#BonfireStories — Introducing Filmmaker and producer Shawn Antoine II

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Shawn Antoine I Photo Credit: Christopher Zapata

  1. When it comes to storytelling, where do you get your inspiration from?

When it comes to story telling I get my inspiration from my environment and history. I am from Harlem, NY the only place in the world where every street is named after a black historical icon. Harlem World continues to inspire me through the various stories from the past to the untold stories of today. I want to create content that not only inspires but also informs.

2. How does “show-time” reflect your personal experience growing up in NYC?

Like many people in NYC I am one who aspires to do great things in life. NYC is the busiest city in the world and there are many opportunities to get lost in these streets. Showtime follows Darius and Hakeem and there trials and tribulations once they leave the train. I know many people who turned down some amazing opportunities because they couldn’t move past the street life. Then there were those who were able persevere through everything. Showtime speaks to my experience and the many others who have had to make a decision about their future.

3. We notice the film is based on actual events. How did your experiences both personal and professional inform what you do now?

My 13 year experience playing football has helped mold me into a director. Being apart of a large diverse team having to work through adversity to achieve a goal is one of the many things football teaches. When I am on set working with people from from all over it is important I am a good leader and that I make sure everyone is comfortable so that we ca achieve our goal of making a film. Playing football and filmmaking are very similar and have allowed me to make a comfortable transition.

4. Tell us about being vulnerable in your work? Do you think there’s a line?

For me personally their is a line between being vulnerable in your work. As a filmmaker and more specifically as an artist your work is a reflection of you and your experiences. I choose to tell stories that I can relate too and that the audience can also relate to. I have seen films where it is clear what the agenda was and the it was very personal and for me as a viewer I didn’t enjoy those as much. I do think there is a point where it can be too much of you and not enough of the actual story.

5. What kind of world do you want to see now that your film “Showtime” is made? (For clarification) We know that there is a message you as a filmmaker are conveying to your audience, what is that message?

The message that I want to convey to audiences when they see Showtime is that we see people and don’t know their stories. Specifically in Showtime, millions have people have seen these kids dance on the train but who are they once they leave the train and go back to their environment. Most of the problems and decisions these kids face are things that people have gone through or will go through at some point.

6. What would you say is your unique responsibility as a filmmaker?

My responsibility as a filmmaker is to tell stories that inform and inspire. The time where other people told the black stories are done. Its time that I reclaim our narrative and tell it from within our world rather than outsiders attempting to tell it.

How can others reach out to you and/or stay informed about your upcoming projects?

People can follow me @shawnantoineii on all social media platforms.

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