Clear racial divides and stereotypes are evident in today’s society, and The Roper, directed by Ewan McNicol, explores this contentious issue. However, through carefully choosing interesting and intriguing subjects, the person becomes the focus rather than the issue at hand, a constant theme in Lucid’s catalogue, particularly their series Meet Me Here, within which The Roper finds itself.
Meet Me Here aims “to develop and publish short stories that take place somewhat off the beaten path. It’s both a home for, and a reason to make great small films about people and places. Though the topics are distinct, the stories are also good examples for clients of our brand-led work, as we push them (gently) toward more meaningful, truthful, story-led ideas. We’re aiming to make a large audience for Meet Me Here; people who visit regularly to see an entertaining and intriguing short story about something real and true,” Lucid told Portable.
For the latest installment, The Roper, they stated, ‘”We met Kendrick, the Roper, as we were working on another project in Louisiana. We were intrigued by him personally, his quiet and reserved manner, and his obvious drive to be a great calf roper. He struck us as blend of a modern day and a classic cow boy. We were completely charmed. So we chose the man, versus choosing the topic.”
Documentary film is always so personal, something which the creatives feel is missing from consumerism today. They said, “Someone recently commented to us that they ‘miss real people’. We do too. We wholeheartedly ascribe to the adage, ‘The best stories are the truth, well told’.”
Characters create an important realm for Lucid’s creative pursuits, however there is usually a social, political or cultural message to be told. They noted, “We tend to be more drawn to individuals than to a particular subject matter as our starting point. We made a documentary about the man who runs the National UFO Reporting Center. The film is ultimately about the man, not about whether or not UFOs exist (but we now know they do). And our interests are so varied — lighthearted and serious, lasting and ephemeral — it makes sense to us that the people, the characters, are the initial draw to a story, versus pinpointing a topic to pursue.”
In The Roper in particular, race relations are handled in a straightforward manner. Something which is generally not given that same candid outlook in mainstream production. The team explained, “Kendrick’s comments in the film about racism are essentially a shoulder shrug, because that’s how he sees it. Racism is present, it registers, but he is not going to let it stop him. His response is extremely gracious and powerfully dismissive. We wanted to be sure the film reflected his attitude directly and didn’t make it more a part of his story than he feels it to be.”
Overall, Meet Me Here and The Roper make for an interesting and honest take on social issues penetrating today’s society. By making people, rather than an issue, the sole focus, a personal and relatable element is added thus making it more digestible for the extended community.