R. Malcolm Jones

R Malcolm Jones

CEFF’s version of the Proust questionnaire

1. What is your favorite movie theater and why?
Cinemark 24. That’s 20 minutes from where I live, that’s my base.

2. Your favorite movie rant.
Samuel L. Jackson in the diner scene in Pulp Fiction by Quentin Tarantino.

3. The death scene you will never forget.
Scarface, the main character getting killed at the end of his own movie.

4. The first movie poster that you hung on your walls.
Star Wars.

5. What movie character do you identify with the most?
Taz, the Tasmanian Devil from Looney Tunes. He just doesn’t care. I love him.

6. Which look to camera struck you the most?
Ferris Bueller in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

7. What movie made you travel the most?
The English Patient.

8. If you had to live in a film, you would choose…
Probably Star Wars

9. The movie that scared you the most.
The Exorcist. As a kid I hated Poltergeist, when the TV would act up.

10. The movie that made you laugh the most?
Forrest Gump.

Portrait of R. Malcom Jones

R. Malcolm Jones grew up in Brooklyn, New York, before moving to Miami as a teenager. As long as he can remember he always had an interest in storytelling, which he first expressed through rap songs he wrote for his friends and later on through poetry. At age 12 he made his first music video, piecing together scenes from films. His mother was an avid follower of the Alfred Hitchcock Presents TV series and as such, Jones consider him as one of his earliest influences.

He attended the University of Miami where he double majored in English and Film Studies. He doesn’t consider film school to be a mandatory step in a filmmaker’s path, “it can’t make you more creative but it gives an opportunity to practice”. He credits his time in college as allowing him to find his creative voice and giving him access to films, especially foreign ones, that he couldn’t have seen otherwise. It was also there that he first measured up the effect of his visual productions against an audience. During his time there he was awarded an Eastman Kodak Award for his first student film, becoming one of the youngest recipients. This helped him overcome his doubts about becoming a filmmaker. After film school he went on to direct numerous music videos. “I wanted to work and pay my bills, but I didn’t want to be a PA, I wanted to direct”.

When asked about his influences he talks first of Steven Spielberg: growing up watching his films, he particularly remembers E.T. and Schindler’s List. The work of Spike Lee also comes up, along with the Italian neo realism, especially the films by Federico Fellini. Jones declares being more drawn to indie dramas, with a twist of comedy, even though he enjoys the occasional blockbuster or horror movie. To make it as a filmmaker today, he reckons one needs to know how to write, or at the very least be able to take a script apart.

The Magic City, his first feature length, tells the story of a group of young girls in Liberty City, a neighborhood of Miami, struggling over family problems during their summer vacation. It was financed independently: Jones had gone through two movie projects with studios that fell through, which prompted him to finance his own film. The script is based upon the director’s and his childhood friends’ experiences, living in the neighborhood and overcoming the daily challenges that came their way, blending dramatization of real events and a touch of fantasy. The shooting went on smoothly, despite the production having to face a hurricane, one of Miami’s usual inconveniences. Jones recalls the wrapping day as being a bittersweet moment with both excitement for the project moving on to post production and sadness for having to say goodbye to his young actresses. “They carry the movie, so when they would understand what I wanted and their characters would come to life on my monitor, it was magical.”

Today R. Malcolm Jones is developing a TV series based on The Magic City movie.


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