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AN INTERVIEW WITH C. Edward Mack, DIRECTOR/PRODUCER
As a filmmaker, please introduce yourself.
I’m from Jacksonville, Florida. Graduated from William M. Raines High School, where I won the Best Award in Chemistry
from the U.S. Air Force at the 17th Annual Kiwanis Regional Science Engineering Fair. I attended Florida State University (FSU)
and co-oped classes at Florida A&M University FAMU) and was an officer in the freshman Pharmacy Class.
I left school after 2 ½ quarters because my first daughter was on the way and I wanted to support her.
I did 2 ½ years in the U.S. Air Force as a Geodectic Computations Expert (doing math for bomb drops from B-52 bombers).
I was assigned to radar sites in Southeast Asia twice. The last time while in Thailand, Saigon fell and I was evacuated with
“Boat People” fleeing Viet Nam. The war was over and the Air Force wanted to re-train me because there was no call for dropping bombs anymore.
I instead requested an early release to go back to school, which was granted. I contacted FAMU and asked to be received back
into the School of Pharmacy, but was told I was an FSU student and would have to undergo the entire admissions process to be
admitted to FAMU, so I wrote FSU, who gladly welcomed me back with open arms. I majored in Chemical Science with
thoughts of going to medical school, and minored in Theater because I wanted to study film, but there was no film school
at either school at that time. I worked on public affairs programming on FSU-TV and on WFSU radio,
working as an intern on “Black Expressions.” I took journalism classes at FAMU and made my first film there,
and worked on the radio there at WAMF, playing jazz music and producing public affairs programing.
FAMU Focus was a short 5 minute public affairs presentation aired many times a week that I produced.
Radio Free America was a 30 minute public affairs presentation that was aired weekly thatI produced and hosted.
The politically charged interviews I did earned me death threats and pressure from the government of the school
and the City of Tallahassee and the police. Next, I started producing and hosting public affairs productions
on ClearView Cable TV’s Public Access channel.
This is where my independence as a producer started. Here I learned to visualize projects and make them happen…
regardless of circumstances…the show must go on…all while working at the Department of Agriculture Laboratory,
being a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity and co-founder of the Student Power Organization.
When I graduated from FSU with a B.S. in Chemical Science and a minor in Theater, I found out I didn’t have the stomach to handle autopsies,
so I took a job at the Jacksonville Electric Authority as a chemical assistance tech while I waited for my fiancé to graduate from FSU in 6 months.
I then got a job as a Chemist in Los Angeles at Liquid Carbonic Compressed Gas Company. I went to Los Angeles because of
my interest in motion picture production. My brother, Donald Eugene Barringer aka “Donnie Bee” was a very popular disc jockey (DJ),
singer and announcer. He had been performing on tv and live since we were kids. He was truly talented. He had been in Louisiana
with me when I was in the Air Force and hosted a large nightclub, called the Afro Scene, as the DJ. He had also been a DJ on the radio
in Tallahassee at WANM and was extremely popular. He had also come to California with me. Our mother pleaded with me
not to do public affairs programming, but to do entertainment with my little brother…so I did. I met many actors in LA upon arriving
who advised me how hard it was to make a living in LA. They had formed a political action committee called, “Black Actors for Action”.
Among them were Lawrence Hilton Jacobs, Vernee Watson, Bebe Drake Massey, Al Fann and Robert Guillaume.
I produced videos for my little brother and we cofounded the Afro American Film Institute to produce motion pictures that have
positive African American images. We also created our own production company called MacBarringer Communications.
Initially we were tied to the TV studio, where complaints rolled in when we booked loud bands. Then we were able
to borrow mobile video equipment from the Cable Company and began to produce on location.
Next, I bought a video camera that needed lights and there was no such thing as auto focus, and a monstrous ¾ inch recording videotape deck.
It weighted 13 tons!!! lol I hooked it all up on a tripod, with a deck for the VCR and a monitor, on casters.
So, I had control of getting the footage, but still was at the mercy of the studio for editing.
Eventually my wife bought me a ½ inch video camcorder with editing. A God sent! Since then,
video equipment has evolved and editing is nonlinear.
Why you became a filmmaker as a director and producer?
I became a filmmaker as a director and producer because there was not a lot of opportunity to consistently work in film and television in 1980.
If I wanted a project done, I was going to have to do it myself. I didn’t have access to motive studios, producers and directors.
I would eventually wear all hats: Actor, Producer, Director, Cinematographer, Editor, Screen Writer and film cast & crew member!
The show must go on.
Give some more information about yourself and the films you have made so far, about your experience?
I went to Law School at the University of West Los Angeles School of Law and began to be a law clerk at the Los AngelesMunicipal Court.
I was executive secretary of the Sports andEntertainment Law Society. I also earned the American Jurisprudence 1986 Family Law Book Award.
I became a Felony Attorney at the Los Angeles Public Defender’s Office and tried over 100 trials including Murders and life cases.
I was named Public Defender of the Year in 2015 by the Antelope Valley Bar Association.
I also ran for Judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court several times. During which time I produced:
Bin Laden, music video - Mr. Leo, comedy skit - Everything must Change, video reviewing the work of Donnie Bee - Donnie Bee’s 5 minute workout video, comedy skit - Majic, music video - Right Back With You, music video - Nothing Takes the Place of You, music video - Dr. Foster FAMU Marching 100, documentary - Hanging on to a Dream, music video - What Goes Around, music video - All world Donnie Bee sings at the Playboy Club, performance - Mini Me, video skit - FSU Homecoming Halftime show, documentary - Dr. White FAMU Marching 100 and Rattler Fast Step, documentary - FAMU I’m So Glad, documentary short - FAMU If only for one night, video performance - Homeless in LA, music video documentary - Anything for Money, appearance on game show - High Pressure for Jon Chu, dancing video -
Elvis Jailhouse rock, musical video skit - The Real Santa ClauseAll World Donnie Bee – Capture of Hit and Run Suspect - The Book of Revelation, documentary dramatization - Donnie Bee does Sheer Elegance, commercials - My Place, commercialHomeless in LA 2015, music documentary - Homeless in LA Then and Now, music documentary - Git your ass out them streets, poem recordation - Chocolate Drops, musical documentary on dark black beauty - You must have come from heaven, music video - Many Cable-TV shows, The 22nd Hour, The 23rd Hour, DAWN, It’s You, Stars Unlimited, and Plugged In - Jazz Expo 81, music performance documentary - Budweiser Superfest, music concert - Black Radio Exclusive, music concert - AIDS/KS Foundation at the Hollywood Bowl, performance documentary hosted by Debbie Reynolds - A Portrait of African America, very short documentaryLaw Day, video documentary short of award presentations - C. Mack’s LA, video short documentary
New Arts Six, performance documentary - T-TOWN, movieGangsta Trax, movie - Love Awaits, movie American History of Slavery, documentary - Fredericksburg from Colonial Times to the Civil War.
What are the films or people that had impacts on you and deeply inspired you to become a filmmaker?
Francisco Day, director and close associate of Cecil B. DeMille, did a seminar for the Afro American Film Institute (AAFI)
where he explained Production Management: How to produce a movie from a script as a blueprint to make production schedule,
script breakdown, budget, location scouting reports, releases, camera report, shot plots and a production report.
I learned a lot from that seminar and used it to start producing movies. Professor Joseph Dacusso from Los Angeles Valley College
taught me about all aspects of film and inspired me to be an independent producer, because he showed me how I could achieve
production without a major studio’s backing.
You have made your wonderful film "American History of Slavery" which got an official selection and awarded at the
“American Golden Picture International Film Festival.”
As filmmaker, why did you decide to make it?
I wanted to present the American History of Slavery from a different point of view and demonstrate that African Americans
were more than just slaves in America…they were and continue to be patriotic citizens.
What challenges did you face in making this specific film?Let us know more about your experience in this film?
My biggest challenge was trying to make every reported fact correct and honest as I could. I learned many historical things
making this film and ended up intwining my own personal history into the documentary, which was not my original intention.
I happened to have done an intense studio of my family history and when it occurred to me that I could identify on of
my ancestors back to before the RevolutionaryWar…I did.
The Narration and Editing added to your film. What was it like to work with your team?
This time it was just me, but in all of my previous productions it has always been a great and rewarding experience
working with friends and AAFI interns.
What was the biggest lesson you had to learn after making this film?
I learned, for some reason and I still don’t understand, that audiences prefer this documentary without music.
What keeps you inspired to continue filmmaking?
Because it has never been an income resource, I’ve done it and continue to do it as my art and my way of expressing how I see things to the world. I love it. It certainly wasn’t my family complaining about…”old lord…here he comes with that damn camera!”
What are your filmmaking goals?
I would like to participate in one of my movies that is produced and distributed by a major studio.
What is your next project?
My next project is called, “The Bracelet”. The cast is being assembled and we have a table read scheduled next week. It is an experimental animation. Animated because I wrote in back in the 90’s as a live action idea, but it takes place in Africa and I can’t afford to film in Africa of make sets here or finance finding suitable locations, so I’ll animate it with a new experimental idea.
GOOD LUCK C. Mack
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