You may know him for his early career as a rapper, or for one of the movies he directed, produced, or starred, Mann Robinson is certainly one of the most eclectic artists of our time and very active on the Atlanta scene.
He started writing his first film, K.A.R.M.A., in 2007 which premiered just in Atlanta in 2009. But it is with 2013 and the incorporation of Metro Wealth Film company that his filming career took off. This was the year when Mann began co-directing “On Ten”, a drama TV series staging in Detroit, New York, and Atlanta. Since then he has produced 17 films, directed 13, written 9, and starred 3.
In 2014 Mann moved to Atlanta to attend courses at the Full Sail University first, and then at The Art Institute Of Atlanta. Here launched his own film production house, the Metro Wealth Studios. He also founded the Atlanta Actors Workshop, a company that aims to make local aspiring actors grow and develop their talent.
In the same year, he started to work on the script of “TURNT”, a film inspired by his life experience and what really happens in the backstage of the music industry. The project wants to dissect the nature of the close interconnection between this industry and the street life. First thought as an interview-style documentary, the film evolved as a more ambitious project with Mann as the Director. Thus by mid-2016, Mann began pre-production on “TURNT” the movie. The lead character, Labarius, also known as “Rilla”, was performed by Jamal Woolard. Mann Robinson himself co-starred as his manager, Courtney Thomas, while Co-Producer Torrei Hart, starred as Rita Robinson, a powerful LA Music Producer.
“Slanging Birds”, written by the lead actor/comedian Nick Lewis, was Mann’s first completed work. The comedy starred by renowned comedians such as Tyler Craig, Shawty Shawty, Bo P Barnes, and Tyrone Burston, debuted at the 2017 Orlando Urban Film & Music Festival. Here Mann won ‘First Place’ as an ‘Award Winning Movie Director’ and as a ‘Best Comedy Producer’.
These awards represented a true turning point in the Mann’s career as a filmmaker and director, and when he went back to work on “TURNT” he could count on growing interest from significant sectors of the entertainment industry. This led Mann to cast more actors and alter the script with new scenes several times to reach the right balance and a new equilibrium of the storytelling. The movie was released in January 2020 and now you can watch “TURNT” on the platforms of Amazon Prime and Tubi TV.
Every Wednesday Mann registers a podcast titled “Behind The Scenes with Mann Robinson” for Blackfilm.com, Spotify, and iTunes in which he teaches the ‘best practices’ of indie-filmmaking. This podcast from an award-winning film director with over 10 years of experience will give you invaluable information on several topics like what camera you should use for example, or how to become a better storyteller or even the various options you have to fund your project and more.
Mann Robinson’s TURNT
I suppose you might be one of those types that knows how to rate movies these days. Sure, sit there and be hesitant to give anything but a negative review of someone’s work based on experience. I can tell you from my past work that this can be far from the case when it comes to the hard work of author/director Mann Robinson. Whether you know his work or not, depends on how much you like cinema? And just like music style, you better get strapped-in to be blown away by his ground-breaking story he has to tell in TURNT.
Let me tell you a little story about African-American directors, or are you shy to scroll away? It’s a hard topic to cover, being that I’m a white guy who knows the hard-core beats that made Bell Biv DeVoe and Paris so unlikely in the rap and hip-hop circles known-by-name. That kind of uncertainty that you feel in your stomach whether a film from someone you don’t think is keeping it real, is making a difference? I am putting my foot down and letting you know, this is as hard-core as it gets; and this is where the story starts!
TURNT is not your average life on the streets saga. Don’t come into this film looking at finely photographed images and sleek lines. If there ever was a progressive project that gives a look at what it takes to get into the music business, this is going to give you an honest look at the real world as it really is. Then again, if you could do better, I think Mann would tell you differently than just watching the trailer. Since directing such an impressive cast is on the same level as I’ve seen with others who are now A-list directors like James Gunn and Jim Cameron.
Do you know how they got there? Do you know what it took to go from schlock and shock films that include Galaxy of Terror and Tromeo and Juliet? It’s something that’s called talent and dedication, and real Afro-American directors like Joseph Vásquez proving that with The Bronx War’ and Hangin’ with the Homeboys’ were harsh start-up films that got serious credit over 20 years ago! Yet this Atlanta born artist does something that gives heart to the American cinema that few have done in decades. He brought back the soul to the real-street story that we can all relate to.
TURNT isn’t pretty but has the color that we can all be proud of. TURNT has def jams that are worthy of the acting talent that includes Jamal Woolard and Torrei Hart. These are major stars you know by name, and are worthy of the names that are on the same level as Kurt Russell and Jamie Lee Curtis back in the day. Do you need any more reason to watch a classic film in the making? Or are you too spooked from haters who don’t know what modern storytelling is all about?
I’m telling you that aside from the podcast dribble and demo reel beats, TURNT is a film that a must-see. Even if you don’t know anything about the hip-hop music biz, you might be in for a surprise. What this real-life drama presents in the world today, and it might be the turning point that you’ll understand tomorrow. Just like John Singleton or Spike Lee gave to the American perspective long ago, TURNT is your next best friend to seeing the inside of an industry from a different angle. You don’t want to miss this mastery that this film has to offer!