The compelling, emotional, & gritty must-see film @sons2thegrave is on the way! The movie's message brings home the times we live in and the responsibilities we have to them. As @mtv award Winning @DJHoliday makes clear in the film "We are our Brother's Keeper." The film stars @atlanticrecords Recording Artist Trevor Jackson, @Naacpimageawards nominated Actors Darrin D. Henson, Algee Smith, NAACP Image Award Winner Justin Martin, @televisionacad Winning Actor GregAlan Williams, Brad James, Maria Howell, Messiah Harris, and Ajiona Alexus. Sons 2 The Grave is produced by Have Faith Productions.
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Kimberley Zulkowski is well on her way to becoming a powerful name in Hollywood film. Her name and brand is behind the film, Grandma’s House, which is currently being featured at the Greater Cleveland Urban Film Festival. Starring Loretta Devine, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Jordan Calloway, Paige Hurd, Coco Jones, Alex Thomas, Flex Alexander, and so many other powerful Hollywood figures, the films aims to pay tribute to the many grandmothers who assume the position of “mom” for their grandchildren, and their communities around them.
Truly a story that will resonate with many, Grandma’s House is screening this week in Cleveland, Ohio for GCUFF’s annual event.
We had an opportunity to sit and talk with Kimberley about the film, and the mark she was hoping to make. Check out the story below!
U.G. Digital Mag: Thank you so much for the opportunity. Your film immediately struck my attention.
Kimberley Zulkowski: You’re welcome, thank you.
U.G. Digital Mag: You have an amazing project here. Congratulations are in order for getting it to the festival.
Kimberley Zulkowski: Thank you.
U.G. Digital Mag: Is this your first time doing GCUFF?
Kimberley Zulkowski: This was my first film, and it’s in memory of my grandmother who took me in at 14 out of foster care. It’s based on her life and the pillar she was in the community. During those times, the grandmothers really took care of children, and it’s very different now. You don’t have that dynamic anymore because the grandmothers are still dating like the daughters and grandchildren are dating. There’s no sense of morals and values, like cooking in the kitchen with grandma, peeling potatoes and making homemade food, and her teaching you. I felt like our generation this day and age needed a reminder. It’s also to honor those who go unnoticed and work so hard to care for their grandchildren as their own. It was a tribute to my grandmother, and grandmothers everywhere.
U.G. Digital Mag: It’s an awesome story. Comedians make reference to this type fo story in their routines all the time, but it’s never been covered this way. My grandmother carried the same nurturing spirit. You have such an amazing cast involved, from Loretta Devine and Alex Thomas to Stephen Bishop and Wendy Raquel Robinson. How did you determine who you wanted?
Kimberley Zulkowski: Well, for Ms. Loretta Devine, it was a given. I wrote this script with her in mind. Seeing the characters she’s played in her career, she’s been the grandmother for so many people. If there was anyone to bring my grandmother back to life on screen, it would be her. I reached out to her agent, letting them know this script was made for her to play this role. We were not interested in anyone else. She read the script and she could relate, saying it reminded of her own grandmother. She was all in. She has been amazing.
U.G. Digital Mag: That had to be a good feeling, not just reaching out to someone you’ve admired, but having that person even agree to do it.
Kimberley Zulkowski: Yes, and she’s been great. She came to the red carpet premiere we had in Milwaukee, and she’s just been amazing. Her heart is really in the project. For Wendy Raquel Robinson, I wanted her to bring out the many personalities that my aunts had. She represented multiple people with her situation, her recovery, and wanting her children to not struggle with relationships. I’ve seen what she has pulled off on television, and thought it would be an appropriate role for her. We approached her agent, and they went with it. Same thing with Alex Thomas and Jaszmin Lewis. The great thing with Alex is this was his first feature film. He did an amazing job. It was a different character for him to play. I was very pleased with his performance. Coco Jones was a big Disney star. Actually, I wasn’t sure who I wanted to play her, which was a portrayal of me. My children were saying “mom, you have to get Coco Jones”. She was interested. It was a matter of putting together a solid script where all the characters were just as important as the matriarch. They realized they would get adequate exposure.
U.G. Digital Mag: It’s amazing. I look at all of the characters, and even the ones we didn’t mention and realize how big this will be. I almost missed Flex Alexander as well. What did you want to get out of this film?
Kimberley Zulkowski: I wanted to take people down memory lane in a good way, and remind them of the individuals who took the time to take care of them. It gives them an opportunity to do it for someone else. You’ll see in the film that grandma Margie is everyone’s grandma, including foster kids. Her home is a safe haven, and she doesn’t judge you. You can make your mistakes, and when you fall, she’s there to pick you up. That still is not to be abused, because she may not always be there.
U.G. Digital Mag: This will open a lot of eyes. There’s a lot of people who think it’s easy to get to this point with a film, especially when there’s a lot of big names. Why was it important for you to connect with GCUFF?
Kimberley Zulkowski: It’s still very difficult for us. We don’t have the distributors knocking down our doors, or the same platforms that our counters have when they make a film. There are very few black festivals. You want your film to be seen and shown, but you have yo go back to your people for it to happen. The urban film festival is our voice. I’m grateful for GCUFF because it’s a way for exposure that our films, sadly, will not get because it isn’t a studio film. There aren’t millions of dollars to advertise. It’s a work in progress, and a lot of people wish they could wake up and be a Tyler Perry, or have their own network like Oprah. It’s few and far between for us to have that platform. It’s still a white dominated industry. I don’t say that negatively, but it’s time for that tie to be split equally.
U.G. Digital Mag: I think it’s reality and you make many great points. This is definitely a way for people to see your product. We’ve had so many come and do this festival, big and small. It’s an amazing avenue. I would love for readers to know more about additional projects that you have in the works.
Kimberley Zulkowski: Absolutely. We just finished editing a project called 53206 Milwaukee. It’s extremely special and dear to me. It’s about the struggles we face in the inner city. 53206 is the worst zip code in Milwaukee. There are homicides here in the city every day, and people don’t know about it. You think Milwaukee, and you think dairy land. There’s a black population falling every day. We are a minority of less than 200,000, and we are being shot and killed everyday. A study came out showing it as the worst place for black people to live. It’s the most segregated city there is. We are ten times more likely to be shot and killed there than Chicago because of the population ratio. So, what I did was take the homicide stories within a year, and represent those stories, talk about those victims, and show the world what we’re going through in Milwaukee in the eyes of our youth. Three weeks ago, I buried a little boy who was ready to go fishing with his father. He was running in the house to tell him mother they were leaving. A shootout happened and he was shot In the head. Four months before that, we buried a nine year old little girl. Our children aren’t making it to teenagers, let alone adulthood. This film talks about what’s happening, but also represents all urban zip codes in the world where violence is increasing, and the victim’s voice s not being heard. One of the great things is I took all cast from the city of Milwaukee. I brought an acting coach down from L.A. who taught them how to act and do the scenes. They did an mazing job. You would never believe these individuals have never acted before. Only people who have been through it can tell a story the way that we told it in this film. We had extras show up while filming because the entire city was excited. Even two of those extras during the process of editing were killed. Melanie was 14, sitting in her kitchen. She was killed in a shootout. Clinton Washington was in one of our scenes, and he was killed two weeks after we did a picture wrap. It’s very real, and something we hold to show the world what’s going on in the urban inner city, and the talent that goes unnoticed. If someone took notice of that talent and grabbed hold of these children, the result would be a feature in Hollywood like what we made.
U.G. Digital Mag: It’s amazing to hear that. I had no idea this was the way it was in Milwaukee. When do you see it becoming available to everyone?
Kimberley Zulkowski: We just submitted it to Sundance, and now we are making it available to all other festivals. We literally just submitted to Sundance. Sadly, my producers feel like they have to accept the film; I err on the side of caution, and ask why would they? Perhaps they should, but how many of our films do we ever see there? I’m going with a plan B and making it available to all the other festivals.
U.G. Digital Mag: I look forward to seeing the full film. Are there any final words?
Kimberley Zulkowski: I want to thank everyone involved with GCUFF. Without festivals like these, people like me would not have a platform. This is important and needed. I’m thankful to everyone, and grateful to be a part of it, and to the participants and viewers who will watch. I look forward to the feedback.
The new film, Patti Cake$, which stars Mamoudou Athie is one of those films that could easily become the next blockbuster. Already being heralded as a classic, the film follows the story of aspiring rapper Patricia Dombrowski, also known as Patti Cake$ & Killa P, who is striving to become that next great inspiration in hip-hop. Immediately, the film touches on and conquers the idea and premise of someone defeating the odds to live and follow their passion in life. We’ve had the opportunity to screen the film, and it’s such an amazing story that will inspire a world of aspiring entertainers and beyond.
We were blessed with the opportunity of speaking with Mamoudou Athie about the film, and his role in the film, which drops tomorrow!
U.G. Digital Mag: I really treasure today’s conversation so much. I’ve been able to hear so many positive things in reference to this new film, and of course, being able to screen it for myself was the icing on the cake. So many people are talking about it. Talk about doing this film.
Mamoudou Athie: I’m really fortunate. I initially got the script, and I hadn’t read the entire thing because at first, I was like “this guy isn’t for me. I wasn’t sure it would work out because off the jump, I just didn’t know about this dude. Long story short, one of my best friends who I went to school with, we did ‘The Get Down” together, and his name is Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, and he’s a fantastic actor. This role had been in my mind ever since I read the entire script, and the casting director, Jessica Kelly, was very vocal, thinking I should go in for this. I just didn’t think I was the guy. Once I finally read the script I thought it was fantastic. By this point, I thought it was cast already. My buddy Yahya met Jeremy and he called me, saying the role wasn’t for him because he thought he was too old for it, but he thought it would be good for me. I auditioned a couple of times, and was just like Geremy Jasper was a fucking beast. I had to work with him. That’s kinda how we started. Geremy has been nothing but amazing and supportive ever since.
U.G. Digital Mag: There have been rave reviews so far, even looking at The New York Times, and hearing from the many people who have seen it already. What I enjoyed the most is there are so many stereotypes in hip-hop, and when you look at the film, it’s easy for people to look and instantly judge, but it really is an amazing movie. I love the entire story that resonates, with the idea of this legend in the making with Danielle Macdonald, and I think the film is really good.
Mamoudou Athie: She’s amazing in it. Geremy wrote a beautiful nuance with really diverse characters, and everyone is so relatable, from Danielle and Bridget, to Cathy, Sid, and more. It was a joy to be on set everyday.
U.G. Digital Mag: There’s some really powerful people here.
Mamoudou Athie: It’s really a special group. I feel like I’m repeating myself, but it’s so true. I’ve been very fortunate to work with people that I have wanted to work with. I genuinely get along with all of the cast, and these guys, we hang out when we’re in the same city. It’s like a really tight-knit family, and I know it seems so corny to say, but it’s true.
U.G. Digital Mag: When you think back at seeing the script, and not thinking it was for you, what was steering you away? Why did you feel it wasn’t for you?
Mamoudou Athie: I grew up in a very religious background, and I looked at it like it was the anti-christ [laughing]. That was honestly my whole thing. I felt uncomfortable with it. But when I finally met Geremy, and I also had been silently obsessing over it, I said I’d see what it actually what it was. It wasn’t what it appeared to be on the surface. There was way more nuance, and a lot more going on than I anticipated and gave credit for. I pinch myself everyday because I almost passed this amazing opportunity up, and it’s kinda crazy.
U.G. Digital Mag: Knowing your experience, and having completing the film, what are your thoughts now in how you feel it will do?
Mamoudou Athie: Everyone I’ve met who have seen it felt it was good. What else are they going to say, like, we hate you? [laughing]
U.G. Digital Mag: It’s funny though because when people meet you, they often will say that out of courtesy, but I think with this, it’s truly real and genuine.
Mamoudou Athie: Exactly. I can tell. People are very offusive in their love for it. In this unfortunately bleak time in history, this movie is hopeful in a way that is really welcoming. It’s a welcome change from some of the other stuff going on. It’s a beautiful movie about these flawed and interesting people pursing their dreams. It’s very relatable, and very much for and about the underdog.
U.G. Digital Mag: I agree with that. I love the whole premise of these people pursuing their dreams. It’s amazing again just connecting with you. Here at UGD, we’re all about pushing the ability to live your passion and live your life. It fits our magazine perfectly, and there’s so much for people to gain.
Mamoudou Athie: That would be really special.
U.G. Digital Mag: I think the film puts you in a good place because of roles you’ve done before. You played Grandmaster Flash, and I thought that was amazing. What was your thought in having that opportunity, and then transitioning to this?
Mamoudou Athie: Flash was the first role I played for myself. That one was the stretch. When I auditioned for the part, it only said master DJ. It didn’t have a name attached to the character. I went in and did my thing, and then I eventually got it, and when to meet Baz. When I walked in, everyone was talking about Flash. People were asking if I studied Flash because I had his mannerisms down. I still didn’t know who they were talking about until they said Grandmaster Flash. I immediately lost my mind, and there was an immediate sense of intense fear and dread.
U.G. Digital Mag: But it’s cool. Your portrayal showed that the culture is within you, and it’s authentic.
Mamoudou Athie: Here’s what I really loved. A lot of times, you see hip-hop themed stories and movies, and all this gangster stuff, but hip-hop started in a really positive place. Kurtis Blow came on set and was teaching people how to rap, and Flash came on and taught me how to spin. They told these stories about how these block parties went and they sound amazing. The thing that numbs me out is a lot of these stories don’t show that. Hip-hop is being commercialized right now. A lot of people are taking it back like Chance, Kendrick, and Jay-Z. A lot of people are doing a different kind fo things these days.
U.G. Digital Mag: I get what you’re saying. Life imitates art, so I love to see things like The Get Down, and Patti Cake$. We can see where it began. The more we have films like these, the better things get and the more change we’ll see. I see change already.
Mamoudou Athie: Exactly. He’s doing some really great stuff, supporting the community. That’s what it’s about, and it’s real exciting.
U.G. Digital Mag: Exactly. It’s all really amazing. What are some other things we can look out for from you? I know there’s a handful of projects you’ve been working on.
Mamoudou Athie: The one I’m most excited about coming out after this is is “Unicorn Store”. It’s very similar in which I love the people I worked with. I learned so much between the director and the lead. Pretty much everything I had was with her. I was able to learn how she does it. There’s one moment in the movie that I can’t necessarily say much about, but I needed to be very confused. The way she set up the shots, I had no idea what she was talking about. She’s really a beast, and I loved making that movie.
U.G. Digital Mag: I’m also looking forward to Underwater.
Mamoudou Athie: Right. I got to work with another one of my heroes, Vincent Cassel. He was one of the funniest people to be on set with. Unbelievably hilarious. I’ve never laughed so much before take.
U.G. Digital Mag: In all realness, you have to be living the life, doing what you love, laughing, and having a good time. You can’t ask for anything better.
Mamoudou Athie: Thank you, and that’s the big thing. He was saying that he’s been doing this too long not to have a good time, so he’s going to have fun. I love that mindset. I learned a lot.
U.G. Digital Mag: It’s all amazing. There’s so many people who learn from you as well, and I appreciate you for this opportunity. For those who like to keep up with you, how can they stay connected?
Mamoudou Athie: Oh wow, I don’t really keep up with social media, but I’m around in New York.
U.G. Digital Mag: I promise man, we’re watching these movies, and I enjoyed being able to screen Patti Cake$. I’m looking forward to your upcoming movies as well, especially Underwater and Watch Room.
Mamoudou Athie: Oh wow.
U.G. Digital Mag: I think you’re an amazing actor. There’s so many people out there doing this, and sometimes it’s hard to see who’s really in this for the love, and how genuine someone really is. We can see that in you, and it’s appreciate.
Mamoudou Athie: That means so much. Thank you so much.
The work that SwishGang Films has been doing in terms of their films has been so amazing for the entertainment industry as a whole. Through this series alone, Swish Pzy, Calico Jonez, and Curtis Snow have been able to provide so much direction for so many individuals, and their changing lives. As they prepped for the release of their new film, The Cross Out 3 (Screening is actually today), we sat and talked about the film, and what it means not only for them, but for the many people who have been able to take part. As a collective, they continue to open so many doors for our culture that otherwise would not be open, and they are providing so many opportunities.
Check out our exclusive, and definitely go out and check out the screening. More importantly, keep your eyes peeled for them because they have a lot in the works that will surely do some positive things in this game.
U.G. Digital Magazine: It’s so dope to see what you, Curtis Snow, and Calico Jonez have going on out there. The Cross Out 3 is really hot, and the screening is something to be reveled. Kudos for everything.
Swish Pzy: I appreciate that
Calico Jonez: We all appreciate it. God is good. We stay consistent and try to keep something going.
U.G. Digital Magazine: Talk about all that went into the third installment?
Swish Pzy: Pretty much, it’s a continuation from Part 2. Wesat down and came up with a scenario of what’s going on today. We wanted to give an outlook on what can still happen out here.
Calico Jonez: Right. The Cross Out itself is based on a true story of friends, turned hustlers, turned individuals who cross each other out for financial stardom. It tells how it all started, and a view on the urban life. Those from that genre can relate to it very well. The Cross Out 2 is so deep, and a lot of it is unexpected. They say money is the root of all evil. This is primarily the take of knowing the situations that can get you crossed out.
U.G. Digital Magazine: I’ve had the opportunity to see The Cross Out 2 online. For those who have not seen it, and also haven’t seen Part 1, talk about the overall premise, and how each leads to the next?
Swish Pzy: Pretty much, in The Cross Out Part 1, it’s a group of individuals who set out on a mission to take over the city in a legit way. We linked up, and it was a bunch of chaos, backstabbing, and conniving ways, and it starts the first definition of watching this person, and allowing them to set themselves up. It’s like a ‘Menace II Society’ feeling, especially with what’s going on til this day, and dealing with gaining trust. Part 2 took us from Tennessee to Atlanta. We cleaned up everything in Knoxville as far as pointing out the real from the fake, and it was more about catching up with unfamiliar individuals. We were doing the same thing we wanted to do from our city.
U.G. Digital Magazine: A lot of people are opening their eyes to your movement. I love the Menace comparison. I did get that feel from Part 2. It’s interesting to place it in that time, because I just connected with Eiht, and it’s just interesting to see how things today mirror things at that time. As far as seeing our faces in roles like this, it needs to be more, and you’re doing that, allowing our stories to be told the way we want. It’s commendable because without people like you, a lot of people won’t be seen. Regardless of the doors opened already, you’re continuing to open them.
Swish Pzy: That’s one thing I strive for. It’s a lot unrecognized in our communities. They only recognize chaos, murder, or something to do with the police or government taking control. I wanted to reach out, not just to my community, but to the world, to show the everyday struggle in our communities.
U.G. Digital Magazine: Will this series of films continue after the new installment? Will there be more parts?
Swish Pzy: We can say it’s kind of a pay attention, listen, and learn type of thing. It’s a life line. I wanted to grab their attention, and allow people to answer that for themselves.
U.G. Digital Magazine: What happens specifically with this film after the screening?
Swish Pzy: We’ll be showing previews of the screening, and we’re also doing an after party at club Boogalou, and Club Truth.
Calico Jonez: We’ll eventually do an online release of the movie. We also have 3 other movies in the works. This will be the last all the way urban film. We’re doing a horror film, and another movie geared towards women. The Cross Out had to be completed, and it couldn’t be done in just 2 films.
U.G. Digital Magazine: What is your overall goal for the film?
Calico Jonez: I have a lot of films that will touch on different areas. The Cross Out was a street story that we were putting out regardless of who wanted it. Pzy really wanted to bring this story to life. Now we will show the world that we are not stagnant, and only doing urban films. We have bigger ideas, and a bigger picture in showing versatility.
U.G. Digital Magazine: Calico, your transition to film has been awesome. What took you to film, coming from music?
Calico Jonez: What made me start doing movies was I was doing a soundtrack. I wanted to make my mixtapes more like a soundtrack. I can’t take all the credit. Pzy put together the vision too. As we put the first movie together it all fell into place as it should. From there, we wanted to make Part 2, and now part 3, even better.
U.G. Digital Magazine: As far as people in here, how did you cast?
Swish Pzy: Me personally, I took it upon myself to go with people I deal with on a daily. I don’t have a lot of friends, so it’s all business to me.
Calico Jonez: I utilize everything from social media to other outlets. You have so many up and coming actors and actresses you run into. You can meet the next Jeezy, or the next Tyler Perry, online.
U.G. Digital Magazine: I understand as far as keeping the circle close. Too many people is a path to trouble.
Swish Pzy: Right. So I took these individuals and showcased their problems. Calico, he stays busy and keeps his hands into something positive for the community. As for Snow, the movie “Snow in the Bluff” did good numbers. It was a good movie to get an understanding of what’s going on in the city and state. We put our heads together and stepped away from the music. Everybody is telling their stories in music. We wanted to tell ours and show it to you at the same time, and let you see things we don’t see on a daily basis, and what happens when things aren’t taken care of.
U.G. Digital Magazine: I agree. Everybody is doing music. It’s hot to see us on the movie front. What else is to come following the screening?
Swish Pzy: We have projects done, waiting to be edited. We’re trying to make it all make sense.
U.G. Digital Magazine: I really appreciate what you’re both doing on your end. We need this really bad, and you’re delivering it to the world. The transition our culture is making in this industry is amazing. Thank you so much for that. Today’s connection was awesome.
Swish Pzy: We appreciate you giving us the platform to speak.
U.G. Digital Magazine: Where can everyone keep up with what you have going on?
Swish Pzy: I do a lot of promoting on Instagram, which is @swishpzy, and it’s the same on YouTube! We’re doing a lot of promoting that way. We stay so busy that we don’t do a website.
Calico Jonez: Definitely look out for the SwishGang website that will come soon. Also on my Instagram, @calicojonez. My PR keeps everything together. Also at calicojonezworld.com
U.G. Digital Magazine: No doubt man. Thank you so much again…
We’re thrilled to offer you a moment to view the trailer for “The Cross Out 3”. The film, which is the third in a trilogy series, is due out later this month.
From Swish Gang Films, executive producers Swish Pzy, Calico Jonez and director Apar alongside Curtis Snow, director of “Snow in the Bluff” and assistant are releasing the third installment of the “Cross Out” trilogy which consists of “The Cross Out” and “The Cross Out 2”.
“The Cross Out” film series depicts the lives of several individuals who reside in Austin Homes Projects located in what Knoxville, TN refers to as “the gun zone” an area is known for shootings and violence. This is the backdrop for the team as they commence to take over the city through their ruthless dealings and set forth on a mission to get paid causing chaos along the way.
“The Cross Over Part 3” is a continuation of the story line taking place in Atlanta and features cast members Swish PZY, Calico Jonez, Curtis Snow, Swish Frosty and many more. View “The Cross Out Part 3” trailer below, and also at https://youtu.be/cJauzdOgNTI and be sure to follow director Swish Pzy on social media @SwishPzy (Instagram /Twitter / Facebook).
(New York, NY - June 1st, 2017) - Triplebeam Worldwide proudly releases the trailer to the anticipated short-film, "
King Of Paper Chasin' Origins Part 1
". "KOPC Origins Part 1" will debut on Monday, June 12th, 2017, with a star-studded red carpet event taking place at S.O.B.'s located at 204 Varick Street NY NY 10014starting at 7:00pm. The evening will be hosted by media personality Angela Yee.
"KOPC ORIGINS", is executive produced by DL Clark and directed by DL along with famed video director Joe Puma (Trey Songz, Fabolous, Dave East). "I don’t expect everyone to be happy with what I'm doing" says DL, "…but its a story I want to tell. There is a lot of embellishment for entertainment purposes, but for the most part the premise of the movie is based off actual events," he mentions.
In the coming weeks, Triplebeam Worldwide will be releasing the "KOPC ORIGINS EP" featuring songs from the film by hip-hop recording artist DL and many others. Formal invitation to follow.
"Every Saint Has A Past. Every Sinner Has A Future".
"KOPC ORIGINS PART 1" Trailer:
"KOPC ORIGINS" stars: DL Clark, Jason Lanzar Rivera, Valerie Lora, Tahiry Jose', Orrin Hunter, Piarry Oriol, Natalie Friedman, Aurea