Seven Questions with Devin O’Guinn

Devin O’Guinn is the director of The Soldier. When a homeless veteran receives news of his former wife dying, he embarks on a journey to reunite with his adult daughter and overcome his PTSD in the process.

1. Who are your film influencers?

My work is influenced by directors like Orson Welles, Francis Ford Coppola, Steven Spielberg, Christopher Nolan, and Ryan Coogler.

2. What are the toughest aspects of making a film today?

The most challenging aspect of filmmaking is funding your next project and coming up with an original idea. Hollywood has been around for over 100 years; whatever idea you think of it has probably already been made.

3. Best advice you’ve received as a filmmaker?

Some of the best advice I received from filmmakers are, “storytelling and emotion always come first,” “Don’t be afraid to fail,” and “learn from your mistakes.”

4. What does it mean to you to be a Black filmmaker or to create films with black stories or characters.

Being in an industry that has been dominated by old white men, we don’t see enough black filmmakers and black stories or characters on the screen. As a black filmmaker myself, it is my responsibility to promote black lead characters in my films in the hope of inspiring the next generation of black filmmakers.

5. What does it mean to you that your film is on Aspire TV and other platforms?

Having my film on AspireTV is a dream come true. When I was in High School, I would watch some of my favorite shows on AspireTV, like, In Living Color and My Wife and Kids. Seeing my film on TV gives me so much confidence as a filmmaker and is a reminder that I can be in this industry as a black filmmaker. I am thankful for AspireTV for putting my film on their platform to share my story with people across the nation.

6. Advice you would give the next gen following you?

If I could give one piece of advice to the next gen, it would be to never give up. No matter how hard things get, it will happen for you if this is what you love to do.

7. Are there any inspirational films, articles or books that you would recommend to go deeper into the topics and themes in your film?

Yes, American Sniper (2014), The Hurt Locker (2008), Thank You For Your Service (2017), and Dead Presidents (1995) which is one of my favorite war films.