The highly anticipated feature film, Destined, written and directed by Qasim Basir, will make it’s world premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival (LAFF) on Monday, June 6. “The film explores the idea of destiny by following one man, Rasheed, whose life splits off into two possible outcomes: In one, he becomes an up-and-coming architect being used by cynical real estate developers to gentrify his old neighborhood; and in the other he becomes a powerful drug lord who rules his surroundings but may regret what he’s built.” Destined will be Basir’s follow-up to his feature film directorial debut Mooz-Lum.
We had the opportunity to speak with Codie Elaine Oliver, one of the producers of the film, about shooting the film in Detroit, the premise and inspiration behind the film, and how she made the transition to a full time producer. Check out the interview below and be sure to purchase tickets to this powerful film HERE.
In your own words, what is Destined about?
A young boy gets into an unfortunate altercation with the police. This altercation splits his life into two possible outcomes. In one outcome, he is arrested, and in the other outcome he is not arrested. It’s an incredibly powerful story about the choices that we make, and how we claim our own destiny.
Exploring parallel worlds and destiny is extremely powerful. What was the inspiration behind this story?
The duality that is necessary as a black person and as a black man is the inspiration behind this story. The director, Qasim Basir, was born in Detroit and spent a good portion of his childhood in Anne Arbor, Michigan and this story is related to his experiences navigating between both worlds. Regardless of whether you are a drug dealer or an architect, you are still the same person on the inside, and this film explores that dichotomy.
How did you become apart of this project?
I went to USC and graduated with a Masters in Producing, and worked for Fox Searchlight for a year before working at Film Independent and the LA Film Festival. I spent a lot of time championing filmmakers, and it was wonderful to be able to find, nurture, provide resources, and get to know numerous filmmakers. Film Independent was a great opportunity for me; however, I always knew that I wanted to make my own films. Tommy Oliver is one of the main producers of the film and he is also my husband. Our project slate began to increase, and I realized that working a full time job was going to have to come to an end in order to fully focus on these projects.
As Destined began to go into production in late 2014, I made the decision to be a full time producer on the film and moved to Detroit where the film was shooting. I had not worked on a feature since I worked at Fox Searchlight, so it was great to utilize my talents on something that I am very passionate about and help bring this film to light.
How was the transition from Film Independent to working as a full time film producer?
It’s still a transition (laughter). I made the transition late 2014. On the production side of things, I knew what I was doing. We went to Detroit, and even though we weren’t too familiar with the city, we were able to figure things out quickly, and make it happen. Once we came back, I had to get use to working from home everyday where I was developing material, fundraising etc. On a personal level, the transition was really about me finding the discipline to self-start on a day-to-day basis. It has been very rewarding and I enjoy making my own schedule, but it has been a major transition. I have also been able to learn a lot from my husband because at the time of my transition, he had been doing this for 6 years.
What was the most rewarding aspect of the production process?
The film explores the powerful premise of dual worlds, which is something that you don’t see very often in films with African American characters. I am thrilled to be apart of something that is so different for us. Q (Qasim Basir), made a great effort to make this a Detroit movie, and Detroit is one of the main characters in this film. I actually fell in love with the city while I was there, and to have the opportunity to support the economy there in terms of hiring crew, utilizing hotels, and other locations while experiencing the city and it’s growth was a lot of fun.
What feeling would you like the audience to take away from this film?
I hope that after seeing this film, the audience will reflect on their own life choices. This is the kind of film that will leave you with questions that you will either be able to answer or the questions that will spark a debate. Everything that takes place in this film is extremely strategic, so we hope that this allows people to truly reflect on their own life choices, and realize that it’s never too late to change courses.
Screening Time/Date: June 6th @ 9:00pm & June 7th @ 4:25pm Tickets can be found HERE
Produced by Tommy Oliver via and his Confluential Films banner (1982, Kinyarwanda), Rick Rosenthal, and Matt Ratner. Ths cast includes Margot Bingham, Jesse Metcalfe, Jason Dohring, Zulay Henao, Hill Harper, La La Anthony, Paula Devicq, James McCaffrey, Mo McRae, and Robert Christopher Riley.
Co-Producers are Billy Mulligan, Codie Elaine Oliver, Eddie Rubin, and Sultan Sharrief.
Exec Producers are Tom Rau, Walter Thurmond, Cory Hardrict, Hill Harper, Hassan Golzari, Bert Kern, Arun Kumar, and Nick Morton.