Screenwriter Spotlight: Finalist Questionnaire (Ant Thompson)

What’s your name? Where were you born? Where do you live? And what’s your hobby?

My name is Ant Thompson. I was born in Cincinnati, OH, and I currently live in Los Angeles. My hobby is absolutely playing piano as well as listening to soul music.

Where did you come up with the concept that just placed you as a Finalist in the screenplay contest? How long did it take you to develop it into the screenplay it is now?

I came up with the concept for There Are No Black People In Space shortly after George Floyd died. Not only was I riddled with frustration and anger toward America’s institution of state-sanctioned violence, non-justice, and mass incarceration, but our globe was simultaneously experiencing new extremes in our climate crisis as well. Also, I felt these themes were all and will continue to somehow be connected. Thus, a future human colony on Mars built by prison labor to escape a dying Earth made sense.

From concept to finished draft, can you take us through your screenwriting process?

I simply started by asking myself, “What would the untold, unheard stories of Black prisoners laboring on Mars be?” and six weeks later I had a finished script outline. So, that was the process.

When did you realize that you wanted to become a screenwriter?

Watching Moonlight (2016) and hearing a language capturing a Black queerness that I long understood guided me on how to write a screenplay. Therefore, that was the moment.

Who are your biggest filmmaking/screenwriting influences? What about their style do you like or borrow?

Tarell Alvin McCraney and Terence Nance are tremendous influences on my screenwriting. Furthermore, they draw imaginative portraits of Blackness across the sexual identity. Michaela Coel inspires me to find humor in Black pain. In addition, Charlie Brooker inspires me to utilize science fiction to ask imperative questions of humanity, of ourselves, and of each other.

Have you ever been obsessed with a movie or TV show? If so, which one? Why?

I have been (and still am) dearly obsessed with FX’s Atlanta because of the way it so seamlessly and humorously draws down-to-earth caricatures of Black humans simply trying to survive this world.

What’s your favorite moment in cinema history? Why?

The “Circle of Life” the opening number in The Lion King (1994) has been my favorite moment in cinema history since I was a toddler. The marriage of breathtaking animation in addition to character development, visual scenic storytelling without dialogue, and African voices never fail to do it for me.

Who’s your favorite character in cinema history? Why?

Arabella (Michaela Coel) in HBO’s I May Destroy You (2020) is a current favorite. Moreover, she teaches me to be strong. Hence that’s my favorite character.

If you could talk to anyone from any era, who would it be and what would you ask them?

If I could talk to anyone from any era, I would talk to the United States’ president in 3021 and ask, honestly, why the presidency still exists.