Film is one of the few mediums of expression that can be both crystal clear and opaque at the same time. Interpretation is left to the viewer and at the end, it is hoped that some underlying message is taken away from it. Or, at least that’s what Femi hopes.
“God’s Own Country” is a film and a mixtape until you see and hear it; it then becomes a statement; a battle cry; a movement even. Again, that’s something Femi hopes for. At the end of the day when the director calls “Cut!” and the camera pops its last bulb, Femi wants the cause, not he, to benefit from the maximum exposure.
BallerStatus.com: You’ve written, directed and produced “God’s Own Country,” a movie that is getting a lot of attention both in the states and internationally. Did you think that there would be as much fanfare about it?
Femi: When I made it, I knew that there was a special quality about it. From the scripting stage to post production, I just felt that everything was going exceptionally well. The actors just made the film better by a thousand percent. That we’re getting so much love from both sides of the pond is amazing too — it goes to show that good dialog plus a good story can translate through any barriers. I made it for the people, but the people made it for me.
BallerStatus.com: The movie is unique by its own merit, but what is really interesting is that you’re doing a first in black cinema; maybe even in film period, by hosting it online for digital download. How’d you come up with that?
Femi: One of the things that I wanted to do when I wrote “God’s Own Country” is to make the story universal enough for every person to be able to relate to. I wanted to make it as accessible as possible, so I thought “What better place than the internet?” It was important to me to show that this was something that was the same all around the world.
BallerStatus.com: You took a page from Radiohead by allowing the people to set their own price for the movie.
Femi: Yeah, so that as many people as possible could get their hands on it and really soak up what “GOC” had to offer them. Money shouldn’t ever get in the way of anything that will build you up. We as people are so used to paying exorbitant prices for entertainment that doesn’t help us grow or learn. I wanted people to come out and realize that there is a connection between other countries and the United States and vice versa. That’s why I did it like that.
BallerStatus.com: Besides the movie, you put together an official mixtape for the movie?
Femi: I did, it’s the mixtape that’s free for download at gocmovie.com, hosted by the world famous DJ Green Lantern. It’s more so a soundtrack to the movie because of the arrangement of songs; it flows very much like the movie and people will definitely enjoy it.
BallerStatus.com: Who’s featured on it?
Femi: It’s an amazing mix; I have some of the top rappers from America alongside some the top rappers from Africa. We have Lil Wayne to Dead Prez; Franchize to Wyclef. We basically went all across the world to find people who were relatable to what the movie was about.
BallerStatus.com: When does the movie drop?
Femi: It dropped February 26th, just in time for Black History Month and we’re making this more than just a movie. It’s online right now, so come and get your copy at your price. There’s also a community there were people from all over the world can come and connect.
BallerStatus.com: What features are there on the site?
Femi: There’s forums where people can come post pictures of themselves, a daily news break down and even a section where you can ask me questions directly! There’s a section for cats that rhyme or make beats to come and post up. Another section is for lyric translation. If you like a verse, but don’t know all of what the slang means you can go there and see a digest of the different slang. I really wanted to drive home to people that they have a voice here, and I’m not up on some totem pole where they can’t reach me. I’m here for you, with you.
BallerStatus.com: Where can people get more information about you?
Femi: You can catch me at gocmovie.com.
BallerStatus.com: Anything else you’d like to tell the people?
Femi: Yeah, we’re working with a charity called Direct Change in order to better the education over in Africa. A portion of the proceeds from GOC will go to them, so not only are you getting quality entertainment via the film and the mixtape, you’re helping out others too. Come for the music, stay for the movie and strive for the cause.