If you've been reading S&A for awhile now, you've probably noticed one name that pops up often here…Joe Doughrity. His 2007 short film Akira's Hip Hop Shop, starring James Kyson Lee and Emayatzy Corinealdi, is a favorite by many along with Celeste Bright, a popular web series in which he directed some of the episodes. Cornerstore, his latest production, is a comedy that's garnering much fanfare since its debut at the Pan African Film Festival last year and has been profiled a few times on S&A.
Recently, I had the chance to speak with him about the film described as a…"Clerks meets Barbershop with a dash of Do the Right Thing." It chronicles an eventful day at convenience store, owned by a conservative widower and his kids, along Detroit’s Six Mile road. It stars Roger Guenveur Smith, Lawrence Lamont Jenkins and Katie Matthews. Also, it features cameos by notable Detroiters such as TV’s Judge Greg Mathis, R&B artist Dwele, rapper Trick Trick and boxing champ Thomas “Hitman” Hearns.
Doughrity has worked in the film industry for more than twenty years and Cornerstore allowed him to return to his Detroit roots which, as he explains in the interview, was always the plan. He, along with his producing partner Dwight Patillo, created a production company with the aim of making films in Michigan. Even the name of the company, Shotown Pictures, echoes another Detroit staple…Motown.
We discussed a few things including why he picked the film as his next project, how Roger Guenveur Smith got invovled, the comic book he plans to bring to the big screen and getting his start with John Singleton. He also revealed his approach to filmmaking which borrows some concepts from "gansta" rappers.