Alan Roth

When I was originally thinking about how to take these stories and bring them to life, my main concern was how to make it as honest as possible. The issues that the characters were dealing with in their lives were heavy enough. This meant that I would NOT want a video that stressed style over content.

Working with some wonderfully skilled actors who could relate to the characters in the script made the characters as real as our friends. Collaborating closely with those who live and work in some of the housing developments in Jersey City and community centers in Newark allowed us to choose locations and spaces that were to become the familiar backgrounds for all our scenes. And having a project team at every step kept us all on point.

My background is in documentary film, which I utilized in approaching decisions about how to shoot the scenes. This depended a lot on the actors playing out a scene, while one of two cameras followed along as if it was real life and we were documenting it. I think this was successful so that for some viewers, there is uncertainty if this is a documentary or a scripted drama.

My life now shares time between Brooklyn, NY and Mexico City, Mexico. I directed two documentaries on the music known as free jazz: Inside Out In the Open (2001) and The Breath Courses Through Us (2013). A recent work Dos Danzas was produced in Mexico and is a portrait of two folkloric dancers. I was associate producer for the PBS documentary Parliament Funkadelic: One Nation Under a Groove (2005).