May 2001
Amour Infinity : Rappin with Actor-Director Jerry LaMothe

Interviewed by Wilson Morales

"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 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 movie.

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 of projects.

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.