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Vanessa McMahon

Vanessa is a novel writer, screenwriter, rep and a film producer. She shares her discoveries and film surprises. :-)



Interview with Actor John Boyega at 20th Annual SCAD Savannah Film Festival


Actor John Boyega during 20th Anniversary SCAD Savannah Film Festival

Actor John Boyega poses backstage with Vanguard Award at Trustees Theater during 20th Anniversary SCAD Savannah Film Festival on November 2, 2017 in Savannah, Georgia. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for SCAD)

Actor John Boyega first received worldwide attention with his breakout role as Moses in director Joe Cornish's film 'Attack the Block' (2011). Since then, he has been steadily ascending his illustrious career ladder with roles in followup films as Ugwu in 'Half of a Yellow Sun' (2013), Bambi in 'Imperial Dreams' (2014), Finn in 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' (2015) and now most recently Dismukes in director Katherine Bigelow's 'Detroit' (2017). He has won multiple awards including Best Actor at the Black Reel Awards in 2012, Best Actor at B-Movie Film Festival, Male Performance in Film at Screen Nation Awards 2016, Best Male Newcomer at Empire Awards UK 2016, Male Revelation Chopard Trophy at Cannes Film Festival 2016 and a Rising Star at BAFTA 2016. His most recent trophy is the Vanguard Award at the 2017 SCAD Savannah Film Festival where he made an appearance and sat in a Q and A session after a screening of 'Detroit'.

In a brief interview with Boyega while at SCAD, here is what he had to say:


You've had a pretty outstanding career at such a young age. You've already done 'Star Wars' and now you've starred in Katherine Bigelow's latest film 'Detroit'. What's next on your bucket list?

BOYEGA: Well, to get back to the drawing board. I'm writing and I have a production company now so it's all development. Also, I'm open to various different scripts that we're reading now coming from other collaborators, so it's a very interesting exciting time.


You came from very independent cinema. What can you say to young filmmakers here at SCAD about breaking into the industry?

BOYEGA: Well, the many opportunities that I was given was based off somebody elses dream. Like 'Attack the Block', the first independent film I did, was based on years of work director Joe Cornish and production company Big Talk had done. It just goes to show how important a consistent work ethic is, like to provide opportunities for other collaborators to come and vibe with you and essentially make magic. I think with that type of work, I'm talking about acting, I hope the artists out here in the room are proactive when they start to make films and short films and, like me, meet with people who are like minded to create magic so feature film could be a good place.


What do you think about the independent film world today? Do you think sky is the limit or is it on the decline? There are a lot of doomsayers out there today.

BOYEGA: There's always going to be doomsayers, but at the end of the day that's not something to fixate on. If there is an issue, indeed to a certain extent there is a drought of original stories and it's hard to get funding for very unique ideas unless you have a really massive portfolio. The more people we have aiming towards that kind of creative freedom putting more different stories at the forefront, of not only commercial success but creative success as well, will keep it going. Festivals like this are a great way of being a factor because most of the movies that come through here, actors get to come and talk to the audience. I think that really helps.


Interview by Vanessa McMahon

About John Boyega by SCAD: John Boyega captured worldwide attention for his starring role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He will reprise his role as Finn in Star Wars: The Last Jedi later this year. Most recently, Boyega starred in director Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit, the true story of the civil unrest and riots that sieged Detroit for five days during the summer of 1967. Boyega recently wrapped filming on Pacific Rim: Uprising, his next franchise-leading role, which he is also producing through his production company, UpperRoom Productions. His other film credits include Imperial Dreams and Attack the Block.

Actor John Boyega during 20th Anniversary SCAD Savannah Film Festival

Actor John Boyega onstage at 'Detroit' Q&A during 20th Anniversary SCAD Savannah Film Festival on November 2, 2017 in Savannah, Georgia. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for SCAD)

About SCAD Savannah Film Festival: Celebrating its 20 th anniversary, the festival, and the competition, provides SCAD students with opportunities as unique as the selected films. Students from every academic discipline connect with leaders from the entertainment industry through master classes, coffee talks, lectures, workshops and panel discussions. Savannah, a premier film hub in the Southeast, promotes quality movies produced by independent and studio filmmakers. Tickets and passes are available for purchase online at, by telephone at 912.525.5050, or in person at the Trustees Theater, located at 216 E. Broughton St., Savannah. Visit for a complete list of films and screening locations or follow the festival on Facebook and on Twitter @savfilmfest and use the hashtag #SAVFF.