Marlon Wayans: Celebrity Documentary. ‘Sweet Micky’, The Fugees’ Pras Michel & Winning Slamdance

Sweet Micky for President is a Case Study in the marriage between a celebrity and his passion documentary.

Tagged ‘When pop music and politics collide,’ Sweet Micky captures the eccentric campaign for president of Haiti by musician Michel Martelly.

  • Micky was produced by The Fugees’ Pras Michel.
  • Marlon Wayans is co-EP with our friend Steve Harris.
  • Steve is head of Nonfiction for Workaholics Entertainment, Marlon’s Reality production company.

We recently sat down with Marlon, Steve Harris, Pras and director Ben Patterson, and our goal was to get insider insights into the development of Sweet Micky as a “Celebrity Passion Doc.”

  • This post is Part 2 of our work on Celebrity/Reality/Documentary.
  • Here is a link to Part 1, with unique insider insights on how Marlon made a commitment to Reality production.

First, here is the Sweet Micky trailer:

https://vimeo.com/117301646

MARLON WAYANS

  • Writer and actor Marlon Wayans entered the world of documentary production with Sweet Micky.
  • He explains why when we caught up him in NYC recently.
  • (The lighting wasn’t great.)
  • Wayans became involved with Sweet Micky through his colleagues and friends Steve Harris and Pras.
  • For Wayans, serving as EP was a project that enabled him to make a difference.
  • He feels that young people today think more globally, and with more sensitivity than his own generation.
  • That’s mainly because of their greater access to information through social media.
  • Marlon believes that they will respond to and learn from Sweet Micky.
  • He’s currently helping Sweet Micky find distribution for a wide theatrical release.

Insider Information on How to Succeed in Reality TV

Read Stephen Harris’s valuable Five Takeaways on how to develop and pitch a Reality TV hit. He shares the detailed insider information that has helped launch Marlon’s successful move into the Reality TV business.

Buy and download here: $19:95.

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STEVE HARRIS

  • Steve knew Pras from the days when the Fugees were a chart buster, so he had learned about the Sweet Micky project.
  • “Pras asked me to attend a screening. I thought it was a fantastic film. I loved it, and I said, “Let me see if Marlon and Russell would be interested in joining the project.”
  • “I organized a screening in New York with Marlon, Russell Simmons, and Stan Lathan, the veteran EP responsible for HBO’s Def Comedy Jam.”
  • “They all loved Sweet Micky and offered to help in many ways, including providing multiple layers of support.”
  • “Marlon agreed to sign on as EP. He felt it was a unique, Oscar-worthy film.”
  • “We began our campaign for an Oscar in 2016 with a screening at SlamDance 2015. We won the Best Documentary award!”
  • Check out this Slamdance review of Sweet Micky.

PRAS MICHEL

The Spark?

  • Sweet Micky arose out of a collaboration between musician and producer Pras and Ben Patterson.
  • After the devastating Haitian earthquake of 2010, Pras wanted to help the Haitian community, but wasn’t sure how.
  • Pras reached out to Ben, wanting to do something about Haiti…
  • “Maybe the earthquake, but I couldn’t get to Haiti, and everyone was doing the earthquake!”
  • When Pras suggested to pop star Michel Martelly a possible run for the Haitian presidency, Ben Patterson captured the process on film.

Fugees

Michel Martelly & Pras

  • Pras and Michel Martelly met in 1993, at the beginning of Pras’ successful career with The Fugees.
  • Michel Martelly, aka “Sweet Micky,” was a popular and controversial musician in Haiti.
  • Pras describes the younger Martelly as “a Haitian Howard Stern.”
  • When Pras befriended Martelly, the idea of a Haitian presidential campaign began to seem possible.
  • Pras is a Brooklyn native who was invested in Haitian politics due to his parents’ heritage.
  • “I felt that the Haitian people needed a charismatic leader who would restore energy to our society.”

The Process

  • A few months later, Pras and Patterson decided to produce a documentary on Michel Martelly’s campaign.
  • Martelly loved the idea, so Pras and Patterson began shooting in July 2010, concluding in March 2014.
  • The film was completed in December 2014.

Funding

  • The budget was over $500K, funded independently by Pras and Patterson.
  • Pras describes the production as a “passion project.”
  • He was happy to fund “a story that had to be heard and seen.”

BEN PATTERSON

  • Initially, director Ben Patterson was more interested in making a political comedy, rather than an “issue film.”
  • The untitled project evolved over the course of a year, and took shape after Patterson and Pras decided to focus their documentary on Martelly’s campaign.
  • Michel Martelly, initially an underdog, went on to win the presidency, and Sweet Micky became an important documentary depicting an important moment in Haitian and global politics.
  • Several surprises came along the way, such as Wyclef Jean’s run for the presidency, and the subsequent involvement of Sean Penn, Ben Stiller and other celebrities.
  • Patterson ascribes the festival circuit success of Sweet Micky to the involvement of great producers like Wayans and Alvarez, along with the compelling story.
  • Currently, Patterson is producing a scripted television series inspired by the making Sweet Micky.
  • More from Ben and Pras on the making of Sweet Micky here…

More: From our Store

Insider Information on How to Succeed in Reality TV

Read Stephen Harris’s valuable Five Takeaways on how to develop and pitch a Reality TV hit. He shares the insider information that has helped launch Marlon’s successful move into the Reality TV business.

Buy and download here: $19:95.

BenPatterson1crop

At  the New York preview with Ben and writer Fernanda Rossi who collaborated in the film.