BECAUSE OF THE INTERNET:
The moment I entered the private screening for Romel Rose’s short film, Because Of The Internet I felt welcomed. I was greeted with warm smiles, offered refreshments, thanked for attending and complimented on my favorite baby blue coat- (someone knew the way to my heart-no judgement). Melanated bodies filled the room, the DJ played the hits and the guests strutted on the red carpet as the Rose Productions banner beamed behind them. Ultimately, it was a vibe.
Though assuming that I wouldn’t know a familiar face outside of the director (who I only knew through social media), I was pleasantly surprised to be wrong. I ran into Evan Jackson of Young, Bold and Regal, as well as friend/Graphic Designer/Creative Karina Gonzalez. I vibrantly greeted my friends and easily connected with guests who were like minded and eager to watch the film.
Next, I met the man of the hour, Romel Rose. Romel is not only the director, but he is also the writer, producer and lead actor in the film. I can honestly say that I was not prepared for how genuinely Romel embraced me. In Los Angeles, that is rare. That moment stood out because it showed me that the guests were not just possible friends and family supporting a young director following his dreams, they were also supporting a genuine person who was appreciative of the people around him.
Holly Girl, Amsara Holly with Graphic Designer & Creative, Karina Gonzalez. Photograph By: Young Bold and Regal
Holly Girl, Amsara Holly with Evan Jackson of Young, Bold and Regal Photograph By: Young Bold and Regal
We entered the theater and I had no idea what to expect from the film. All that I knew was that it involved social media, obviously due to the title. I was pleasantly enthralled.
Romel plays August, a regular guy caught in the everyday world of social media, personal critique and search for a “bae”. In the film (without giving it completely away) his character comes across a woman named Olivia who was not all that she had displayed to be through the illusions and facade of social media. Her reasons for dishonesty, in my opinion spoke more of her insecurities than anything he pushed onto her, but it did attract his attention. Her faults surrounded around the idea of not looking like the “typical” Instagram model. For that reason, she felt that her natural beauty was compromised and as a black woman couldn’t get a man who wanted her, FOR HER. When he finds out, he naturally cuts ties, despite his blind unrecognized faults and attempts to move on with his life. In that attempt he realizes that his relationship with her inspired and helped him to be a better person. Through that realization, he reaches out by extending a compliment after time has passed. This movie is thought provoking, humorous, sincere and uncomfortable.
As a young black woman the subject matter touched me on the topic of beauty, and the lengths one will go through to be accepted- including absolutely removing their true identity and physical first impression. It also spoke on the preconceived notions we woman “typically” label men to have and insinuate they search for in a significant other. That if we don’t live up to a particular body type or complexion, we’re not good enough or living up to expectations. It displayed the relationship we have with not only ourselves, but the people around us. How we poorly communicate and portray images on social media out of fear and insecurity, all while judging who is not completely honest with us. Where everything is definitely not what it seems, yet we insist on playing the game.
As the film ended, the Q&A began with the director, host and cast member. My mind raced for the right words to eloquently express my mixed feelings after the film was over. The honest, open and enlightening dialogue at the Q&A, not only covered the issues that raced through my mind but showed me that I wasn’t alone. The perspectives varied and contested the use and importance of social media as artists and entertainers, the reality of constantly comparing ourselves to others “lives” as a component and leading element to mental illness, as well as setting limitations and standards when it comes to what we post and do not. The conversation was a healthy dose of black pride, respected opinions and honesty.
We left the theater encouraged to mix, network and build. Inspired, I couldn’t resist but share my experience! Thank you Romel for giving me the opportunity.
Holly Girl, Amsara Holly and Director, Producer, Actor and Writer Romel Rose.
I was also given the privilege to ask Romel a couple of questions about the film and private screening.
Check Out the Q&A below!
What was your inspiration for making this film?
- I had a few different inspirations for making this film. One of them was me wanting to curate dialogue about how we sometimes misuse and misrepresent ourselves on the internet in order to fit into certain societal norms/expectations. My biggest inspiration for making this film is to show black women that they do not need to live up to societal standards of beauty in order to be beautiful. Black women are beautiful in their natural state.
What is the message you hope your audience receives after watching your film?
- I hope this film makes my audience think more about how they use social media. My hope is that this film will inspire people to focus more on nurturing real life relationships rather than their online persona.
How do you feel about your audiences response after the private screening?
- I was quite surprised by the response of the audience. Until that point, I hadn't watched the film with an audience so it was really interesting. The biggest thing I took away from it was understanding the correlation between social media and mental illness.
Personally, What are your Social Media Do’s and Don’ts?
- DO: Use social media as a tool to enhance your business and/or brand.
DONT: Share too much of your personal life on social media.
Do you feel like Social Media either enhances, or harms our society today?
- I think social media can do both enhance and harm our society. It just depends on how you use it. I think social media is great for marketing, news and raising awareness. But Social media can also become addicting and can consume you if you do not use it properly.
How long have you been making films and what inspired you to begin?
- I made my first short film America's Pitbull in 2014. As an actor, I was auditioning a lot in Hollywood and wasn't booking or getting hired for the roles that I felt should have been. So instead of waiting around for Hollywood to hire me, I began making films of my own. Telling stories and creating characters that I was passionate about and wanted to see on screen.
What can we look out for in the future from Rose Productions?
- More stories. We have a few projects in the works. You can follow me and my production page for more information. @RomelRose & @_RoseProductions on instagram.
How can we help support this film?
- You can help support this film by posting about it, helping raise awareness, and also sharing with me any connections that you have with any film festivals, Colleges/Universities. Our goal is to get this film in front of as many people as possible. We appreciate all of the support.
Written by Amsara Holly. Amsara Holly is the oldest of the Holly Girlz- including an actress, designer, entrepreneur, model, and dancer. She is an advocate for creativity and travel. She is a graduate of Full Sail University with a Bachelor's Degree in Entertainment Business and a Masters's Degree in Innovation and Entrepreneurship.