How Marti Hines & Jasmin Greene are taking on the entertainment industry, their way (EXCLUSIVE)

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December 19th 2017

Black women are done waiting for opportunities. Instead, they are paving their own way in the entertainment industry. If we look ahead into 2018 at all of the women of color slated to play leading ladies -- it's clear that it's our time to shine. After working for years as an event producer for Sundance Film Festival and Hyatt Hotels, producer and entrepreneur Marti Hines, decided it was time to make a name for herself. Hines and her partner Jasmin Greene launched D Pique Productions (DPP), a company that focuses on high-quality film and television for women of color. Now, the pair is gearing up for festival season with their first feature film, die Expats. “I think it’s very important that we support each other, and we stick together," Greene explained. “Marti and I really try to work with people who are in line with our mission -- work with other women. So our film, all of the people in the key departments, they were women. I think it’s just important if we can open a door, open it to another woman and keep the party going that way.”

Hines realized that fulfilling her dreams was about recognizing the talent that was right in front of her. “I think that we have to really use each other," she proclaimed. “I was listening to an interview that Issa Rae did, and I just love how she was talking about working laterally instead of networking up. I think that we have such a community of talent and so much intelligence just right around us. Jasmin and I, we went to college together and have been friends for almost two decades. It took so long for us to realize, ‘Hey, why don’t we actually work together on something?’ We were kind of just parallel, working side by side, and, of course, cheering each other on. Then, about five years ago, it dawned on us that if we decided to work together, we could really be unstoppable.”

For Greene, DPP was born out of a lifelong goal of being a part of the film world. “My aspirations were always to work in film, and writing has been a passion of mine since I was a little girl," she said. “That was just my main goal, my dream. I [just] took a different route to get there. Marti, she worked in film events and created a great network. Once we sat down and spoke about what our goals and objectives were in life, it just made sense that we came together to create a production company.” Hines was inspired by being around so many film festivals. DPP was in many ways, inevitable for her. “I think working for the film festivals and being around so many creatives and artists, I think it’s hard not to get bit by that bug to create,” she said. And then with Jasmin writing such amazing content, it was pretty easy to cross over.“

DPP’s first feature film die Expats which the duo co-produced and directed, was born out of their own experiences living overseas. "I’ve been living in Berlin for over two years," Greene said. "The ex-pat aspect of it I found intriguing because our generation, especially in the Black community, we’re traveling a lot more, we're studying abroad, living abroad for a little bit of time, the world is at our feet. A lot of my friends have lived abroad, a lot of Marti’s friends have lived abroad, so that, to me, was an interesting story, and all that goes into being an ex-pat. It’s very exciting and thrilling, but, of course, you’re freaked out, you’re terrified, you don’t speak the language, so there are so many emotions going into that, but I think that this particular generation can relate to them.”

Hines wanted to capture those nuanced experiences that ex-pats encounter while living overseas. From the major cultural shifts to the small things you never realized you’d be confronting. “Just looking for Heinz Ketchup or things like that -- the things that we kind of take for granted," she reflected. “Me packing up a whole suitcase of things from Target before going over to see [Jasmin] in Berlin. Going over there when you are an ex-pat, you probably feel like you’re on the outside looking in. There are all of these people that are living their lives, they're speaking another language, and you’re just sitting on the outside a little bit. That’s a very unsettling place to be in. So you find a community of other ex-pats, Maybe you find out that some people are running away from things, some people are looking for things, and you go a little bit deeper into what brought them to leave their home country to come and stay in another city. You can dive in and see all of these different characters and what led them to this place. It’s a really cool story.”

Still, combining their thoughts and ideas, getting them on paper and then transferring them to the screen was no easy task, but Hines and Greene have mastered the art of collaboration. “Jas really gets the idea, “ Hines stated. “She just actually sent me a text a couple of days ago, and she’s like, ‘Stay on me until the beginning of the week. I’m going to have something for you.’ And she sends me a script or an idea, I read it, and Jasmin ... the thing I’ll say about Jasmin, she is so open to critique. Probably the thickest skin I’ve ever seen because I will send her something and be like, ‘I don’t get it. I didn’t like it. I'm bored.’ She’ll just be like, ‘Okay. All right, give me a minute,’ and she’ll go right back and figure it out and re-send me back something so quickly. I don’t know how her brain works that fast, but that’s usually how we collaborate. My role is fundraising for our projects. So as I’m talking to different investors, I’ll let her know what people are interested in, whether it’s a coming-of-age story or maybe it’s thriller, so then that will kind of stick in her brain, and she’ll be like ‘Okay, I’ll think about it.’ But it all comes about pretty organically.”



Hines and Greene also draw inspiration from what’s currently on television and in the theaters. TV series like SMILF and Big Little Lies have universal themes that everyone can relate to. For Hines, it goes beyond that. “I would say that really inspired me to keep working and know that we can keep creating content," she suggested. The hard work extends beyond the screen. Hines was also motivated to launch her luxury event company, Wanderluxxe with her co-founder, Lola Wood. Hines saw it as an opportunity to make glamorous high-profile events accessible. “It’s providing access for folks into this world that you see on TV," she clarified. “So whether it's attending the Oscars or the Met Ball, heading to Sundance and catching screenings and being at film afterparties, WanderLuxxe is creating that space for you. It's a membership program that you pay an annual fee for that gives you access to these types of events globally.”

Juggling DPP and Wanderluxxe have not been without challenges, but Hines' enthusiasm has helped her press forward. "I would say that the biggest challenge, I think is we’re all startup,“ she emphasized. “And that's the same for DPP and for WanderLuxxe. It’s just creating that validity. We always talk about the chicken in the egg scenario of people want to see what you can do and what progress you’ve made before they really come in and support you, but you need their support to actually do what you're trying to do with your business. So it goes the same for DPP. When we’re trying to fundraise and we've got this great project, and we want to get talent, but we can’t get talent without the funds. We can’t get the funds without the talent. For WanderLuxxe we want to keep providing these experiences and give access to our members, but we need more members to be able to provide that. So it's just kind of figuring out that balance and finding a way to work around it, so that you can just still get to that end goal, whether that’s creating the movie or getting people up the steps of the Met Ball. “

Marti Hines & Lola Wood Marti Hines & Lola Wood

2018 will bring even more adventures for Greene, Hines, DPP, and WanderLuxxe. DPP is working on their next film., Paper Friends which is slated to begin filming in March of 2018 in New York City. However, for Hines, the message is what is the most important. “Overall, just staying true to our mission, " Hines said thoughtfully. “I think it’s been really helpful with figuring out what projects we're going to do because we always go back to why restarted DPP. It's creating content for women of color that really highlights us and put us in strong lead roles. It's working with women in front of and behind the camera, and just finding more ways in television and film to have our voices, and our stories told. So as long as we keep that as our true north, I think it’s going to be an amazing ride.”

die Expats will be available on Amazon in March 2018.



Aramide A Tinubu is a film critic and entertainment writer. As a journalist, her work has been published in EBONY, JET, ESSENCE, Bustle, The Daily Mail, IndieWire and Blavity. She wrote her Master’s thesis on Black Girlhood and Parental Loss in Contemporary Black American Cinema. She’s a cinephile, bookworm, blogger and NYU + Columbia University alum. You can find her reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, read her blog at: www.chocolategirlinthecity.com or tweet her @midnightrami

by Aramide A. Tinubu on December 19th 2017
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