Malcolm Lee Visits Regent University

Passionate about movies, filmmaker Malcolm Lee shares his tips and tricks of the trade.

Not everyone can say that they have worked in Hollywood and beaten Martin Scorsese’s ratings with their first feature film. Filmmaker Malcolm Lee can. After experiencing the highs and lows of film school and following in the footsteps of his cousin, Spike Lee, Mr. Lee was ready to write, produce, and direct his own films.

On November 19, Lee addressed students at Regent University in a question and answer session. The session was laid-back and comfortable. The audience sat comfortably in their seats while Lee swiveled back and forth in his chair at the front of the stage. Lee’s easy-going and relaxed demeanor could be noted by his faded jeans and bright orange t-shirt.

The session began with a quick introduction of Lee’s films and accomplishments,  which included achieving box office success with movies such as The Best Man, Undercover Brother and Roll Bounce.

Once Lee started talking, the audience was captivated by his ease and charm. He spoke of attending film school and the knowledge he gained there. Lee noted, “My cousin Spike Lee always told me that I was at film school in order to use the equipment to make movies my way.”

It seems as if this is Lee’s driving force in his career. He makes films his way. After graduating from film school, Lee decided to film a movie he wrote. This movie was titled The Best Man.

During the discussion, an audience member asked how Lee was able make such a quality film on such a low budget. Lee answered, “Most of the cast and crew sacrificed big salaries and put all of our efforts into making a great film”. After several questions, Lee continued to outline his journey in the film industry. His experiences included learning how to shift from genre to genre, having difficult experiences with time restrictions, and enjoying the search to find the right music for his movies.

Lee gave advice to the young filmmakers in the audience, “Be passionate; tell a story only you can tell.” Near the end of the session, Lee expressed his desire to work with Will Smith in an upcoming project and to make a film about Emmett Till, whose death sparked the Civil Rights Movement.

A final question was asked to Lee: “How do you find a balance between making a film from your vision and listening to the advice of others?” Noting the importance of the audience, Lee answered, “Make sure you know who your audience is; I always like to follow my vision and take the advice of others, but my audience is the key to finding balance between the two.”