“Do the work when no one is looking.”
Monty Ross was born in Omaha, Nebraska and began his filmmaking career as an acting student at Clark Atlanta University (formerly known as Clark College). There, Monty became friends with Spike Lee and a collective of classmates that loved film and television—Jasmine Guy, Bill Nunn, and Samuel L. Jackson were among them. They were all just kids kickin’ it and following their dreams. Who knew they all would become successes in their own right. Monty would later co-found the legendary production company, 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks, with Spike Lee in the mid-80s. At 40 Acres, Monty co-produced School Daze, Do The Right Thing, Crooklyn, Malcolm X, and more. Not too bad for a kid from the Midwest.
When reflecting on his filmmaking career, he says “It’s unbelievable what can happen over the course of three decades.” To many, the role of a producer is elusive; it isn’t always clear what they do. Monty likens the role of the producer to “a negotiator.” He explains, “there are many departments involved in making a great film. Over 125 to 300 people work on some projects. It’s my job as a producer to negotiate contracts and deal memos, manage budgets for rentals and purchases, manage egos and attitudes, as well as maintain the vision of the project over a 20 to 30 day period,” he says. “That’s a tremendous amount of responsibility. One mistake in the delicate balance of ‘keeping everyone happy’ can easily cause things to fall apart. Each person has to feel that they are a part of not only their department but the entire production as well.”
“It’s unbelievable what can happen over the course of three decades.”
Today, Monty serves as President of Film and Production at Soulidifly Productions. Soulidifly Productions isn’t afraid of the changes affecting the movie industry, in fact, they are embracing them. “There are wonderful opportunities in niche markets for high-quality stories that showcase a variety of diverse experiences in urban culture available to emerging professionals and production companies,” Monty explains. “Audiences today are savvy, informed and very specific about what brand they support financially. Providing those fans with content that is engaging, inspiring, beautifully shot and entertaining is challenging, yet extremely rewarding. Soulidifly is on the cutting edge of delivering our brand of content to fans who are ready for the next wave of entertainment.”