Lanre Olabisi: Writer & Director

My NativeAdVantage:


Lanre Olabisi is a writer/director whose two feature films August the First and Somewhere in the Middle have been screened in over 70 film festivals combined, winning the top prize in 10. His films have played at the SXSW Film Festival and the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival and have been nominated for an IFP Gotham Award and a Black Reel Award. Both August the First and Somewhere in the Middle are distributed by Film Movement. They can now be found on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, iTunes and Vudu. Lanre has received grants from the Jerome Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) and the Urban Artists Initiative.

What do I do best?

I know that I have an ability to inspire people.  The times when I do it the best is when I am really passionate about something.  There are three things in this world that I am really passionate about:

1.    Filmmaking

2.    Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu/MMA/Wrestling

3.    Personal development

If I am talking about any of those things then I will have the ability to inspire anyone on the planet.

What makes me the best version of myself?

One thing that I think that I have that has gotten me to where I am today is my drive.  The fact of the matter is that I don’t give up.  No matter what.  I keep going.  When something gets me down, just like everyone it takes me a bit to get over it, but I will never let that stop me.  

What are my aspirations?

I want to help others to fulfill their dreams as I also fulfill my own.

My Biggest Success?

Probably the fact that I was able to raise over 100K with Kickstarter in order to make my second film. That is something that less than 1% of the projects on Kickstarter are able to accomplish and everyone told me I was a fool to try to raise that much because the odds were so stacked against me.  It was nice to prove all of them wrong.

My Most Challenging Moment?

All of the really juicy stuff is not something that I would say in a public forum and all of the other stuff that I could say would seem very trite, so I am going to skip this question altogether.

My Motto?

Be happy.

My Favorite People/Role Models?

Toni Morrison for her prose, Stanley Kubrick for his meticulous attention to detail in his filmmaking,  Obama…because he’s Obama and my wife because she is amazing.

My Favorite Places/Destinations?

Spain and Cuba.  I lived in Spain for three and a half years and I have been to Cuba five times.  They are both very different, but they are both very amazing.  I would recommend them to anyone.

My Favorite Products/Objects?

It would probably be my desktop computer.  It’s a Mac.  A MacPro to be exact.  I think I love it so much because it is from 2006.  There is a piece of me that feels that I should move on already and get a new computer, but then when I think about it – the computer that I have is still fast (I have 32GB of RAM) and it does everything that I need it to do.  Why should I get another one?  The only real answer to that is that it is getting harder and harder to run my old programs with newer computers, but until the day that it comepletely fails, I think I am going to hang onto my oooooooold MAC.

My Current Passions?

My latest screenplay, A Storybook Ending, is a “black” comedy set in Brooklyn. It is also a highly stylized noir that unfolds through shifting time frames as it explores contemporary race relations experienced by multiple characters whose lives intersect thanks to a single, life-changing event.

In a nutshell, it's about a black man who accidentally kills a white cop and then tries to get away with it.

The script is super fun and I can’t wait to direct it.