Rock Island Woman is my own favorite movie: Kenneth Forrester


Kenneth Forrester is an indie filmmaker from Georgia USA, he is a writer, director, and producer at the same time, and his movie Rock Island Woman won one of the categories at Boden International Film Festival.

Would you like to share your profile details with our readers? such as your educational background, birth city, country, etc.

Gladly. My name is Kenneth Forrester, I was born in Douglasville Georgia USA but grew up in Stone Mountain. I was homeschooled K through 12 and attended acting and advanced acting classes at both Callanwolde Fine Arts Center and The Woodruff Arts Center.

Rock Island Woman was a wonderful independent movie, and it won the award in the Best Actress category, how were your feelings when you got the news of winning the award at Boden International Film Festival?

Well, this was our first award of the season and when I found out I was so very proud. I knew there was something very special about Andrea Fernandez when I met her. When we cast her, I was so excited about the opportunity to help mold all her raw talent. We had many rehearsals and coaching sessions but overall, it was Andrea’s drive and unwavering spunk that brought this character to life. I couldn’t be prouder as a director.

How is your film Rock Island Woman doing at other festivals and competitions?

So far, we have done very well. With 6 selections and 7 awards including best Thriller, it’s looking good for our little film.

How would you describe your work as a director, writer, and producer with Rock Island Woman?

As a director’s duo, The Bezalel Brothers, we strive for nothing less than what we like to call “screen poetry.” I’d say I tried my best not to be too invasive with my directing to keep it as natural as possible. Barna and I spent a lot of time in rehearsals with our actors to really get a feel for each character’s direction. That way, when we were on set, I could really focus on what mattered. That great juggling act of capturing the most believably performed story.

Are you satisfied with the result of Rock Island Woman until now, if yes, how much, and if no, so why?

There could always have been more time or more money for easier working practical effects, but I wouldn’t change it. It was all a beautiful miracle in the end even with all the bumps in the road.

Tell us about your inspiration as a filmmaker?

Well, Barna and I are both Sci-Fi fanatics so a lot of influence from Ridley Scott films from Star Wars to The Twilight Zone, etc. But we also love dramatic and martial arts films. Personally, as an actor and an acting teacher, I pull my inspiration from performances that stick with me over the years. The Hauntingly beautiful monologue Marlon Brando delivers in Apocalypse Now. Or the piercingly aggressive and poignant self-proclaimed avenger Lee J. Cobb turns himself into 12 Angry Men. It’s these groundbreaking and timeless performances that inspired me to want to be a filmmaker.

When and how did you begin your filmmaking career?

About 18 years ago, I began learning how to edit on my mother’s computer. I began editing together stories by capturing scenes from my favorite video games and movies then making my own narratives out of them on Windows Movie Maker! That was around 2005. Five years later I met Barna, and we made a project called The Immortal Swordsman that won 1st place at a local community college film festival. The rest is history.

How many films have you made, and which one is your own favorite?

I have produced 14 shorts and 1 feature film and have been on the creative team of 18. I’ve directed or Co-Directed with Barna all but a few of them. I’ve acted in several of them as well. Rock Island Woman is my favorite short that I have written / Co-directed. Our upcoming short film, Chuck’s Fate, was the most fun for me as the writer and lead actor. However, my all-time favorite would have to be Love My Country. Not for the reasons you think. It was my first feature film, and it was fraught with harsh trials and tribulations. It was miraculous that we made anything on that scale with how little we had. It was painful and difficult, but it taught me so much about both what to and not to do. It was my film school.

How would you describe work as an independent filmmaker, isn’t it more challenging?

It is very challenging. We don’t have the same privileges big-time filmmakers have so we have to make do. For example, Werner Herzog says you don’t need storyboards but that is a privileged mindset. On an indie set it’s not just about run and gun shooting especially if you want to keep in good graces with all the people you are working with. Time is money and time wasted in the indie world could be a cast or crew member’s good reason to not want to work with you again and taint your reputation.

What’s the most exciting thing for you in filmmaking?

Being on set is like stepping into a new body for me. It’s become the second language that I only get to speak when I am working on what I love the most. Also, getting to see my film with an audience is heart-pounding and more invigorating beyond anything I have ever experienced.

Do you have any projects underway? And what are your future plans as an Indie filmmaker?

We have a slew of projects on the back burner, it is all about when and if we can afford to make the next one. My future plans and desires as a filmmaker are to be able to perform and make movies for a living. It is all I have ever wanted to do since I was 7 years old. I would love to make movies for DreamWorks, the WB, Lionsgate, A24 and the list goes on.

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