We’ve sourced some of the most interesting and thought-provoking Barry Jenkins Quotes. Each of the following quotes is overflowing with creativity, and knowledge.
Not all my work features black actors. I mean, it’s funny: someone was reading back to me all the languages that have appeared in my films, whether they were shorts or features. They span Arabic, French, Mandarin, Cantonese – all kinds of languages. I think it’s really cool.
How did I feel as a guy who was making a movie about a single mom who’s a crackhead? That – I was scared. I mean, it was scary. But part of that’s because it was so personal and real to me.
I’ve worked at this film festival in Telluride called the Telluride Film Festival. Been there since 2002. I used to make popcorn. I was an usher. Cleaned toilets, everything. Grew up there as a kid.
‘Moonlight’ isn’t an issue film. It’s not about addiction, it’s not about sexuality, it’s not about identity. It’s about all these different layers, because they are all a part of the character.
It used to be that watching a film was a very special occasion, the same way flying was. Before, if you took a flight from New York to L.A., most of the windows would be open. Now, we get on planes and we just close them because we’re so used to what it feels like. I think the same thing has happened with cinema.
It’s interesting because I think class is a heavy, heavy part of ‘Moonlight,’ and I think, in a certain way, through the sum of all these parts, it’s become a commentary on the black experience in America.
I’m so damn boring. I like reading and writing and making coffee. And walking. Barry Jenkins likes long walks.
If you try to create something that everybody can relate to, you’re gonna make something that nobody can relate to.
Until ‘Moonlight,’ I had never seen one black man cook for another on screen. But I wanted the characters to be free of ‘groundbreaking’ or ‘never before.’ We were ascribed those things. They weren’t the point.
Cinema is a little over 100 years old, and a lot of what we do is built around film emulsion. Those things were calibrated for white skin. We’ve always placed powder on skin to dull the light. But my memory of growing up in Miami is this moist, beautiful black skin.
There were times when we didn’t have hot water or a phone line. But I guarantee you, we always had cable, and it was always on.
You walk on a set, and you have no idea – that’s why I don’t storyboard. It’s all possible.
Growing up, I wasn’t the most vocal kid in the world. I feel like I learned through observation, and usually, when you’re watching things, you’re not speaking. That sort of metastasized in a way that I began to participate less and less in the world.
I’m always about, ‘What is the most productive version of what I’m putting into the world?’ Something that can be engaged by all folks. I don’t have to change everyone.
To me, no matter who you’re casting for what role, if something’s authentic, usually you can mine something good there.
Art is inherently political. Even trying to make a film that has nothing to do with politics is, in and of itself, a political act.
Making films. It gave me a voice. Legitimately saved me.
As a filmmaker, I really want to utilize the tools to carry the voice – my voice, and the voice of the characters.
I worked for Oprah Winfrey for two years right out of college in 2004. I was a director’s assistant on the film ‘Their Eyes Were Watching God,’ which Oprah produced.
My first job was cutting grass. In Miami, this grass grows everywhere. You just get the lawn mower out, walk down the neighborhood, cut grass.
I think everybody can identify, you know, with this sort of struggle to decide for yourself who you are, you know, and what your place in life is.
The way I work, things are very nuanced; not everything is explained.
As a filmmaker whose first film was made with the DIY tools of digital cinema, I love how the democratization of the filmmaking process and platforms like YouTube enables people to tell stories that in previous generations simply could not be told.
Sometimes, how you ingest this idea of masculinity as projected onto you by the world could be the difference of life and death.
At school, film-making had been the most beautiful thing that ever happened to me. Then I get to L.A., and it’s this whole other thing. I checked out.
As a person of color from the South, San Francisco was the first city that really made me feel like an other.
I love production. I could do it 365 days a year. Post is different. It’s just too slow, and everything is very finite.
‘Moonlight’ is a story that hasn’t been told. Whether placed as queer black cinema or urban male cinema, the lack of coming-of-age films featuring people like Chiron and set in places like inner-city Miami is pronounced and unfortunate.
I have friends who I consider my peers, who have done amazing work, particularly in the film and television space, who came up as independent artists and who have been – to be brutally honest – much more prolific than I was able to be.
‘Moonlight’ changed me. To see people so moved by this movie inspires me to find something else to offer. And maybe the next one touches only five people or maybe just one person. To me, you know, that would still be worth it.
Film is not an amazing medium to relay interiority. I think literature is much better for that.
Filmmaking is a very privileged art form. It costs a lot of money to make these things.
As a writer, a blank page will humble the hell out of you. It always does, and it always will.