Paperboy Love Prince Runs for Mayor

Filmmaker Q&A with Director Owen Dubeck

Is there a particular documentary film or filmmaker that had a major influence on your career?

The Act of Killing in many ways has guided the stories I’ve wanted to tell. My favorite documentaries are the ones that have unique access, where if it weren’t for that filmmaker at the right place at the right time, the story never would have been told. 

What motivated you to make your impact video?

In Paperboy, I saw a community activist making a tangible impact in their community. At the same time, it felt like people were only seeing their performance art / viral antics and there was a much deeper story to be told here. When they decided to run for mayor, it gave us the framework to tell a compelling story.

Please tell us what camera(s) you shot with primarily – and any other special equipment that you used and why you used it: 

We used a RED Komodo with a 24-70mm Canon lens. The whole rig fit in my backpack which was crucial for one-man-banding it and keeping a low profile while moving around the city.

Please tell us about any special styles or techniques that you used during the production of your film to help tell your story. 

I drew a lot of inspiration from the many verite films that shoot roughly at 35mm close to the participant on camera. This creates an intimate fly on the wall feel that I enjoyed. 

How did your story evolve from day one, to the very last day in post? Is your story what you thought it would be? 

I created this film early on in my filmmaking career, so a lot of the story was found in post. On day one, I was documenting the election campaign but unsure which key theme we were honing in on. After the first rough cut and advisors giving feedback, it became more clear which direction we should head in.

Please describe the most rewarding experience you had while making this impact video: 

Filming this was fun. We traveled around the city I grew up in on a bedazzled school bus while Paperboy rapped ontop of it. Every day was a new unexpected adventure.

What advice can you give to other impact filmmakers?

For a short doc where the story is still unfolding, it can help a ton to start editing while still in production. I wish I had done more of that in this project. We would have shot the last week of the campaign a bit differently if we had found the core of the story by then.

What’s your favorite part about the filmmaking process and why?

For me it’s always been about going to new places and meeting people I can learn from. Every time I create a doc, I feel like I become a little more like the people in the film. It’s taught me so much about life and I’m really grateful to have this unique experience where we get to immerse ourselves in the perspective of others. 

What’s the one item you always take with you when working out in the field and why?

For this one, I always had a MetroCard. We were bouncing around to all boroughs while filming this and it was so important to find ways to be agile. 

Please share a personal story about your experience making this film.

There’s a scene where Paperboy crashes the debates and raps in front of the building where the discussions are being held. Paperboy’s videographer had texted an hour before that they were headed down there, so I quickly grabbed my camera gear and hopped on the subway. I got there just before Paperboy’s bus rounded the corner. I ran up the block, hopped in the bus and started rolling. A few moments later, Paperboy hopped out of the bus, rapping to the audience. They got lifted in the air, confetti was flying, and they created an electric atmosphere at an otherwise stale event. 

Within 20 minutes, it was all done. Paperboy drove away and to this day it’s the most fun thing I’ve ever filmed. I’m so glad it made it into the film.

Can you describe any obstacles you encountered in making your film and/or in your distribution/exhibition efforts?

Distribution was tough for this one which is why the film still isn’t publicly available. I made this at a point where doc distribution seemed to start to go downhill, and I wasn’t aware of the landscape of what existed. There were many lessons learned, but I still have confidence that this film will find a home where it thrives.

What do you want audiences to take away from your film?

I want people to question who they want to be represented by and if the mechanics of their political system exclude grassroots activists and community leaders. 

Please list key points that should be covered in a post-screening discussion: 

Money in Politics, LGBTQ+ Representation, Diverse Representation, Music & Politics

Please provide information on any recent developments regarding the issue or subjects of the video. How have things changed or not changed?

Paperboy is currently running for President of the United States! They will also continue running for City Council until they win. 

What opportunities are available for those interested in getting further involved?

If you live in Brooklyn, you can volunteer at the Paperboy Love Prince Love Gallery to help hand out food assistance, HIV test kits, and participate in community clean ups. 

Please provide any additional resources (websites, links to additional videos, forms, articles, etc.) relevant to the context of the issue discussed in your video: 

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