Remember Tina and the Gucci Flip Flop? Go on, read it again, I’ll wait – but the author, Xavier Burgin, has bigger plans. No, not a TatGFF movie (though it’s definitely a thing, more on that later). XLNB makes movies for a living, and two of his works will feature at Sidewalk Film Festival this year.
Something more serious
Xavier’s work on display this year at the “filmmaker’s film festival” consists of two shorts: Olde E and On Time. I interviewed him to get a clearer picture of what makes him tick, what makes his movies what they are, and yes, Tina and the Gucci Flip Flop.
What (or who) got you into filmmaking? Why did you choose to make films?
Billy Field, a professor from The University of Alabama was the first one to show me filmmaking could be a profession. I was in a class called “Make a Film” where he essentially threw a camera in our hand and told us to go make something. Now, I’ll never show that film to anyone, but it helped me understand this could be a profession I could be happy to do for the rest of my life.
During the beginning of my interest in film, I created films to understand this new medium I was venturing into. Now, my films deal with social & economic understandings usually in conjunction with the plight of people of color.
Why did you choose to make films where you make films today? What was special about that place?
I make films in Los Angeles, since it’s the epicenter of the film industry. I also did four years at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts in their grad program which led me to stay out here and make my films.
Your films are set in LA, but they both could take place anywhere – family court systems, abuse, and people looking for a better life are constant themes in modern America. Were there incidents in your or a friend’s life that inspired these films? How did you choose the subject matter?
Olde E was written by someone else and inspired by the life of Benjamin Wilson. On Time was inspired by the real life story of a mother who had her children taken away when she got a job.
When I direct, I do take personal experiences from my life to better understand my character’s journey, but the subject I choose tends to come from what I believe. Black and POC in America are both oppressed and underrepresented, so my stories focus on our narrative as citizens in America.
Your Fast Company bio mentioned your Twitter storytelling and it’s incredible. Have you, or do you plan to, integrate that with a film project?
Yep, I have. We raised 36k via Kickstarter to do a film based on my most well known twitter story, Tina & The Gucci Flip Flop. Right now, we’re looking to turn it into an animated series based on our fan’s interest in the comic book we made for them.
You can see both Olde E and On Time in the shorts block at Sidewalk this year! On Time will show Saturday morning – next to Rocket City Shakedown, and Olde E will open Sunday evening’s block. If you haven’t bought your ticket yet, you still have time. Grab one (or two, or three) here!