about what's happening can completely change the shot.
Who is the primary target audience for your film, and what do you hope they will take away from it?
The main goal of the film has always been about upending stereotypes and piquing attention in a very subtle, almost innocuous way. But once that happens, I really hope people laugh when they watch the film! When it's over though I hope that people take away a positive message about the role of determination and passion in achieving goals and how the people around you influence your world.
What makes your project an appealing choice for potential distributors?
I think the story is unique with its presentation of characters but also sort of an "old school" feel-good comedy that I don't think exists too much anymore. I think a lot of comedies try to either shock people with vulgarity, or ask the audience to accept a cascade of really loud, extreme, absurd situations. Sometimes it works but today I personally believe it often feels forced. I think this film can be expanded a lot. At its core it has a basic premise but opens up a world of possibilities. Even though the story has a somewhat unique goal for the main character, I've been told that the story is very relatable.
How would you define your unique filmmaking style, and what distinct qualities characterize your film?
Too early to really say. But any project that I pursue has an element of relatable but exceptional people with exceptional but relatable goals. I also like an explosive impetus into the protagonist's journey.
What inspired you to pursue a career in filmmaking?
I love the idea of being a storyteller. That's why I am completing law school right now
Do you have a filmmaker or source of inspiration who has influenced your work?
I certainly have several favorite directors (no particular order, and definitely non-exhaustive): Guy Ritchie, Michael Mann, Spike Lee, Christopher Nolan, Dennis Villenue, Will Packer, Oliver Stone, Scorsese, Soderbergh, Baz.
Share a couple of your favorite films and what resonates with you about them.
Way too many, but see above directors. Good cinematography, strong setting; they go a long way with me.
Where do you typically find inspiration for your film projects?
Writing down stories from my everyday life