There are many talented, famous African-Americans that come from Tulsa. We know The Gap Band, Alfre Woodward, Demarco Morgan, Clifton Taulbert and Wayman Tisdale, just to name a few. Today, I’m glad to be speaking with screenwriter Hank Byrd.
Byrd is the producer and director of the upcoming film, “In The Thick.” It will play Sept. 7 at Circle Cinema. In this documentary, plus-size women of all sizes discuss their troubles and triumphs through interviews, poetry, and music.
Despite having had a lot of jobs, being a filmmaker is the one thing Byrd has always desired to be. It wasn’t until 2008 that Byrd decided to shed his fears and actually started making his dream a reality.
I have known Hank for years now and he is truly one of Tulsa’s most talented gems. Many people don’t know but Byrd is a writer of the sci-fi screenplay “Dinner with Harry.” In 2010, “Dinner with Harry”, won the Bare Bones International Film Festival Best Live Screenplay Reading honor. He then went on to write a trilogy of short films called “The Black Bag Chronicle”, which spun into a crime drama called “The Take.” “The Take” won the Audience Choice for Best Mini Feature and was the film festival’s 2011 official selection. My personal favorite film Hank has written is “As We Lay.”
I was able to catch up with the Army veteran to talk about his new documentary.
BWST: So Hank, how did you come up with the concept of this film?
Hank Byrd: Well, I was asked by a few of my female friends to do a film about plus-size women. So the idea came from them. From there, I did a lot of research about the subject and had my friend, Toneille Bent help me craft the interview questions.
BWST: I recognize almost everyone in the film such as Yawnie and Miko the Artist. What was the selection process of the film and why didn’t you ask me to be in it? What’s up with that? LOL!
Hank Byrd: Lol! The ladies involved were definitely in my close circle of friends and acquaintances. It made it comfortable for them and me. I had a LOT of women that Wanted to be involved but the length of the film would have been a lot longer.
BWST: What do you want those who see this film to take away from it?
Hank Byrd: That for decades: the voices of the average woman (size 14 and up) haven’t been heard when it comes to love, life, sex and body image. That this film does NOT promote an unhealthy lifestyle, rather it says that while you are working to become the size or level of health you desire: be confident in the skin you’re in.
BWST: Will the film only be played in Tulsa?
Hank Byrd: No. While I plan on having a few screenings here in Oklahoma: I’ll be taking the film on the road and to film festivals around the country.
BWST: How can we support this film and your work?
Hank Byrd: Independent filmmakers survive on the grassroots efforts of their community. Spread the word about us. Pray for us. Come to our screenings. If you can’t make it: buy tickets for someone else to go. Donate to our crowdfunding campaigns. No amount is too small. Encourage your friends and families to give. Volunteer on our film sets. A lot of people come to me with ideas for film projects but come with a way to help us get it from concept to completion. We need you. Your support allows indie filmmakers to bring you content.
BWST: What’s your favorite quote?
Hank Byrd: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” – Gandhi
BWST: Thank you, Hank, for taking the time to talk about your documentary. The Black Wall Street Times will definitely be there to support you. Everyone please go and support our brother Hank Byrd’s documentary, “In the Thick.”
Circle Cinema is located at 10 S Lewis Ave, Tulsa, Ok 74104. Showtime will be September 7, 2017, @ 6:45 PM. GET YOUR TICKETS HERE!