Aspiring producer back home for film festival

Published 5:00 am Monday, April 7, 2008

One of Hollywood’s aspiring producers is taking time away fromthe California lights and coming home for a visit toMississippi.

Orian Williams, a film producer who resides in Los Angeles, isback in his hometown of Jackson this weekend to attend the 9thAnnual Crossroads Film Festival where his most recent work,”Control,” will be screened. The film is based on the short life ofIan Curtis, lead singer of a band called Joy Division, whocommitted suicide at the age of 23. “Control” won the award forbest European film and best screen play at the Cannes Film Festivallast year.

Williams’ trip to Jackson is more than just a screening, however- it’s a homecoming. He still has family spread throughout the areain Brookhaven, McComb and Summit. His aunt and uncle, Barbara andHenry Wallace, are Brookhavenites.

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“Do I miss Mississippi? Absolutely,” Williams said. “I have justa world of family here, and I love it. I always love to come backto Brookhaven, McComb and Summit. Mississippi is my home.”

Williams has plans to feature Mississippi, or at leastMississippians, in some his future works. He is currently workingwith German director Wim Wender – who Williams says has a passionfor Mississippi art – to bring to the screen a book called “SecondComing,” written by the late author Walker Percy of Greenville.

“I’m always thinking about ideas and working with people thatare from here,” Williams said. “There’s a wealth of opportunitiesin ideas, books and story tellers in Mississippi.”

Williams is currently producing a film starring Willie Nelsonand Dita Von Teese called “The Boom Boom Room,” and has anotherfilm entitled “Unless That Someone is You” scheduled for early2009.

While producers like Williams may not get the acclaim awarded tofamous actors and directors, it is the producer who truly makes afilm possible. Williams said producing, while not as glamorized,was accumulative of everything he loves about the filmindustry.

“Production involves photography, literature, dialogue,traveling and meeting interesting people from around the world,” hesaid. “I didn’t really know that producing could incorporate all ofmy passions, but after I fell into it I thought, ‘Hold on a second,this is everything I love in art and cinema.'”

Williams said as a producer, he is involved in all aspects of afilm. He likened production to forming a company – bringing moneyinto a investment and bringing to life a shared vision.

“The producer is usually the one at that initial moment whensomeone says, ‘I’ve got an idea,'” Williams said. “You piece avision together with the directors and actors, find the financingand pull it all together. You have a phone in your hand and youmake calls to everyone involved with the film every day.”

Williams said that he, as a producer, is constantly entertainingmovie ideas in his head all day, every day. Some fall by thewayside, some go on to take shape. Those that go on to greatsuccess bring one of the highest honors possible to a film’sproducer – it is the producer that receives the award when a movieis chosen as Best Picture at the Academy Awards.

The vision of a producer is constantly changed and expanded bythe actors and directors he works with, whether they are famous orbeginners. Williams said he was influenced early on by the epicnames in the business, like Martin Scorsese and Ripley Scott, buthas also been influenced by the relatively unknowns.

And, as many producers and directors often do, Williams hasfound inspiration in reusing key personnel in movie making.

“I’m actually excited about the people I’m working with now,” hesaid. “I love to work with the team that I’ve accumulated withcontrol.”