1. When it comes to storytelling, where do you get your inspiration from?
It’s tough to explain inspiration because my inspiration comes from all sorts of places — I mean, my short film I Phub You was literally inspired by a group of teenagers glued to their phones while sitting at a table inside of a Starbucks. I think for me a lot of it comes from my own personal experiences and just keeping my eyes and ears open to the world around me.
2. What is the toughest challenge you’ve faced so far?
The toughest challenge I’ve faced so far in my career is getting my scripts in the hands of producers. Nobody is going to come to your door and ask for your screenplay. You have to keep putting yourself out there and continue working hard. It’s a challenge but it’s definitely one I welcome.
3. What kind of world do you want to see now that your film “Black and blue” is made? (For clarification) We know that there is a message you as a filmmaker are conveying to your audience, what is that message?
With my newest film Black and Blue I want to see a more tolerant world and accepting world. When I wrote it I wanted to create a story that packed an emotional punch (dealing with equality and Alzheimer’s) but also wanted to keep it light hearted and upbeat. On the surface, the story is about a blind Grandpa connecting with his granddaughter, Katie through music and memory. Underneath it all, it is about him sharing his unique perception of the world. One of the major themes in the film is racial equality. We live in a time where this is ever so important. Grandpa does not see people in terms of ethnicity or how they look; he sees people based on who they are as a human beings — something that he teaches Katie along the way and something that I hope resonates with our audience too.
4. As a filmmaker, what are some key lessons learned so far?
As a filmmaker one of the major lessons I’ve learned is that rejection is part of the job. It’s how you deal with rejection that makes you a stronger filmmaker in the end. You can’t just sit there and sulk because that’s not going to do you any good. You have to ask yourself: why are you being rejected? What can I do to improve? If you can learn from the mistakes you’ve made you’re only going to get better.
5. What would you say is your unique responsibility as a filmmaker?
Cinema is a medium that brings people from all walks of life together and if I can accomplish that with every film I make, then I did my part as a filmmaker.
How can others reach out to you and/or stay informed about your upcoming projects?
If you want to stay informed with upcoming projects you can follow me on Instagram @jkeebs.film