Indie Pilots, presented by HBO, is one of the most thrilling presentations for the Tribeca Film Festival, you can feel the excitement leaping from the cast and crew members involved in each project as they all race towards a common goal: getting picked up by a network for pilot season. This season, Lady Liberty, Halfway, DC Noir, Unimundo 45, and Awokened, all presented their pilots and walked the red carpet. We got to speak with Chip Hamilton from Lady Liberty, and Marcus Bradford and Director Stephen Kinigopoulos from DC Noir about their characters and their hopes for the future of their projects.
Lady Liberty is a coming-of-age and coming out comedy-drama following Shea Miller, an aspiring comedian and assistant to a much more famous comedian as she learns to claim her queerness and redefine herself. Shea is caught between competing identities: the nice straight Jewish girl her friends and family have always known, the up-and-coming comic she wants her boss to see, and the confident queer gal she desperately wants to become. Chip Hamilton, who plays Chip in the show, spoke exclusively with us on his character and his words of encouragement for anyone seeking to become an actor.
“I am honored to be apart of an entirely female film crew. That is something that should be shouted out, it is not time, it is overdue. Everyone who is apart of this wants to be here. And to have an institution like the Tribeca Film Festival acknowledge that, it’s incredible,” Chip remarked enthusiastically.
“When I first initially read the script when Julian sent it over to me, I said this was unbelievably fantastic and amazing. I do have one criticism though, I want to know what Shea does next. I want to have it turn into a series, I want to know what Shea does next,” Chip remarked as he talked about his character who is best friends with Shea, the female lead of the series, Lady Liberty. Before stepping into the premiere, Chip discussed with us his words of encouragement for anyone seeking to become an actor in this highly competitive field.
“For me it was more or less just the relentless pursuit of not letting people tell you no. Your dreams are your own. It’s hard for a reason. But as long as you have the drive, the power of the human spirit is unequivocally the most powerful weapon I think the world has ever seen. You determine what you do. Whether if that is to be the next president of the United States or whatever it is that you want to do, you determine that. So for those who live a sober lifestyle, I encourage you to pursuit what you love to do. Then do, because it will make you happy and not someone else.”
DC Noir served as a perfect contrast to the comedic nature of Lady Liberty, who arrived next on the carpet to speak with us. DC Noir is a crime anthology series, currently consisting of four segments based on the short stories of novelist and screenwriter George Pelecanos (HBO’s The Wire, The Deuce). In the pilot, “String Music” (directed by Gbenga Akinnagbe), a young man navigates the rough world of the city with the help of a veteran patrol cop. Filmed entirely in the District of Columbia, with local crews and with the assistance of interns from Howard University, DC Noir is a true indy series and grassroots production.
We were fortunate to talk with Marcus Bradford ahead of the pilot’s premiere who wanted to provide some words of encouragement on his pursuit of becoming an actor, “Don’t let anything stop you, and be relentless in everything you do. Whatever you think about yourself will become your reality. In regards to becoming an actor, [that is what I did]. I made the decision to be an actor and to do what I could to keep that vision alive versusing making the decision to keep staggering. My hope is that [DC Noir] blows up, I really want it to touch everyone and for as many people as possible to see it,” we hope so too Marcus! The pilot was absolutely riveting and felt like it was a step forward for the crime anthology genre.
For anyone seeking to be a Director, “Just do it. I know it’s cliche, but you have phones that have the cameras, and honestly you are never going to do it unless you do the leg work,” Stephen Kinigopoulos, the director of DC Noir, told us exclusively as he gave us a quote before rushing off to his premiere. Out of all the productions we saw, it seemed as if the DC team had gone through some of the roughest conditions and hours in order to complete their production, and Stephen’s words rung true. Had he not decided to roll camera on his pilot, he would not be standing here today with us.
We wish everyone who presented at HBO’s Indie Pilots luck this season and hope they get picked up to the networks. Everyone was filled with hope and passion for their projects, and most importantly, they were filled with passion for their craft. If you are considering a career in the film industry, reflect on what Chip, Marcus, and Stephen said, and seek out your first steps towards realizing your goals.