Back to IndieWire

Meet Filmmaker Yusef Hood: Leaving Hollywood to Make His Own

Meet Filmmaker Yusef Hood: Leaving Hollywood to Make His Own

Born and raised on the South Side
of Chicago, filmmaker Yusef Hood is founder and CEO of HOODFILMS®, and who is the definition
of real black independent filmmaker.

To date, he has produced and directed over 15 independent films and documentaries that are
widely sold across America, and the world, on Amazon, and other retailers. Hood, who once
worked as a intern at Paramount Studios, decided that, to become a real filmmaker was not to try to follow the Hollywood path hoping to get a break, but to go out
on his own and make his own films.

His journey started
in Chicago, working at the age of 15 at the Regal Theater, starting out as an
usher, before moving up to the backstage crew, where he had a chance to meet many performers, such as Common. He eventually moved on to acting in small roles, and later got his Masters
of Fine Arts in Independent Film and Digital Imaging from Governor State

But after
his experience at Paramount, he decided that filmmaking was his real passion, which started when he was a young kid. He says that: “I watched
every movie, my father took us to see every movie he could. I would watch every
movie again as I got older. Of course Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark
made a he impact but one of my favorite movies was Dune directed by David Lynch
and another of my favorite movies was The Warriors directed by Walter Hill.”

But it was
the work of black filmmakers that really inspired him: “I really
realized that filmmaking was something that I wanted to do after seeing
Hollywood Shuffle by Robert Townsend that was funny… (but was) also witty which
made me believe that if you see this kind of stuff and black people are making
it then maybe I can as well. There was
another filmmaker… and his name was Matty Rich who made Straight Out of
Brooklyn … and I remember what he said is he read every single book about
filmmaking and I said that is a lot of work  but I’d watch it over and over and I loved the
dialogue the shot compositions.”

And of
course Spike Lee was a huge influence, especially through “Do the Right Thing,” but for other reasons: “His movie
was one of the first movies that really utilized the hip hop music which is
what we believed was in our bloodstream. Because of the time hip hop was just
getting its start, but we loved it.” 

But for Hood, it still goes back to his days working at the Regal, seeing performers, week
after week, working at their art: “Seeing
artists each weekend working hard to stay relevant… all these things got me
closer to creating some of the great films you know me from.”

To find more
about HOODFILMS go here.

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: News and tagged