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Filmmaker Letter

Filmmaker Letter

Monsters and Men

by writer/director Reinaldo Marcus Green

I grew up in Landmark Theatres. It was one of the few sacred places other than a baseball diamond where my father could take my brother and me for an escape from our daily realities. It’s an honor and privilege to practically grow up in such an establishment and now be able to share our story with you.

I hope we made a film that gives viewers that escape from their realities. Like anyone who enjoys the cinema, I wanted to make something that was truthful and spoke to me—and if that speaks to a larger consciousness, then I feel like I’ve done something right as a filmmaker.

Although Monsters and Men is not an easy subject matter, the hope is that we’ve created a unique experience for the viewer—a ride they’re not expecting to take, a different perspective on the subject matter and a new way to discover it. We truly hope the audiences at Landmark Theatres will enjoy it and help us share it with the world.

This film was born out of a conversation with a cop friend of mine from Staten Island. We grew up together. Played football together. I used to deliver pizza where Eric Garner was killed. That was my backyard. What started as a normal conversation between two friends ended in a pretty heated discussion. We saw two totally different things looking at the same viral video tape. In the end, what I realized was that although we disagreed, we were trying to understand one another. The conversation left the hairs on my skin standing up. I knew I had to do something about it. That very conversation stayed with me for six months. And that same very conversation is the reason for this film. Perspective.

Monsters and Men is my debut feature but I didn’t want it to feel like a typical first film. I knew I’d make mistakes but I wanted to take some risks. To try something different. I was unconventional in my approach to an all-too-familiar subject matter. I wanted to find a way to talk about something that we’re seemingly becoming immune to and give it a reason to exist, and not be brushed under the rug. This is not just another ripped from the headlines story, but something that digs a bit deeper into how these issues affect us all.

Monsters and Men was designed to make the viewer complicit with the action of its three protagonists. The hope is that we can take a moment and put ourselves in someone else’s shoes. The film was a challenge to myself to see what can I do as an individual. As a citizen. We can’t stay idle. We must do something. And this film is my step towards whatever that answer is.

I want the movie to sit with people not only in their hearts but in their minds and in their guts. However uncomfortable it may make some, that feeling is the essence of self-reflection. Of our own biases. I wanted to challenge myself as an individual and my own preconceived notions about certain subject matters. And most importantly, I wanted to challenge the viewer to help me take it one step further. Activism.

Congratulations to my cast and crew—your work inspires me, still, every day. Thank you to our distributor NEON and to the newest member of our team, Executive Producer Drake, for coming on board and helping us share our film with as many people as possible.

We’re extremely grateful to Landmark Theatres for hosting our film and we hope its patrons will come out and support the film in theatres.

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