Film Courage: Have you met Tyler Perry?
Antoine Allen, Filmmaker: No, but he’s one of my biggest influences from the business side because when I started in the music business I had people like a Jay-Z or Cash Money or Master P or 50 Cent that had structure but when I came in the film business I was like Ya’ll don’t own nothing. Ya’ll don’t own none of your films but Tyler Perry showed me the industry way to do it so he’s my biggest blueprint of how to truck your business and own your catalog and so he’s a great guy.
Film Courage: When you first saw a Tyler Perry film how did you start researching him to really dissect how he does things?
Antoine: I didn’t have to research him. There were bootleg videos everywhere. Before we had all this, a lot of his plays and movies were bootlegged so it was everywhere. He had plays in New York so he was just everywhere. He was like Oh, this is how you do it, this is how you do it because he’s really the only filmmaker African-American filmmaker where I know that has a large catalog, like his kids are fine. There’s people that own their films but his catalog of ownership is just like…the Medea catalog alone is just ridiculous. I’ve never seen this done before, it was amazing.
Film Courage: Did you say ‘I want to do the same types of films’ or you had your own spin on it?
Award-winning filmmaker Antoine Allen had dreams like any other kid growing up, and it was those same dreams that allowed him to break through every obstacle in his path. Despite growing up poor in Jamaica, Queens, Allen was already rich with potential. Refusing to let this define his future, he moved forward with a passion, drive, and tireless dedication that has now become synonymous with the Antoine Allen brand.
Allen began his career in the music industry, successfully managing hip-hop artists for many years. During that time, he had several experiences that opened his eyes to the fact that he had more to offer. It was at this time that the phrase “dream big or don’t dream at all” really hit hard.
Forgoing the traditional film school route, he began educating himself on all creative, technical, and business aspects of the process and never looked back. Allen transformed himself into a successful writer, director, filmmaker and producer. He sold his first screenplay,
No Where Land an animated feature film in 2008. As an award-winning director, Allen has gone on to be involved in a variety of film and music video projects.
In the summer of 2010, Allen made his directorial debut with Split Decision a narrative short film exploring love, rejection and motivation, which he also wrote and produced. He took promotions into his own hands, launching a highly successful social media campaign. The trailer alone received over twenty-one thousand views on YouTube and countless ‘Likes’ on Facebook, all culminating in the Split Decision world premiere. The opening screening in New York City sold out. This should have come as no surprise since Allen sold out a premiere to a 3-minute music video that he had previously directed. On a personal level, the film allowed him to draw from his own experiences of beating the odds when life got tough, and was an experience that brought Allen full circle.
His most recent project, a full-length feature film Life Is Too Short (2015) premiered to another crop of sold out audiences and has been honored with multiple awards and film festivals selections.
Aside from pursuing his creative projects, Allen has devoted a great deal of his time inspiring, mentoring and giving back to his community by helping young entrepreneurs and artists achieve the bigger dreams that they have for themselves. This is a reflection of the extent and impact that one person can have within their surroundings.
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