An Interview With Edson Jean One of The Haitian-American Filmmakers Who Won Greenlight’s $25,000 Prize, Part 2

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Edson Jean
As half of the pair that won the $25,000 Project Greenlight Prize last year, Edson Jean has reasons to be proud, and he’s proud, but he’s even busier being productive. The Miami-based filmmaker, who’s the son of Haitian parents is starring in new episodes of #Josh, the web series that earned him and his creative partner Joshua Jean-Bpatiste the sought-after aforementioned prize.

I previously interviewed Joshua (CLICK HERE if you missed that interview), and now it’s Edson’s turn. Let’s see what he had to say about being a Project Greenlight winner, his creative process and how he plans on keeping the momentum going.

Kreyolicious: At which point of your life did you fall in love with cinema and the art of filmmaking?
Honestly, I am still falling in love with cinema. I’m a baby when it comes to filmmaking, so I see myself as a baby running around with their eyes wide open taking in all they can.

Kreyolicious: Did you or are you studying film in school?
No. I taught myself what I know about film. Thanks to my good friend—the internet.

Kreyolicious: If you could make a list of three films that have had a profound and long-term effect in your film education….which films would you choose?
Wow. Too hard to narrow it down to three films. Sometimes just one scene in a film gives me a tremendous amount of inspiration.

Kreyolicious: Okay, how about we narrow it down to ten?
Okay, how about I give you a few directors and tell you to watch all their films? Guy Richie, Wes Anderson, Woody Allen and Stanley Kubrick.

Kreyolicious: Fair enough…Being that you and Joshua work collaboratively…how does the creative process go for the two of you…I mean…two minds…two different guys…
Pretty smooth actually. We’ve been working collaboratively for some time now so we know our strengths and weaknesses.

Kreyolicious: How did your web series come about?
Inspired by our lives honestly. Josh had all these ridiculous things happening to him and I was like: “Yo, write this down!”

Kreyolicious: Can you enlighten those of us who may not know what goes into making a web series?
Work, work, work, work…and then a little more work. Honestly, you’ve just got to start somewhere and then teach yourself as you go.
Edson Jean
Above: A still from The Adventures of Edson Jean.

Kreyolicious: I think that with a lot of creatives sometimes no matter how good your product is, you tend to underguess yourself. How did you figure out that your project was good enough to be entered in Project Greenlight?
Self-deprecation isn’t my style. If you don’t believe in yourself who will? You have to have confidence in your craft. We just submitted it and forgot about it. No reason in blowing it up to the fact that you think you aren’t good enough to try. It never hurts to try.

Kreyolicious: Have you been to Haiti? How do you stay connected to Haitian culture?
Yeah, several times. My family is my direct connection to my Haitian culture.

Kreyolicious: What were you doing when the announcement came through about your winning the Project Greenlight prize? Did you do a back flip?
[Laughter] Naw.. I was more like…okay now it’s time to get to work. I’ll save the backflips if we get upstreamed to Primetime Cable.

Kreyolicious: Before this encouraging prize came your way, were there times when you wanted to give up?
No. There is no point of giving up. then you can never say you gave it your all.

Kreyolicious: Now that you’ve won, what’s next? How are you planning to make the best of it?
Make the best show possible with the resources we have.

Kreyolicious: And are there any books you’d recommend?
Making Movies by Sydney Lumet.

Kreyolicious: What would you say to an aspiring filmmaker?
All Aspiring film makers should get in the habit of just doing! the best way you can learn and grow is by being hands on. Keep making work. Finish one then move on to the next.


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