Film maker and director ROD S. SCOTT has blessed us with his most recent and relevant body of work to date.
The film, “NINETEEN SUMMERS“, follows the life of a 19 year old man born into the generational Los Angeles street culture, seeking a better life for his family in the midst of a turf war.
“NINETEEN SUMMERS” addresses a few of the many issues our young, black youth face in urban the communities…police brutality, gang culture and broken families.
ROD does an amazing job of conveying key messages to the world while injecting the film with dramatic energy through authentic and heartfelt dialogue. The masses will be both entertained and educated by this film. It is an instant urban classic, comparable to “MENACE II SOCIETY” and “BOYZ N THE HOOD“.
The accuracy in his stories can be attributed to the fact that ROD is all too familiar with the struggles of growing up in South Los Angeles, California.
“I grew up in one of the worse neighborhoods in the United States, the Vermont Vista section of South Los Angeles, where the yearly homicide rate had reached 700 at one point. I am just like everybody in my section, I experienced a lot of growing pains. I have been shot on 2 different occasions and arrested and put on trial for a crime I didn’t commit. I had to do what I had to do to survive the streets. Like most of us, I wasn’t dumb, I just wasn’t given the same economical resources and opportunities as our counterparts.”
When ROD’s parents bused him to a better school district in the San Fernando Valley (20 miles north of South Los Angeles) he immediately noticed how different life was in the suburbs.
“Seeing how my white classmates lived and learned really opened my eyes. What I was learning in the 6th grade in the San Fernando Valley school system, was being taught in the 10￼th grade in the South Los Angeles high schools! That’s when I realized the system was fucking rigged against black males in the inner-city.”
Right then, ROD decided that this can’t be all there is to it. “I asked myself, how can I change my situation? How can I show my kids I can figure this out? How can I tell my stories to people all over the world?”
He yearned to be an artist, yet there weren’t any art schools in or around his neighborhood. “I remember my mom and I driving around the city searching for art schools. I remember driving down Crenshaw blvd looking at the signs on the buildings then going home with no luck. Years went by, and I finally purchased an $1,800 video camera and just started filming everything from hood concerts to whatever else I thought was interesting.”
One day myself, Freeway Rick (Ross) and Norman (‘Shiddy Slim’ Tillman) were kicking it at the Big Palace of Wheels, a wheel shop owned by Rick on Western ave in South Los Angeles. The conversation was basically Rick telling us that this street hustling gig wouldn’t last much longer and we needed to think about the future.“
“Rick was a visionary. He randomly suggested that Norman and I attend film school, so we did. I checked out a film school the next day over at UCLA extension and befriended Academy Award winning director, Ernest Pintoff, who directed series such as “Hawaii Five-0“. He was my professor at UCLA and he also taught film school at the University of Southern California, one of the top film schools in the world.
Ernest saw that I was one of the only black men in the class and in all likelihood wasn’t from the best socioeconomic background so I probably couldn’t afford a formal education, so he decided to teach me outside of school. He would invite me to his home on the weekends and teach me film writing structure.”
“Ernest advised me to focus on being an auteur filmmaker as opposed to trying to be a main stream director because of my background. He explained that as a taller Black male who is rough around the edges, who has no formal college education, it would be hard for me to be accepted in his mainstream directing world.”
He encouraged ROD to film a short movie then raise money to write and direct a feature film. He did and that project was feature film “HOOVER PARK”. The film was mildly successful and ended up on B.E.T. (Black Entertainment Television) and in Blockbuster video with worldwide distribution.
Besides being a mentor, Ernest Pintoff included ROD in his book, “Directing 101“,with fellow filmmaker, the late John Singleton, who he also taught at USC.
ROD’s unique style of storytelling visually communicates his message to the audience through his characters. “My storytelling is character driven with beginning a middle and an end. I invest a lot of time in characters. My budget dictates what I can and can’t do in the story.My style is authentic and is usually based on stuff that actually happened, which makes my characters are very interesting. In my upbringing I’ve seen a lot of crime and drama. And I am not talking about TV shows or make believe, so my visualizations are quite accurate.”
He considers himself an Indie filmmaker, yet more of an auteur. “I don’t pursue directing jobs that have nothing unique to offer. For me it’s about having a lot of passion, dedication and hard work. Being an artist who is willing to make the sacrifice is what makes me unique.”
ROD is artistically influenced by his entire community. “I am influenced by all of the people who don’t get a fair start. All of people who have to struggle day-to-day socially and economically. As far as celebrities, Jim Brown was very inspirational to me, as movie star and an activist. He spoke up and fought for people that main stream society threw in the dumpster, namely us black males and gang-members. He’s the only one who invited what society considered ‘disposable’ into his Hollywood home.”
ROD’s favorite actors are two of the best in our time, Jamie Foxx and Denzel Washington. His favorite directors are Quentin Tarantino, Michael Mann and trailblazer Spike Lee. It’s tough for him to name one movie as his favorite because he loves so many. “If I had to choose, I would have to go with “Claudine” because it’s the first major movie I watched where I saw people that looked like me.”
“I believe that film is the ultimate influencer, but I also believe film is make believe and it is an art form. Black people need to be portrayed more heavily in film. So when people talk about ‘no more slave movies’, they don’t look at the bigger picture. Those slave movies employ Black directors and Black actors.“
ROD has three films under his belt, “HOOVER PARK”, “100 KILOS” (based on the life of his friend and notorious drug king pin, Freeway Rick Ross) and “NINETEEN SUMMERS”.
“I aspire to make films that are entertaining and interesting enough for people to sit down and watch and not want to get up and miss anything! (Laughing). I address issues relevant to society at the time of its production. The viewer’s reactions to the film affect change in the narrative and start conversations.”
ROD S.SCOTT is no doubt on his way to becoming one of the greatest directors in the film industry and is sure to inspire generations of directors after him. “I want to achieve success on all levels. It is very important these days because the younger generations are watching and learning from me.”
Please do yourself a favor check out ROD S. SCOTT’s film inventory, you will not be disappointed.
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“NINETEEN SUMMERS” trailer:
Facebook: @nineteensummers @sevenarts
IMDB: Rod S. Scott