We're thrilled to start sharing with you information on our esteemed panel of judges. First up: Cornelius Gross, aka "The Reel Hustler."
1. What is your experience in the film industry, either as a film critic and/or as an independent filmmaker?
THE REEL HUSTLER is a film critic with 12 years of journalism experience in television, radio, print and the internet for media exposure.
2. How did you initially get involved in the film industry?
With a strong passion for movies, I was first introduced to film critic journalism while assisting a former colleague who had a movie review website. I was invited to become a film critic for the now defunct Real Detroit Weekly Magazine.
3. Why, in your opinion, are awards programs important?
Awards programs are important because - not so much as for the accolades - but for the competitive drive that should push filmmakers and actors to produce better quality films.
4. What is the value of having an awards program specifically for low-budget independent filmmakers?
With so much focus on awards for mainstream movies, there is not much attention on the rising producers, directors, writers and actors who are trying to establish themselves with a start in the filmmaking industry. So, an awards program gives them recognition for their work, which to some will elevate them to higher levels.
5. If you've ever entered an awards program for a film project you've worked on, what was your experience?
Although I have never worked an awards program, I take pride in the fact that during my tenure with Real Detroit Weekly, I was one, if not the only writer, to cover most Detroit independent filmmakers, some of whom have gone on to make full length bigger budget films.
6. Any advice for independent filmmakers?
Stay true and dedicated to the project. It doesn't take a big budget to make a great / good film, instead it takes a good idea for the story and some creativity. Don't just make a movie because you just want to make a film to sell out of the back of your trunk or at the local gas stations.
We're pleased to have "The Reel Hustler" as a part of the "I See You Awards.!"