We talked about this interview earlier than I had the chance to meet Philly native and independent filmmaker, Tim Greene. The 20th Anniversary of the Pan African Film and Arts Festival had just begun at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza in Los Angeles and filmmakers were in touch for the anniversary when I had checked out the base camp of the festival’s related events. Tim sat quietly on the front porch while we exchanged greetings and informing him of my futile attempts to locate him over the months. Soft spoken and humble, Tim had told me about his overwhelming tour dates all across the United States which he wrapped up arriving Los Angeles.
Tim wants to get on his programs differently when he outlined the ideals behind the “Lil Homeez” project when he was back to Charlotte, North Carolina to edit his documentary, “From Tragedy To Triumph,” a story about a community that took an abandoned empty supermarket in their crime infested neighborhood and turned it into a productive community center to better their community from around which kids in the community in a sudden 180-degrees turn started improving in their grades from D’s to straight As.
Tim who has starred in movies along side Jamie Fox, Terrence Howard, Chris Rock, Tom Cruise, Oprah Winfrey and several others, wants to provide the opportunities for kids and inner city youths who have been less privileged in creating some kind of impacts, but talented in a variety of discipline, had started Hop For A Better World Motion Pictures- Hollywood to help these kids develop their talents and work towards a better future; and recently he joined “Engineering the World,” flying in from Los Angeles for a film-making workshop in a conference for minority students held at the CNN Studios. In that endeavor, over 200 students from the 6th to 12th grade toured the CNN Studios at Time Warner Center as the National Society of Black Engineers (Alumni Extension/New York and Central Jersey Chapter) and the Black Professionals at Turner put together the “Engineering the Worlds” conference. The all day conference was totally free for any minority student from around the country to attend in an effort to build the foundation to impact, revitalize and empower the youths and future leaders of tomorrow. Participants toured the CNN Studios and did a simulated show production with an opportunity for the students to get behind the cameras on a real CNN set learning a variety of skills including camera operator, lighting, graphics, editing and audio with the CNN staffers who donated their time for the conference. The students also learned how they could prepare themselves for a career in engineering and broadcasting.
In his outreach program to kids and why he had chosen to motivate kids and be better assets in the future when his “Discover Your Greatness 20 City Tour” rewarded kids in underprivileged areas with great grades in school with free workshops, prizes and CDs that will teach kids and parents how to be more focused in being future business owners and entrepreneurs. Asked about the ideology, Tim said:
“I also have a new generation of very young kids pledge to use the new “B-word” when they address females. That new “B-Word” is Beautiful.” When I have the males use the word every females face in the house lit up with happiness. I also have “Make it rain with Greatness parties for the exceptional young ladies at the events. Instead of thinking about making it rain on a female in the club for dancing, grandma and the whole family makes it rain when their daughter brings home good grades from school. Then after I leave each city, it is up to each community to keep the “Make it Rain With Greatness Parties” going on every report card period. I have capacity crowds so far in every city and I make sure that I stay and talk to every single person who comes out to meet me even if it takes until one in the morning as most events have been thus far.”
Asked about filmmaking and the impact he would like to create in the industry, Tim said:
“I knew my next step in film-making was in distribution and building a library of films like any other film studio. There are thousands of independent films that get made every year and only about five percent or less land a distribution deal after screenings on the film festival circuit. I will release the films that I know my target audience will love to see. I will release documentaries, Gospel, drama, action and other types of films, not just Hip Hop. With Will Smith being the number one box office draw in the world and Tyler Perry opening up his own film and television studio, it shows me that the whole universe is open to me and I have to create my own destiny and not just sit around waiting for the phone to ring.”
On the “Lil Homeez” kids movie, a G-rated coupled with Hip Hop products for kids, Tim notes:
“In order to be a little homie you have to stay in school, no cursing, no guns or drugs and you must get good grades. We will have a clothing line, story books, video games and much more for the “Lil Homeez” brand. With rap music lyrics being in the headlines lately kids worldwide needs something positive that they can still relate to and still be considered hip. And being a two time Billboard Top Ten Songwriter, I will put out mind enhancing soundtracks for kids 5-9 years old with hip hop beats.”