1. Can you tell us about working on Moonlight, and your involvement in making the film?
In 2007, I had just graduated from the Florida State University Film School and had moved to San Francisco. By coincidence, a group of Film School alums were in town making a micro budget feature – this turned out to be Moonlight writer-director Barry Jenkins’ debut feature, Medicine for Melancholy. Because of the alumni connection, I orbited that production and helped out whenever I could. I was an extra in the opening scene for example. That’s when I learned Barry was from Miami. It felt wrong to me that he was making a movie about San Francisco instead of Miami, so I made it my goal to change that.
Then, in 2010 or 2011, Tarell Alvin McCraney gave me a copy of his unfinished play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue—the story that eventually became Moonlight. I introduced him to Barry, gave Barry a copy of the play, and told him, “This might be the thing you make in Miami.” Time passed, Barry digested it and then the veteran producer Adele Romanski got wind of it, and she and Barry got Plan B and the distributor A24 involved. I had just won my Fulbright to Hong Kong and was set to leave in September, but Barry and Adele told me to delay the grant and offered me a role as co-producer. I’d been working to get Barry back to Miami for years and this was a project I cared deeply about so it was an easy and obvious yes.