A new web campaign has started and it’s asking people like you to contribute to a new film called Life’s Essentials with Ruby Dee. The film will chronicle the love of black icons Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee. As if this wasn’t interesting enough, the director behind the film is their grandson Muta’Ali Muhammad. We were lucky enough to get a chance to speak with the director about his grandparents, the film, and even the topic that always comes up when their relationship is mentioned – open marriage. Mr. Ali has also extended a special opportunity for our readers. If you have any questions that you would like for him to ask Ruby Dee during filming, leave them in the comment section below. He will read through the comments when he gets an opportunity and if your question is good it may be selected and used in the film. Enjoy this interview and please spread the word about this project by sharing on your social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
[BMWK] What was your motivation for making this film and making it right now?
[MUTA'ALI] More important than showing the first documentary about Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee there were some things behind me that were pushing me to create it. I asked myself why am I so driven to do this? And I realized that underneath it all, I’m driven to do this because it’s the one and only opportunity that I have to learn more about life itself by telling this story. When it comes to my grandparents, specifically when it comes to their achievements they can be boiled down to three categories love, art and activism.
[BMWK] Has working on this film brought you closer to your grandmother?
[MUTA'ALI] Yes and what it’s done that I didn’t expect is that it made me a fan of hers. I love her and she is my grandmother but it’s different when you can say, I am a fan of my grandmother. It opened up a different relationship that I was surprised and delighted about.
[BMWK] What do you want the viewers to leave theaters with?
[MUTA'ALI] I think that doing this piece is inspiring and I want them to be inspired.
[BMWK] At what point did you realize the impact that your grandparents and their relationship had on black culture?
[MUTA'ALI] When I realized how difficult it is to sustain a relationship. When I realized how difficult it is to stay together as a pair romantically and how likely it is for things to fall apart. Then I realized why everyone respected them so much for being able to stay together. They were stronger together than they were apart. Ossie Davis plus Ruby Dee was not as great as Ossie Davie and Ruby Dee.
[BMWK] In their book Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee discuss trying an open marriage. Will that be covered in the film?
[MUTA'ALI] I have talked with her about it and I’ll tell you that it’s uncomfortable to talk about sex, period with your grandmother let alone”.... it’s very uncomfortable (laughs). But the open marriage thing is something that we talked about. It’s definitely something that I think people want to hear about. It’s definitely something that won’t be ignored in the documentary.
[BMWK] You’re trying to raise funds for this film and the campaign is off to a good start but has a long way to go. Why should people put their money behind this film?
[MUTA'ALI] There needs to be a documentary about Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee. There is a reason why people are intrigued by their story. There’s a reason why they’re admired. We can’t just wait for someone to tell the story of Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee. I believe that their story should be told by our people. If you want to see a documentary about Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee then you need to get behind it to make sure this film is made. If you’re interested in the real intimate side of Ossie Davie and Ruby Dee then there is no filmmaker more familiar with that side than me. Anyone who desires to be the best spouse that they can be should be excited about this piece and should go to the Kickstarter site to contribute, even if it’s only a dollar. The story of Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee is one of the greatest true love stories of our time.
To contribute to this film and ensure that it gets made you can follow this link to the Kickstarter funding site for Life’s Essentials with Ruby Dee. You’re able to make a contribution even if it’s only a dollar! On the right side of the page you can see rewards that you can receive for different donation amounts. These rewards range from a DVD to posters signed by Ruby Dee to an invitation to the screening of the film in New York at Ruby Dees 90th birthday part in October.
*This film will only be funded if it meets it’s 50,000 dollar goal by June 30th. If it doesn’t they won’t receive any of the Kickstarter funds.