Are We Really Friends | Interview of Natasha C.Smith
Cult Critic: It is a common and important conversation that we get to onlook through your film. How did you get the idea to create this story?
Natasha: "Are We Really Friends Yet" was born from my personal experiences in the diverse cityscape of New York, where unity often falters due to prejudice and biases. My career in film, sparked by childhood love for storytelling, collided with industry realities, prompting this exploration. The project reflects my journey as an unapologetically outspoken Black woman in an industry that sometimes discounts ambition for appearance. It also examines the paradoxical role of white women in perpetuating white supremacy while claiming marginalization. The narrative exposes how they sidestep accountability for their contributions to the system. The project aims to stimulate thought, encourage reflection, and challenge established narratives, offering a compelling and strategic perspective on interconnectedness.
Cult Critic: Your film is a discussion on socio-political issues. So, would you continue to work in this genre to make changes or is there any other genre that interests you?
Natasha:One of the most profound challenges I've navigated is embracing people where they stand and not pushing for more than they're willing to give. In the world of teamwork, especially on a film crew, there's often division. When delving into a story touching on white privilege and its accountability, I've encountered instances where the cameraman, for instance, claims not to grasp the scene's context, impacting the camera setup. It’s almost as if sabotage lingers.
This experience has been a rich lesson, teaching the importance of discernment. Politeness and outward appearances can deceive; not everyone genuinely wishes for your success. Learning discernment has been crucial, helping me distinguish between those who support me sincerely, even if they differ in perspective. It's about being surrounded by individuals who believe in me and respect my journey enough to contribute, even if they don't entirely align with the narrative. This lesson carries deep wisdom and a sincere understanding of the complexities of collaboration.
Cult Critic: What is the biggest challenge you overcame through this production?
Natasha: I'm deeply engaged in understanding the socio-political landscape across the US, Europe, and the devastating global impacts. Historical insights into the minority's control over the majority, fueled by colonialism, reveal a questionable moral compass. White privilege's destructive force is reminiscent of a cancer, yet collective action against it is hindered by self-preservation. Recent events like COVID-19 and racial injustices emphasize our challenges. My commitment is to craft narratives that challenge beliefs and evoke change, alongside creating escapist fantasies, reminiscent of uplifting Bollywood musicals, to offer hope and resilience. With creativity and ambition, I'm eager to contribute to these important conversations
Cult Critic: Can you share your experience of creating this film with the crew?
Natasha: "Are We Really Friends?" posed a unique challenge. The actors, driven by enthusiasm and a willingness to take risks, infused their own personal experiences—both as observers of discrimination from the outside and as individuals who've been insiders dealing with such situations. Their commitment was unwavering and their involvement deeply meaningful.
However, the crew encountered moments of discomfort, particularly during the process of shaping the final cut. The narrative stirred conversations that sometimes struck a nerve. Yet, within these moments of discomfort lies an essential truth: embracing discomfort is a catalyst for growth. Expansion occurs through discomfort, allowing us to evolve emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. It's through this growth that positive change is forged, paving the way for a more inclusive world that benefits every individual.
In retrospect, the challenges we faced were transformative, teaching us the significance of enduring discomfort in the pursuit of meaningful progress.