Writer/director Justin Simien has achieved an intriguing mix of racial and interpersonal politics, warmth, and humor with his directorial debut Dear White People. While the film tackles serious topics and is aimed primarily at a college aged audience, I think it could find traction with a wide swath of viewers (particularly those who find themselves sickened by the insidious notion that racism no longer exists). I recently sat down with Simien to talk about the genesis of the project, writing a multi-protagonist film, and the reaction many people have had to its themes.
Hit the jump for my Dear White People interview with Justin Simien (you can check out the trailer here and my cast interview here). The film stars Tessa Thompson, Teyonah Parris, Tyler James Williams, Brandon P. Bell, Kyle Gallner, Malcolm Barrett, Brittany Curran, Marque Richardson, and Dennis Haysbert, and is now in theaters.
- 0:00 – On the genesis of the script and its accompanying Twitter account.
- 0:46 – Simien talks giving each of his characters their own identity.
- 1:32 – On white privilege and the modern face of racism.
- 2:48 – The challenges of directing his first feature.