Interview: Jamie Foxx Talks Getting Behind The Camera For Ron Howard & Canon U.S.A.'s "Project Imaginat10n"

The Oscar-winning actor discusses working with the acclaimed director and the leader in digital imaging solutions on their innovative new film project.

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Last year, acclaimed film director Ron Howard partnered with Canon U.S.A. for "Project Imagina8ion," a contest in which photographers of all skill levels were invited to send in their most innovative photographs centered on eight principles of storytelling. The motivation for the project was to show that any creative person, regardless of their training or connection to the film industry, can create a Hollywood film. The result was "when you find me," a beautiful short film directed by Howard's daughter, Bryce Dallas Howard

Thanks to the success of last year's inaugural endeavor, Howard and Canon are now seeking photos based on ten elements of storytelling to produce ten new films (five of which will be screened at Project Imaginat10n Film Festival 2013) for their next effort, "Project Imaginat10n." From today until September 24th, the public can enter their photos at Canon Imaginat10n's website, which will be narrowed down by Canon, Howard, and you, the voters. 

This time, however, Howard and Canon have recruited a new crop of celebrity directors to be inspired by these images and create their own film. Those ready to go behind the camera and collaborate with a new host of photographers are: Eva Longoria, Biz Stone, Georgina Chapman, James Murphy, and Jamie Foxx.

Complex had the opportunity to speak to Foxx, who was wrapping up a long day of workshops at the Canon Imaginat10n Lab with the four other talent, about what inspired him to join the effort, his previous experience as a director, and what he hopes the public will take away from their unprecedented project.

As told to Tara Aquino (@t_akino)

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On his experience at the Canon Imaginat10n workshop:

Jamie Foxx: It’s just been great. We’ve been getting a lot of information as far as how the Canon cameras work and how the process is of getting together and doing a ten-minute short. It’s a lot of fun, but at the same time, it’s like being a student.

On how he got involved with the project: 

It’ll be great just to see what people are thinking about in different parts of the world.

Well, I had seen the project on television like I’m sure a lot of people have. Then I had a management change and they were involved in it, so they got me involved in it. Myself and Ron Howard had a bit of history because we did a music video together called “Blame it on the Alcohol,” so it was just two old friends getting back together.

On his past experience as a director:

I directed a short called “Tommy’s Little Girl,” and I directed some episodes of my television show, The Jamie Foxx Show. So this project is also about furthering that itch to do more directing.

On working with Ron Howard: 

Ron Howard is so cool and laidback. To me, he still has that freshness of a child. He has so much energy and he’s done so much for this industry because he’s been in it so long, so Canon couldn’t have chosen a more perfect person. He's willing to talk to you and just sit down and give you some of the jewels and the knowledge he's gained over the years to make your film successful.

On what kinds of images he expects to inspire him:

What's great about the project is that you don’t know what you’re going to be shown. It’ll be great just to see what people are thinking about in different parts of the world. That’s a part of it. The spontaneity of the project is going to be great because you can have it in your mind what you want to do, but the whole process is someone else’s inspiration and you work from that part.

On what he hopes people take away from the project:

I hope that they understand that Canon is really doing something innovative and allowing people to have an artistic voice. Also, I hope they get that we’re doing a fantastic project that people can watch and realize that it’s just not for the promotion of Canon. The project is actually about great films and great directors and great actors and actresses putting their best foot forward to make art become magic.

As told to Tara Aquino (@t_akino)

Follow ComplexPopCult

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