“Bruce!!!,” written, directed, and starring Eden Marryshow, had its world premiere at the 2017 American Black Film Festival.
With a production budget of $2500 and a Sony a7S II camera, Marryshow, a Brooklyn-bred teacher-turned-thespian, made a “community film” with skills honed taking classes at Brooklyn College and shooting guerrilla-style films in the hood—3000 copies of which he once sold out of the back of his van. In 25 days, with a cast of actor friends and a three-person crew, Marryshow catapulted himself from relative obscurity to the narrative feature film competition at the nation’s largest gathering of Black film and TV professionals.
He’s living proof that consistent effort applied over time yields results.
Your film was really refreshing to watch. You really have a unique voice and perspective that I haven’t seen before.
Eden Marryshow: Thank you so much, I really appreciate that!
I read that your father had a theater company and you took a substitute role for an actor who got sick and discovered your passion for acting. Then you became a teacher. Is it true that you finally decided to pursue your passion as a career after one of your students passed away?
Yes, her name was Latina “Peanut” Bilbro. When I was 18-years-old, I started working for the New York City Board of Education as a paraprofessional, which is like an assistant teacher. I worked with at risk kids, so they become like your family. If the kid works well with you, they’ll keep you there for years working with them. Latina was in my first class that I took care of. She was 8-years-old. I would get time off, so that I could get my college credits—because they were trying to get paraprofessionals to become teachers—and every time I would go, ‘Tina would say, “Yo, Marryshow, where you going?” And I’d say, “I’m going to school, so that I can learn how to make movies.” (I was taking credits at Brooklyn College, studying film. I bought an iMac and Panasonic mini-DV from SEARS and that’s how I started making movies—in the hood, Flatbush, where I grew up.) So she would say, “You’re gonna be famous? You’re going to make movies?” and I’d say, “I’m gonna try,” and she always believed in me. So fast forward ten years later when Latina, at 18-years-old, got killed in a drive-by shooting coming home from braiding her cousin’s hair. Hearing about it, I felt like my heart was ripped out of my body.
The full interview with Eden is here: https://shadowandact.com/an-interview-with-director-eden-marryshow-on-the-world-premiere-of-bruce-at-abff-2017