"Amour Infinity" : Rappin with Actor-Director Jerry LaMothe
For some well-known Rappers, some would say that they got their
start selling tapes from the trunk of their car. Then it caught
the attention of producers who took it to another level. In the
film industry, the road to success isn't so easy. After winning
awards at film festivals, actor/director Jerry LaMothe has decided
to self distribute his film "Amour Infinity" and see if there is an
audience out there besides the festival crowd. He shares with
blackfilm.com his views on the film and in the industry.
What's the film about?
"Amour Infinity" is an urban love story and it takes place
in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. It's about a young individual who's
going through a string of dilemmas and obstacles in his life. He
has just lost his job and his girlfriend of five years and the
mother of his child walked out on him. Just when he thinks can't
get any worse, he comes across an old high school flame by the name
of Amour and that's when the story takes off.
Can you talk about your film festival success and what's
next for the film?
Well, definitely the accolades and the achievements of
winning some of the festival awards placed us in a position where
we can go to the next level. As you know, "Amour Infinity" is
coming out through self-distribution. We, as in my film company
True Life Films, took this film to the Jamerican Film Festival
headed by Sheryl Lee Ralph and won best film. We then went on to
the Hollywood Black Film Festival where we won the audience choice
award. We are the highest rated film in Black Cinema Cafe so
despite the fact that many people have seen this film we just
wanted to hit the general audience and decided to make that
transition and get it out there through self-distribution.
Distribution - how tough is it?
The distribution is definitely the hardest phase and
process in the whole filmmaking process in itself. Generally, in
the initial stage people will tell you that completing a film is
like the biggest obstacle and it is a great achievement but
actually the distribution in itself is the greatest challenge.
Often one has to sit and wait to secure studio deals where they
have different options of going to video or pay per view and that
often can be very complex which is again why we took the initiative
and put it out ourselves. We know the full potential of this
With the emergence of black directors staying away from
violent films and doing romantic films, was this a factor in you
writing this film?
Yes and No. I believe one of the main reasons I wrote this
story the way I did is, being an actor which is what I was first
and foremost and being involved in the indie-circuit, I discovered
that that a lot of black films had some of the concepts and the
themes that were very identical. Like you mentioned, such as the
earlier 90's pictures were drug themed and crime related and as a
filmmaker I know that all my future projects will be very diverse
and versatile. They will go from one extreme to another. I felt
that putting "Amour Infinity" out first would put me where I needed
to be in terms of getting respect as a screenwriter and as a
filmmaker so that way in the future if I decide to make a
shoot-em-up, bang-bang movie, the general public would already know
what I'm capable of doing as opposed to just being "another brother
and this is all they know". I want to show that I have a diverse
view of the black experience and that I can put on different kinds
Were you urged to change anything in your script by your
procedures to make it more commercialized?
Actually, my producers were very supportive. They are all
local entrepreneurs from my community and they have backed me with
every major decision I've made with this film. In the early
stages, 2 or 3 people approached us from studios to production
companies that did make an attempt to do that. They wanted to
purchase the screenplay and film rights, then they take over and
commercialize it by bringing in some star names, but I declined
because that wasn't my vision for this movie.
How different is your film from the Hollywood films?
I can only tell you what the people who have seen the film
have said. When they saw "Amour Infinity", they saw realism. They
saw that it wasn't tailored to have a Hollywood ending. It's
reality based. It's really a slice of life. Looking at "Amour
Infinity", a writer once said, is like looking at a mirror.
Looking at this film, you're going to see people you identify with
and people you can relate to. That's the kind of reputation I
would like to sustain as a filmmaker.