An interview with BK Fulton: Founder and CEO of the production company Soulidifly
BK Fulton is an incredibly hard working and busy entrepreneur. He founded the production company Soulidifly Productions, wrote nine books, created Soulvision TV, and has numerous other impressive projects under his belt as well.
Soulidifly Productions has multiple upcoming films, and Fulton has all kinds of exciting projects currently being worked on or recently coming to fruition. We had the wonderful opportunity to catch up with him again. Here’s everything you could want to know about Soulidifly & their upcoming movies, BK Fulton’s work as a filmmaker, and his other entrepreneurial projects.
If you want to keep up with Fulton’s projects you can follow him on Facebook, and you can keep up with the work Soulidifly Productions is doing by going to their website, their Twitter, or Instagram.
It’s been a while since we’ve had the chance to interview you, for those unfamiliar can you tell us a little bit about Soulidifly Productions?
Yes, it has been a while and we have been very busy. Soulidifly is a full feature film, TV, and print media production company. In addition to creating movies, we produce a children’s book series called Mr. Business, run an OTT television network called SoulVision.TV, and publish a digital magazine called SoulVisionMagazine.com.
The film industry has changed massively this year, how has Soulidifly adapted to the pandemic?
Like other producers and production companies, we have worked hard to stay positive in the midst of this very serious global pandemic. COVID-19 has put pressure on budgets, talent, and shoot days. Generally speaking, we have to increase budgets by at least 30% to make sure we keep everyone safe. Actors have worked with us and at times will absorb some of the extra costs for a little equity in the project. Last, most of our third and fourth quarter start dates for shooting have been moved into 2021.
You managed to release 1 Angry Black Man in June despite the pandemic, what inspired the film?
The film was inspired by the desire to teach a lesson in empathy and trauma. The film is special in that it does not require violence or a graphic police encounter to teach the lesson. The film feels familiar to anyone who has dealt with deep societal trauma.
The film is aided by a thoughtful introduction to Zora Neal Hurston, Ta-Nehisi Coates, August Wilson, and James Baldwin. By the time viewers get to the reflections at the end of the film, they feel something that makes them want to read more and read deeper. It’s magical to watch the audience react to the film.
Why is 1 Angry Black Man an important movie?
The film is important because it addresses trauma and empathy in a way that opens the door for honest conversations. It’s hard sometimes to talk about the underbelly of systemic racism and its impact on people; the trauma it creates that too often goes unrecognized. 1 Angry Black Man deals with these issues head-on and in an authentic way that empowers audiences to ask questions and to talk across silos.
What does Soulidifly have planned for the rest of 2020?
We hope to release 2-3 more films this year – Joseph, an afro-Caribbean drama about a Jamaican doctor who goes to Africa to find his roots and perfect a cure that saves a member of his family. The Unity Ride, which is a film about two guys of different races and political persuasions who become the best of friends after a bike ride along part of the Underground Railroad. And Freedom’s Path, a feature film about the ability of an unlikely friendship to spark courage in the Antebellum South.
Joseph and The Unity Ride were picked up by Urban Home Entertainment and should be available via most streaming services before the end of the year. The release of Freedom’s Path may creep into early 2021? We are in the final stages of post-production on that film now.
You also have a new book called The Tale of the Tee: Be Kind and Just Believe. How did this book come about?
It’s a remarkable story. During the protests after the murder of George Floyd, a marker dedicated to the Civil Rights pioneer, Oliver Hill, had been vandalized. My Wife cleaned it and the local paper picked up the story. Jonathan Blank, my co-author for the book (who also happens to be my wife’s law partner) saw the story in the paper and sent a note to my wife about the pride her gesture of kindness gave him.
She then shared my work on 1 Angry Black Man and it began an honest dialogue about race and reconciliation. I did not know Jonathan Blank before June 14th of 2020. By August 6 (the anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965) we had become friends and published our first book together! If you did not know that art can heal, our book – The Tale of The Tee – should be exhibit one.
In these tumultuous times what are Soulidifly’s goals? What messages are you hoping to put in the world and share with your viewers?
Our company is focused on media with a message. Back in the old days of cinema, some called the works of the black pioneers of film “uplift cinema”. The film-makers from the early 1900s worked hard to shape and encourage a narrative in cinema for the freedmen and those striving on the margins.
Over time crime dramas and various exploitation films were made and they dominated the cinematic output. We believe it’s time to pick back up on the achievement narrative. We are continuing a tradition of using the tools of our time to advance the kids and the culture for everyone. It’s not just a black thing; it’s a human thing.
It was recently announced you’ve joined the Joan Trumpauer Mulholland Foundation Board of Directors. Why was it important for you to join?
Joan is a pioneer in the Civil Rights movement. I’m told by her family that she was on the most wanted list of the KKK. We just celebrated her 79th birthday in September. She is a white woman. It’s important for me to stand with her and the many people who choose to be on the right side of history. Together, we are the strongest and Joan represents the best of human beings. She integrated lunch counters and risked her life in Freedom Rides so that we could get a chance at full citizenship. I owe a debt to Joan and people like her. It’s an honor to serve on her foundation board.
What are your hopes & goals as a new board member?
We have a great Civil Rights training program called “Standing for Freedom”. We hope to get that into schools around the nation. The curriculum also comes with videos to help educators convey the message and values of a civil society. It’s important work.
As a filmmaker what is your personal mission?
My personal mission is to lift the kids and the culture. Our brand of cinema is wrapped in stories that [are] meaningful, uplifting, and beautifully told. Media is a very powerful tool. We believe that it is our responsibility to use cinema to uplift, and make the world a better place.
Who or what are your current filmmaking influences?
I’m moved by the work of directors like Ava DuVernay, Spike Lee, and Steven Spielberg. I love films like Avatar, Black Panther, and Star Wars. I love the writing of Misan Sagay who wrote Belle. I see a shift happening towards more positive portrayals of women and minorities in film. I love that trend. Soulidifly is a part of that trend. Stories of love and hope are what we need right now.
Do you have any advice for people considering a career in the film industry?
I do. It’s expensive, time consuming, and a whole lot of fun if the first two things don’t scare you away. It takes a bit of magic to pull all of the pieces together to do a feature film.
I would tell a beginner to start with a small project – a 3 – 5 minute short – and then go from there. They can film in on their iPhone even! What’s important is to get into the craft and do the work. They should spend time with people who make films and learn from them. One of our best team mates understudied under the late Joel Shumaker and Martin Scorsese. The lessons mentors bring to filmmakers is priceless.
What is your favorite part of the filmmaking process? What’s the most rewarding?
My favorite part is the end! I love it when the project is done and we have distribution and our work is going to make it to audiences. Most films (better than 90%) do not get distribution deals. We have been very fortunate in that all of our films will be seen. I hope to keep that track record up for the 70+ projects we hope to deliver before we are done.
Can you tell us what PreShow is and how people can get involved?
I’m glad you asked about PreShow. It’s going to change the way consumers pay for their films and digital media. In a nutshell, our members will be able to watch any film in theaters or IMAX (once they open back up) and/or pay for any digital streaming service after they watch a few ads. That’s it.
Watch the ads and pay for your movie experience with our virtual credit card. The studios and theaters love it because it will help drive people back to the cinema. Advertisers love the fact that all views of their ads are guaranteed because of our proprietary technology (patent pending). If you stop watching, the ad pauses until you return your gaze to the ad. Finally, our members love PreShow.co because who would not love free movies in theater and digitally forever! It’s really cool.
How did PreShow come to be?
The origins of PreShow is a movie in and of itself. Stacy Spikes, the founder of MoviePass, took all the lessons he learned from MoviePass and poured it into PreShow.co. We’ve cut out all of the fees to end users and to the company. We’ve created something special and now it’s all ready to go.
Soulvision.TV seems exactly like the kind of thing people could use in 2020 – how do you curate your catalog of uplifting stories?
We have reached a point in our scaling up that many creators come to us. We sift through a lot of programming each month to find stuff that fits our values and that we think our viewers would both enjoy and get something from.
You seem to have all kinds of great ideas and projects going on – where do you get your inspiration from?
I am inspired by my ancestors and their ability to find hope in what often seemed like hopeless situations. I read a lot, about 4 – 6 books per month. I mostly read non-fiction and biographies. I use them to develop blueprints and to get ideas for solving problems. I’m perpetually curious and amazed at how awesome the world is.
I am convinced that when we work together as human beings, we can accomplish anything. The thought of building greatness together is inspiring to me and I want to do my part by showing up ready, willing, and able to help.
What has been one of your most challenging projects to-date? What did you learn from it?
Love Dot Com: The Social Experiment was probably the most challenging project for us so far. We had a lot of things to come up during shooting and post-production that made it harder than we expected . . . and more expensive. We ended up finding a great distribution company in Gravitas Ventures. They partnered with us and the rest is history. You can find that film on Netflix right now. I’m grateful to everyone who worked on the project and weathered through the challenges.
Finally, an easy one, cats or dogs?
Nope. Just kids and that’s more than enough!
Thank you for talking to us. We remain steadfast in holding up the indie filmmaker tradition. It helps us all when quality publications like yours lift up the work and shine a light on it. Gratitude.