Friday, 14 October 2016

Malcolm Benson speaking about his award winning film RETURN OF THE DON! (Interview- Part 2)

Right, on to Return Of The Don. How gangster are you Malcolm? Zero. I’m not a gangster at all but I feel that in films you have to solve social issues. You have to look at why you are making the film. You have to think why people would even bother to look at the film- what issue are you trying to address; is it having any impact or are you just trying to make an impact for no particular reason? To me, I have followed the issue of gun crime and gang issues of young people in this country and if this is the only way I can shed a bit of light on it without glamourizing the gang, then so be it. To me, it’s saying these are the issues our politicians and the government are not really addressing properly. The only time we hear about gangs and gun crime is when another young person is shot dead and it comes on TV, we hear about it and after that it ends; nothing else happens. You see young people who are tagged as bad people but what have you done for them to help them get out of crime? They are being used as criminals to facilitate criminal acts and they are vulnerable because they have nothing better to do. What can the government do to change their way of life? Even if what they are doing is there it’s not good enough to solve the issues. With film you can actually shed some light and leave it to those young people to use their intelligence to say, ‘those are the likely consequences of my actions and I might be able to learn one or two things from this.’ To me, I’m more or less trying to highlight the issue of domestic violence. We need to make films that address issues like that which people are not fully aware of. We see people everyday but we are not aware of what they are going through at home. With film we’re not going to change the world but we are going to expose some of those things so people can get some kind of help through the film.

MA Benson & Aida Emeliya Nova
I think the film is proper gangster! You can imagine the Cray Twins or something like that. What sort of research did you have to do to recreate the authentic gangster feel?  I have researched and watched other gangster films. In the beginning I was watching just as entertainment but when it comes to actually making my film I watched those films again to see the meaning of why things happen, the under-pinning rationale behind some of the actions the characters took. I was looking at it as if it was a documentary, as a learning process rather than just watching a film. If someone is watching a film just to entertain themselves and someone brings out a gun they can sit there saying, 'Kill him, kill him,' because they are into the film and not interested in the moralities of who is being victimised or whatever. But when you’re trying to address an issue you’ve got to read between the lines and try to understand. I have researched films like The Godfather, Wolf of New York and a few more from Hollywood and the UK. There was a documentary I saw with Trevor McDonald where he did some good grass roots research into gangsters on ITV and the way he explored really helped my research as he was telling what happens and why they do what they do. Those are the people who have been gangsters for a long time and have come out of it and are telling their story of why and what they did and what it means to them now that they are no longer gangsters. That helped me a lot. I’m not really into gangster films but I looked at them for the purpose of what I want to achieve.

Return of the Don has a very intriguing story line and is unpredictable. Is that how your mind is? Do you keep on squirreling with ideas? My mind is very reflective. I know I’m serving a purpose and with the way the film’s gone so far what’s come back to me is what I put out there… what it’s going to do and the potential it has. I feel its self-actualisation has been established where you have something in your mind, your goal in life and you feel you have done it. It hasn’t been very easy at all but you are able to do it. I kind of sit back and enjoy all the things that come with the film- all the thoughts, the reflections,  the learning curves and  the people I’m  meeting through the film; the generic overall, so I’m sitting back reflecting and it helps me to face any challenge I will come across.
Steve McTigue and Paul Van Beaumont
Right, you have your script together and you’re about to cast. What kinds of things are you looking for in your actors? I always believe and look for genuine actors who are natural. People that understand what a character is all about; not just performers. These are different things. Performers are just performing but they do not understand the under pinning rationale behind how that character was created. It’s not about you as a person, it’s about the character. Are you able to be that character and bring that character to life? If a character is supposed to be a psychopath, you might not be a psychopath yourself as an individual, but you need to understand that when you become that character you have to become a psychopath. You cannot be a normal human being pretending to become a psychopath, it’s two different things- pretending to be something and being something. The person that played my psychopath was Aida Emeliya Nova and she’s Eastern European. When you see a character, especially when you have written or are directing the film, a character that hits the button- I kind of feel that this is a talent I have. I have a good eye for picking characters and it just comes very naturally to me. I see a script, read it, see the development of the characters then I see a person wanting to be that character and you can easily tell if they can do it. I could have been a casting director as I have cast my few films really well. I have had help from casting directors but they haven’t taken over and I have always picked good actors. My film, Ortega and His Enemies won best actor and best actress in Beverley Hills Film Awards, Darrell Las Quevas, Ortega and Adi Alfa who played Sarah have both done very well in other projects.

Amanda Lara Kay
Did the actors take the characters in slightly different directions to the way you had anticipated? Yes, again it’s about give and take in production where the director gives the actor and the actor gives the director ideas in return. It’s where the actor understands what the director is trying to achieve and not what the actor wants to achieve. My actors, I really love them to bits because they come in with a lot of great ideas but they want to know, what do you want? So they give you options and do not come and say, ‘this is how I see this character.’ It’s not how you see it, it’s how the director sees it so basically my actors came on and for example one of the mafia wives, Amanda Lara Kay, she played Dana Ackerman, she came in and said, ‘what accent do you want?’ She gave me different options  and she’s English and I just wanted to keep it that way but at least she was able to offer different accents and it’s great that she’s thinking outside the box. What really thrilled me is how Steve McTigue was able to become this Jack Ackerman to the full potential of what Jack’s supposed to be. The voice  he brought in- I didn’t tell him anything about that voice but he gave me the way Jack sounded and that was his original creation so I very happily embraced it. He nailed that and he was able to keep it going, not forgetting how the voice sounded, and he was able to come back tomorrow or next week and speak like Jack Ackerman. When it comes to looks I wanted Jack to wear a hat and dress in suits so he’s more the part which he did and it was really well delivered.

You opened up with a helicopter. Where did the inspiration for that come from? Well at the end of the day we have to recognise that this is a film entertainment industry. We have to entertain as well as tell the story. You don’t just go, you give people something to catch their imagination from that opening sequence. If it’s ten seconds, or fifteen minutes- whatever, the opening has to have something to get their attention or you’ll probably lose your audience. We need to come in in a big way and make an impact. That’s getting the commercial value for the film. When you are flying in a helicopter people will know you’re not just broke detectives. When you’re looking at gangsters that are controlling the city you want to come in air, land and sea. They’re coming in on a helicopter because they’ve got to survey the area, make sure it’s safe and that no one’s hiding somewhere and then you land. It shows the commercial element so the audience takes your film seriously. That was the rationale behind the original script and we had to embed it in.

Return Of The Don is doing well with twenty two award nominations isn’t it. Yes, twenty two and counting at the moment; it’s been amazing. I’ve got the Canada International Film Festival Awards exceptional merit. I have the Hollywood International Moving Pictures award and I actually won them, not just nominations, and I won accolades. Some producers and directors who have won accolades have actually gone on to win Oscars, so I kind of feel Okay, perhaps it’s an indication that one day, just one day I might win an Oscar. Never say never. I have to think big and dream big- who knows. Depth of Field Film International Awards, LA and it just goes on. The whole list are on my website. London Independent Film Festival awards, Festival International, Cannes- I went to Cannes twice to premier the film. It’s still rolling and I’ll be heading to L.A. and am expecting something out of it. The nominations just keep coming; what can I say?

Amey StCyr Paul Van Beaumont Aida Emeliya Nova Lucien Morgan

So what’s your plan for Return Of The Don? You’ve had your premier at the Imax Cinema Waterloo so what are the next moves? Return Of The Don, I do have a distributor for the U.K. and we are looking to distribute from October, that’s the plan. This is for the cinema and we’re finalising everything we need. We have a strategy for distribution and it’s more like limited theatrical that we have planned for now to kick off with before we go full scale, depending on how the limited one goes. I’ve got another screening booked for 12th November at the Genesis Cinema, Mile End. That will be a very special release for those who didn’t see the actual premier at the BFI Imax. People can book straight away so tickets don’t run out like they did at the BFI one; they can go online and book that one. We have distribution for Japan and Hong Kong at the moment and that is for video on demand. We are also targeting the United States. I had an invitation by the New World Cinemas to premiere the film in New York and we’re still talking about that to see how realistically it will pan out. But my main focus at the moment is to get the film out there and to really get enough eyeballs to see the film. That’s the whole idea. I’m more interested in mass distribution, bearing in mind that I got number 23 in the UK box office for the opening weekend. It would have been great to keep that momentum going but based on the advice I had it was decided to delay the distribution till October so that we can gather some energy while we get the plans put together. I’m always open to advice when working with other people. It’s all about teamwork, yeah.

When you’re saying you’re 23 at the box office is that up against all of the big blockbuster movies as well? Absolutely, that is absolutely correct. We were up against all the films that were screened in the UK that weekend. The entire film figures were reported to Box Office Mojo and other figures were reported through agencies, so Return Of The Don is there on record- number 23 UK Box Office, and is accessible for Friday 17th June on Box Office Mojo, for that weekend.

How did you feel when you saw that your film had reached number 23 on the billboard? It was an amazing moment and I couldn’t quite believe it. You never know what the figures are like with the others and always assume that all these big blockbuster films will be on top and you’re gonna be right at the bottom. So when I looked at the films I saw Return Of The Don had passed I was thinking, with all of the money they pour into these films how can this happen? Obviously I was thrilled and at the same time encouraged because my film that had no known actors whatsoever could get in the record books because at the end of the day it’s always referenceable. Anyone can flag it up, it’s not deletable. What was at number one? I don’t remember! And has it been done before? It might well have but I would have to do deeper research to see, but I was very excited.

Your final words Malcolm? Making a film is not rocket science, all it takes is enthusiasm.

Big thanks to Malcolm and we wish him much continued success with Return Of The Don and his film making career!

Link to part 1: My Reality

Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician Contact:

'The MVisa V.I.P Experience Contest 2016'~ Enter Wayne Marshall's Contest to WIN your experience HERE!!!

Heritage Music Artist Host 2nd Competition To Highlight 10th Year MVisa Award Ceremony.
The MVisa V.I.P Experience Contest 2016

To celebrate his performance at the forthcoming 10th Anniversary MVisa Awards Ceremony. R&B/Soul Singer Wayne Marshall is launching another amazing competition where the winner will be treated like a celebrity for one night. This is part of a series of competitions with some amazing prizes up for grabs, to create opportunities for business and create experiences for the community.

Wayne Marshall wants to give a lucky person and guest the chance to be given celebrity status for one whole night, straight through until the morning.  In order to achieve this, the singer is running a special competition that culminates on 29th October 2016 at the ICC Arena in Birmingham where the winner and their guest will be given the ultimate red carpet treatment.

The winner & a guest will win;
·      VIP entry into the event with exclusive access to the VIP area where they will mingle with the stars and celebrities.
·      Seating in a prime location within the event
·      3 Course 3 star Michelin inspired menu
·      Champagne and waiter table service
·      Tickets to the exclusive star studded after party

A Wayne Marshall Goodie Bag which will contain a Chocolate Hamper from Paul Wayne Gregory Chocolates Ltd and a Rum Package from Morant Bay Distillery Ltd.  More prizes will be announced.

Fan of celebrities and music fans are already calling this a “fantastic competition”.  Managing Editor of Essex Magazine Lorna Onabanjo said “It’s an amazing opportunity for someone from the public, to experience how celebrities are treated at events”.

Entering the contest is as easy as [a-b-c,] Logon to: Wayne Marshall Contest Facebook Page:  Select the correct answer from a simple multiple choice question:

·      Which TV Program has Will Johnson or Fiona Wade not appeared in?
·      Select your correct answer
·      Press Enter
·      That’s it, you are entered  and the winner will be chosen randomly by a computer program
·      The winners will be announced 23rd Oct
·      You’ll also be encouraged to like the MVisa Facebook Page and Wayne Marshall Contest Facebook Page.  This will only be a suggestion not a contest requirement

One Click Links:
WM Contest Link         
PWG Chocolates           
Morant Bay Rum             
Essex Magazine/TV       


Mark Galloway
PR & Communications
Wayne Marshall Marketing
Tel: 07774666060

Address: 101, Stratford Workshops, Burford Road, London E15 2SP, United Kingdom

To share your event contact:

Friday, 7 October 2016

Tama Ra Soiree - Celebrate Black History Month in True Style!!!


TAMA RA SOIREE ~ THE PLACE to be this October where you will celebrate Black History to the full! Guests will be welcomed in traditional style with a Rum Punch Reception, ambience created by Metronomes Steel Orchestra.

Your host for the night is Lady Paulette, and popular D.J’s Daddy Ernie, DJ Piper, Zommer D, DJ Boots and Bumpy G – will be adding some spice to the evening's entertainment.

Events will kick off with the launch of Reuben P Joseph's Pride of the Motherland fashion showcase, "Black is Beautiful." Next you will be treated to a tasty 3 course Caribbean Buffet, accompanied by exciting African drumming and awesome acrobatic display from multi- talented Emanuel the Magnificent. 

Excitement will be in the air as the winners of "New Face of Pink" competition are revealed by Luster Products Inc, leading straight into an historical musical journey exploring the genres Jazz, Reggae and Soul; courtesy of the Gary Crosby Trio who will entertain you with popular songs from popular artists!

Sat 15 Oct 2016, 19:00 –
Sun 16 Oct 2016, 01:00
Holiday Inn London - Kensington Forum
97 Cromwell Road

NEXT MOVES>>> If you’re out and about on London’s Streets keep your eyes open for the Face of Pink Taxi Cab- if you speak with the driver you will win yourself a free ticket! Alternatively you can book on line via Eventbrite   Video Info relating to the Cab.

For more information call: 0203 654 2074 or check out the following links. PREVIEW VIDEO
Social Media:  Tamara Events    Twitter   Facebook   Pinterest

Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician    Email:

Thursday, 6 October 2016

My Reality! ~Malcolm Benson Award Winning Film Maker tells his story.

Malcolm at The Nollywood Actors Guild by Jermaine Sanwoolu
Back in June I was fortunate to attend the film premiere ‘Return Of The Don,’ having been invited by lead actor Paul Van Beaumont who plays villain Charlie Reid. This proved to be an excellent film and has since won awards with more nominations in the pot. Malcolm Benson wrote and directed this gem of a film in which he explores the horrors that can occur when gang life goes drastically wrong. Rather than just discussing the film I also wanted to tap into Malcolm’s passions and motivation to reveal a little of his personality; this interview will be presented in two parts. Today part one reveals a little of Malcolm’s personality and how he projects his personal feelings, particularly towards traffic restrictions, into film! Part two is mainly related to the execution of  ‘Return of the Don,’ and its impact..

How did you become interested in film making? For me, film making was something that always looked fascinating to do. I’ve always envied producers and directors; the likes of Spike Lee and Denzel Washington. I followed these people and I kind of felt that if I’m not acting in it I should be making it. I’ve always enjoyed going to cinemas and seen myself as someone who would end up in the film making industry. For me the passion has always been there and eventually I felt to thank God that he has really given me the edge to step up and live my dream.

Have you had to undertake a lot of learning in order to create your films? Yes, when I started I went on a few academies. I went on Robert McKee’s Storylogue and basically Robert McKee is the one that pushed the likes of Quentin Tarantino. I found that he was coming to London to run a storylogue for a week and that was an inspiration so I thought yes, let me start with that because to make a film if you don’t have the story right there’s no point doing anything. To me, a good story that  has all the subliminal symbolisms within it tells you the work is half done. So I went on his course and then went to do a few projects at Raindance and the rest of them. There are other film producers that always come here to do seminars and courses on films. What I didn’t do was to go into full scale academy and do an MA in film making. I was always thinking no, that would take me too much time so I did what I had to do to get enough experience to be able to decide yes, ok let me go and film. In which year did you start going to courses? It was about eight years ago when I started with Robert McKee

What was your first film? My first film was, ‘Phantom of Fury.’ It was a short film, ten minutes, about a young man who is basically struggling to abide by the law; because I find in this society we are always rebellious about the rules and regulations and try to look for ways to get off the hook and basically do things our own way, so we feel that the rules and regulations are there to be broken. We do what we have to do sometimes even if it’s not necessary.

Having said that, I’m going to ask you, what rules and regulations do you feel like breaking? Laugh-parking rules, especially where you have to get somewhere and there are no provisions for you to park your car. You find that they just put all these double yellow lines everywhere. Sometimes it’s just so un-necessary and you are thinking, 'WHY and HOW' are these people expecting you to access? I know they’re trying to control the area to make sure people don’t block up everywhere but sometimes there is no provision and some of the routes are just so ridiculous to be honest. Especially the operational hours when they say, don’t park until 6.30 or 8.30- leaving you thinking, why not from 5? It’s just so different in different streets or on different routes and so you have to read and read to actually understand it. As soon as you make one mistake you come back to a massive fine on your windscreen. It’s just unbelievable! So would you rather be a rebel and pay the fine or not be a rebel? I always pay the fine but I pay it gradually because the penalties are just overwhelming. If it’s just £20 I pay it quick but some are as high as £100 for a simple mistake and they don’t have a proper procedure for appealing against it. It’s just a racquet- they do it to make money without any proper explanation to account for what they are using the money for.

At Benalex Studio
You mentioned that you have made four films, what where the others before Return of the Don? They are, ‘Forget The Pact,’ (starring Mo George,) a 10 minute short film. Basically it’s about three friends who made a pact not to get romantically involved with each other. You know what happens when you break the pact that you’ve made- it’s gonna turn nasty! The next one was Ortega and His Enemies.’ It’s like an extended story telling emanating from my initial first film Phantom of Fury. Basically the idea was to develop that film and get into full phasure. It’s really about a young man who has issues with his anger management who is basically trying to get into a relationship, but obviously with the issues he has trying to manage his anger and with his family, in the end he had to fight the system and run out the country.

What drew you to the subject and where does your experience come from? For Ortega and his enemies the inspiration came from my personal experience which I mentioned earlier. The subtext itself actually depicted most of the issues I’ve had with parking attendants. When you see the film you see how Ortega ended up from a normal life to the point his fiancĂ©e was ticketed. It wasn’t her fault- basically she went to get a parking ticket but the machine wasn’t working and she had already put her money in. Before she could come back they had basically clamped her and given her a penalty. Ortega then takes on the issue to resolve but cannot resolve it because of his anger issues. It’s more reflective of my personal experience because I’ve been bailed a number of times for parking somewhere  I’m not supposed to. It’s not what I have done but I was thinking it!

Benalex media Part two, RETURN OF THE DON to follow shortly!

Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician     Email:

Sunday, 25 September 2016

I AM THE SUN- Poem by Jaz McKenzie


I am the sun shining brightly in your orbit, life-giving light
I am the raindrops falling to earth, mingling with the dust and dirt
creating hope in barren land
I am the wind rousing you from sleep in the dead of night awakening your senses
and at first light, I am the dawn chorus setting a beautiful tone for a perfect day
I am the power, within... and without my power there is nothing
Everything is Everything
The life force flowing freely from whence it came
in constant evolution embracing imperfection within perfect harmony
I am the sun. You are the sun.
Light and life will forever vibrate hand in hand
Granting wisdom, knowledge and understanding of eternal truth.
Jaz McKenzie ©2016

A friend and I were speaking about enlightenment last week. It was dark and he challenged me: 'Jaz, can you see the sun?' I said no so he told me I'm not enlightened yet. Fact is, sometimes we are not really thinking beyond the obvious. I thought about it later and considered the teachings, for want of a better word, that I have been studying the last couple of years. The major thing I have learnt is that everything is related because everything is a vibration and we all ultimately come from one source. This is my take and I know many of you will not agree. What we do know is that we all have our version of the truth and we are all here celebrating or commiserating life on this planet.

I believe each of us has more power than we were born to believe and are capable of achieving great things. Whether these are outcomes to be noted by friends and family or worldwide achievements remains to be seen, but we were born to do something. I like the idea that I am the sun- therefore I shine eternally, brilliant thought!

Have to say the picture contains great memories of zooming across East Anglian last month- wonderful summer memories to add to the vibe.

Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician Contact:

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Long Time - Arrow

Play and listen time! This is a song that has such a joyful vibe it's just great to listen to as the summer is slowly ebbing away making way for Autumn, well that's what's happening here in the UK. Life is about enjoying yourself and just recently I find I keep starting the day with this old time party tune. Soca music is sooo good for lifting your spirits and makes a nice reprieve from daily tasks- especially if you've been stuck in front of the computer. This particular tune brings back memories for me and I will dedicate it to a family friend who recently passed on from this life.

Let's Jam Jam, have fun and maintain a joyful vibe so that we are constantly in a good place where we will be more inclined to make better decisions and treat people well. Arrow produce fantastic party music and that is something to give thanks for. Of course, there are many different types of music that lift our spirits, especially from hot countries such as those in the Caribbean, Latin America or even Spain- salsa, flamenco and all associated dances so there is no excuse to sit around feeling miserable. Party time or serious times, music always fits the bill. I'm sure my friend Norman is happily jamming elsewhere and maybe I'll add this to my final playlist!

Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician  email:

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Tonnero - Street Code (Official Music Video)

Tony Tonnero has been one of my Facebook friends for quite some time and I believe I shared one of Tony's songs on Its Braap a long way back. His latest recording 'Street Code,' is a proper Dancehall anthem designed to involve you in nurturing the belief that Better Must Come. I love everything about this up-lifting tune from its energy to Tony's all consuming message. The video accompanyiny his song is very interesting and I really hope this single takes Tony's career to a new level. As you can see, Tony has merchandised his project which is more of a campaign than simply a song.

Last year we saw huge success for artist Nesbeth Greg whose song ''My Dream' received international acclaim even receiving airplay on both BBC1 Xtra and Capital Xtra radio stations. If Tony manages to promote this track to the max I imagine it could impact the international music stage.
Interview with Nesbeth

Play, Join in and Share! Be your own inspiration and create your own destiny.

Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician Email: