Everyone at a performing arts schools is weird. The weirder you were, the better. If you weren't weird in some way, they'd look at you and be like, 'Who's that square?'

Justin Simien

Justin Simien

Profession: Film Director
Nationality: American

Some suggestions for you :

I took an internship at Focus Features while I was in film school. I was really interested in how specialty movies were marketed and found their audience despite being about topics that were outside of the mainstream.

If you examine any aspect of the human condition long enough, you really do have to start laughing at it. Because the business of being human is kind of ridiculous.

I'm a lover of film and storytelling. I believe that I was put on earth to tell stories, and I'm not interested in telling the same stories over and over and over again.

The downside of doing a multi-protagonist movie is that you don't get to service each character as you would if they were the central protagonist of the movie.

I am more than a black guy. I am a person, I'm storyteller, I'm a son, I'm a friend, so I am all those things, so it is frustrating, to a degree, to be limited by other people's perceptions of me, but at the same time, it is true that I am a black guy, and, you know, it's like I'm rooted in but not bound by.

I tend to take on too many projects at the same time, but as I've always done, I will continue to shift my focus onto whatever feels most urgent in the moment.

Satire and comedy are really the only film mediums where you can get into ideas and have people leave the theater without being moralized.

I think I'll always be making movies that intend to say something new.

As much as I'd love to believe that we are 'post-racial' - an idea that really gained traction after the election of Barack Obama in 2008 - I can never escape the fact that in the world I am perceived as a 'black man' and, in certain parts of the world, as a 'black gay man.'

There can't be reverse racism against a group that is not at a disadvantage.

There is an obsession with black tragedy. If you see a black movie, it's typically historical, and it tends to deal with our pain. And listen, there have been some excellent films made in that vein, and there are some painful parts of black history that should be explored, but it is kind of weird that only those films bubble up to the surface.

Racism is over in the 'Star Trek' future, but they found a way to comment on sexism and racism in the present day in such a subversive and smart way, you know?

Black people are experiencing a systemic disadvantage, and it goes back to slavery, which was not that long ago.

You can't get along in society without an identity.