In a time when hate and tragedy seem to be running rampant, there has been a community call for art to do what art does best, which is to reflect reality in inventive ways while showing a path of hope. The new series Mill City’s Finest (MCF) aims to do just that. As described on the series’ official Facebook page, MCF is set in modern times and “follows the lives of 3 teenagers, Aundré and his two friends Hector and Rudi, who come together through one common goal: save Mill City from the evil “Uncontainable!” Yet, the show isn’t just about fighting supernatural evil. It also seems to be about the human spirit, and the very real issues people can deal with when trying to find their place in the world. It’s a superhero series with heart.
TBG was able to get an exclusive interview with the director and creator of MCF, Samuel Stevquoah in anticipation for the release of MCF’s trailer in 2017.
TBG: What inspired you to do MCF?
Stevquoah: Since I was a child I have always been into the superhero fiction genre, and during my early teenage years I decided to make my own stories. What started off as comics illustrated in a notebook that kids in my neighborhood enjoyed, eventually evolved into Mill City’s Finest and what you see today. I came up with MCF to visually tell a story that was based on my surroundings. The setting of Mill City is based off of my birthplace Lowell, Massachusetts. The main character Aundre Weah’s parents are from Liberia West Africa while Aundre was born in Mill City. So when that character is with his family you get to see some of Africa’s customs, their food, their attire, the way they speak, etc… I’ve always wanted to share MCF with the world. I’ve been inspired by western, European pop cultures, and many other countries as well. From superhero fiction, to the supernatural and mysticism, and traditional African mythology. I draw inspirations from a multitude of different ideas.
TBG: Why the focus on diversity?
Stevquoah: Most of my closest friends now and then were of different nationalities. Latino, Greek, Khmer, Nigerian, and so on. So in MCF I decided to take a step further and represent a Liberian, Salvadoran, and a Lebanese American and then have those characters be the main cast.
I developed [the characters of] MCF and their arcs as a way to relate to people. During my recent visit to Los Angeles I had the opportunity to see Guillermo del Toro speak at a Q&A. What resonated with me is how passionate he was of character development over plot. Because that is exactly like me. And that’s not to say plot isn’t important, but seeing your characters grow, learn and adapt is what I feel is the true prize of a story. Aundre Weah is a first generation American. His story has moments where he can’t connect with his heritage on the same level his family can. I feel like there a lot of first or second generation kids from many nationalities out there who have experiences like that.
Stevquoah: Self growth. Something that I personally struggled with and at times still do, is learning when it’s time to let go. All of our characters have something that they need to let go. Whether it’s a person, place, feeling, or idea, in the end we all have to come to a realization and then learn how to adapt. Our characters go through this as well, and our series follows the obstacles and difficulties it takes for each person to reach that realization… This is something I feel we can all relate too, and I want to explore that notion.
TBG: Do you think a story such as this is needed now in the country’s current political climate?
Stevquoah: Absolutely! Regardless of who you voted for, it’s important above anything else that we as Americans remain united. That’s how progression is done. The same idea applies to MCF. Our characters are their strongest when united. Only time can tell where this country will go, but I want the children of the next generation to be reminded that people of other ethnicities aren’t the “enemy” just because of the race they come from. In MCF our main cast is a diverse group of friends. I want to encourage that different ethnicities can still come together and be united through a positive goal.
TBG: What can the public and supporters do to help this project come to fruition?
Stevquoah: Anyone who supports this project [can] share any content of MCF to friends, family, their community, and throughout social media… At the moment, our goal is to increase our fan base and audience, so when we drop our trailer in early 2017 it has the most exposure it can get.
TBG: Do you think there’s a lack of diversity in creative mainstream projects? What is your hope for fandom/geek culture for the future?
Stevquoah: There are so many rich cultures and customs around the world that aren’t represented as much as others in television and film. Searching for ethnicities that aren’t represented much onscreen, not only allows me to research and learn about cultures, but also allows me to connect with someone on a personal level. If I can make even one person feel that their culture/customs was represented that would make me feel like I have done my job. I LOVE seeing other independent creators and their content. It’s so refreshing. I appreciate seeing new ideas. I am a huge fan of both Marvel and DC films and entertainment, but I would enjoy seeing other creators such as myself growing within this industry, and having our ideas being the big franchises of the future.
For more info visit: Mill City’s Finest Facebook