Photo by Linda Kallerüs
Ahead of See You Yesterday, Stefon Bristol‘s directorial debut for Netflix, the filmmaker is opening up about some tough lessons he learned under the tutelage of Oscar-winner Spike Lee.
Bristol, who first met Lee at his alma mater, Morehouse College, says when he later interned for the director in New York City and showed him some of his projects, Lee was not impressed.
“I cried a lot,” Bristol tells ABC Radio, recalling Lee’s harsh criticism of his work. “And I left the meeting, like, almost in tears. But, it shocked me to really think about what kind of films I was making, especially, for black people.”
Now, looking back, Bristol admits that Lee’s tough review of his films essentially helped him to find his own lane as a director.
“I did a movie called The Bodega and that movie– it was not really new, was not really refreshing. It was about a kid robbing a bodega to pay off a debt with his father,” Bristol says. “And, you know, Spike was not feeling that.”
“And I appreciate that, because we already have enough hood films,” he continues. “And we need something original and that helped me go back to where I originally wanted to do as an artist and that’s action-adventure. And I found my voice.”
Bristol says once he did that, he also found an immediate supporter in Spike Lee, who serves as an executive producer on his film.
“And Spike Lee liked it,” he adds.
See You Yesterday, starring Eden Duncan-Smith and Dante Crichlow, launches on March 17 on Netflix.
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