I’ve decided to start a new series on my blog spotlighting young black moguls I think we should all celebrate and support.
This week I’m highlighting Mansur, a junior film major, photography minor at Howard University. He’s already completed and released his first short film, Same Fruit, Different Tree, a film on police brutality and its affects on black youth. The piece has been accepted into 17 film festivals. He also recently wrapped his second film, Raising Jaden, in October.
1. What made you get into film?
Star Wars is ultimately what got me into film. I remember being sat down in front of the TV around 6 or 7 and my dad saying that we “had to watch this movie” and that “it was a classic”. It was just a little me and my siblings sitting in front of the TV in Berkeley, California while my Nana cooked popcorn. My dad slid in the VCR tape and the yellow text scroll started rolling across. I was hooked. After the movie was over I told myself that I wanted to be the one to bring that kind of vision to a big screen.
2. What’s the best/your favorite thing you’ve worked on?
My favorite thing I’ve worked on, although i haven’t done many projects, would probably have to be my most recent short film that we wrapped in October. Everything just kind of fell into place whether it was the actors or the locations. Everyone was super supportive of the message of the film and the creative direction we were going in. I can’t wait to get to editing and start sending it to film festivals. On top of that, I was working with a fantastic crew that was diligent and on top of everything despite it being a few of them’s first time on a set. I loved this the most because I’ve been honing in on my craft for such a long time that it’s always fun to have the chance to pass on that knowledge, experience and creativity to other people. That was probably the most fun, teaching my crew while we worked together to make magic happen.
3. Who inspires you?
My family, my friends and the world around me truly inspire me to do film. I am an observer, a watcher of behavior, a seeker of understanding and through this it inspires me to make my film. My filming style is very gritty, truthful, and tends to focus on various aspects of the African American experience. Mothers and women inspire me the most as their resilience, which is not often documented, is powerful and their actions inspire the heroism of my characters. Other movies are also a large inspiration for me as I look to make those works better, reinvent them from scratch or pull various angles, set ups and storylines from them.
4. Tell me more about your most recent project.
Raising Jaden follows the story of a 14/15 year old openly gay African American young man as he struggle through dealing with his stressed out mother. Along the way he meets someone he can’t fall in love with in the search to find his father and understand who he is.
Mansur even provided me with some exclusive stills from Raising Jaden.
You can check out stills from his first short, Same Fruit, Different Tree here: