The Real Interview
with Madd Russian
The Official Interview from Jane-Finch.com By Brett Clarkson Conducted on November 8, 2005 Questions:
1. First of all, tell us a little bit about Madd Russian. Who are you?
I am a 22 year old immigrant from Russia thatís lived out here for a little over 10 years. Basically almost half my life. Been a hip hop fan for as long as I can remember and rep the city always.
2. The Real Toronto is being talked about all over the city, both on the streets and in the media. Did you anticipate this much attention when you were making the film?
I expected it to be a huge hit on the streets. I knew it was gonna be big. In terms of the media, I never expected City Pulse and other newscasts to jump all over this DVD the way they did. Once City Pulse 24 got at me through email, I refused to comment, so they still ran their piece on the DVD, which was a total misconception of what the DVD was about.
3. What motivated you to shoot The Real Toronto? You must have had a greater goal beyond just wanting to show a bunch of gang bangers showing off their guns.
I was motivated by the fact that people donít see the struggle out here. I wanted to show the reality out here, the way people are living. The Real Toronto DVD voiced the opinions of people who many don't even know exist in this city. Toronto is not all just Rosedale and Forest Hill, time for people to see the reality. To show the other side of Toronto that people donít know about was my goal.
4. Were you ever fearful or nervous for your own safety while making the film?
Never. I am from Russia and learned that if you are scared thatís when situations can get out of hand, people will see you as a punk. Plus I am humble and treat everyone with respect, so that wasn't a problem. Everything was cool. 5. Some people say The Real Toronto DVD promotes gun and gang violence. What do you say to that?
There are scenes that show guns on the DVD, thatís true. Itís very far from promoting though, I am gonna repeat it again. Itís showing something thatís going on in the hoods, the every day reality. I see movies about all kinds of topics that I may not enjoy. This is a documentary and should be viewed that way.
6. How were you able to gain access to all these neighborhoods, and secondly, how did you manage to get all these people to let you film them in the first place?
Through the hip hop community. I got some connections to get in the areas, but I donít know any of the people that appear on the DVD. People trusted me, thatís how I got it done.
7. What was the most memorable part of shooting The Real Toronto?
The whole process.
8. Do you think politicians, community leaders, and the media have any clue as to what's going on in the neighborhoods you've documented?
Certain people in the media do. I can only name Dwight Drummond right of the bat. Most have no idea. Thatís why there are no answers to the problems that these communities are going through. The politicians are living in a different reality, they can't relate. One day they on the news says the want to build new playgrounds, community centers for the communities, next day they talking about how to lock people up and impose stricter gun sentences. Every time you lock a man up, you got a kid with a single mom. They want to change something? They can start with Black Creek and fix the basketball court out there. There is many examples of that in the DVD, of things that can be changed for the good. My point is you donít see the media showing that in their late night reports, you see them showing gun violence, gangs and all that when they talking about The Real Toronto DVD. Proves my point.
9. Tell us about your future plans. Is it true there's going to be a sequel to The Real Toronto?
I am gonna work on other projects in the future. I am not going to let my ideas out just yet though. In terms of the sequel, as it stands now most likely not.
Respect to all the supporters. Big up to all my peoples in Toronto and Russia.
We would like to thank Madd Russian for his time in conducting this interview. - Jane-Finch.com Webmaster