Director #Dale Resteghini is known for creating some truly eye-catching, memorable, and bold music videos for artists including Nicky Minaj, Pitbull, Ice Cube, Guns N’ Roses, Fall Out Boy and more. Having won many awards and garnered much acclaim, Dale has just announced the debut of his latest short film project titled “Cracka.” The movie centers on a man who hates anyone who is a different skin tone than him, as he believes he is superior to other races. Yet time and fate soon intervene and the man’s world is turned completely upside-down.

Dale Resteghini recently granted an exclusive interview where he discussed this project, his experiences as a director, and more.

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Music videos and short films

Meagan Meehan (MM): What prompted you to become a director and how did you get into #Music Videos?

Dale Resteghini (DR): After a chaotic first twenty-five years of living and trying to find my place in this world, I realized the one place I was always at peace was being lost in a movie theater. In a story. In a fantasy world. It was the purest form of escapism and when I left it have a feeling that anything was possible. I realized being able to make movies and create all kinds of worlds was the gig for me.

After making my first film called “Colorz of Rage” in 1997 (which Whitney Houston, Samuel Jackson, and others congratulated me on after they saw it at the 1999 Urbanworld Film Fest in NYC) I was being courted by labels and artists to make music videos and after several years of fighting my way through the nepotism and politics I finally scored by first music video which lead to the career I now have today.

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That song was called “Perseverance” and was for a working-class and socially-conscious rock band called Hatebreed.

MM: When you created music videos, did you think up the concepts/visuals or did the artists have a lot of say over those elements?

DR: Typically, how this works is a label reaches to me and provide a brief which includes a description of the artist or group, the song, the budget, possible dates and some sort of creative direction. Some are really specific and some are vague. A phenomenon of the past five or six years is the evolution of artists wanting to be more involved.

MM: Of all your music videos, which ones stand out the most to you?

DR: I've been blessed to have had success with some videos that have become iconic and have been memorialized by such shows like VH1's Pop Up Videos and some videos that have impacted artists who are people and their lives, helping launch their careers. Looking back at some of those lives and seeing the success they've enjoyed in part to my contribution makes me feel amazing.

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To positively impact anyone's life and career is a tremendous feeling and one that never gets old. I have worked with many artists and quite a few of them are global superstars. I can mention a few music videos that many people know that feature big cars, big mansions, big bling, big planes, dancing girls, and it's of lights etc., etc., but it's this video that I wish would have had more support and be seen by more people because of the message. It stars Tyler James of “Dear White People” and “Everybody Hates Chris” It was filmed for a just a few grand and some favors.

MM: How did you get into #Short Films and what inspired “Cracka”?

DR: I never saw short films as a realistic format for me. Back when I started in 1990s, short films was a format largely reserved for film students. I was a grown man and I had a soon-to-be wife who was working full-time and I need to prove I could be a man that could support her and a family. A short film then? It was a marketing tool, a resume, something you would use to show agents and managers and studios you could 'direct' and then hat lead to the journey of them trying to get paid to 'direct' in Hollywood.

It's ironic that now after nearly twenty years since my film debut, I'm making a short film. Technically now it's going to be used as a “series pilot” because the reaction I'm getting from Hollywood has been nothing short of phenomenal.

“Cracka” allows me to put America and our government on blast and like any rapper or singer or poet, I'm taking my creative freedom and creating a provocative and disruptive piece of culture.

MM: Can you tell us about the main character and why he believes the racist things he does?

DR: Racism has existed on this planet in one form or another for thousands of years. History proves that 'man' is born to hate more than it's been born to 'love'. Every day, every single day, we are reminded of this. Hate is learned. One is born into a culture or atmosphere where hate already exists.

In the case of the main character, Stone, he is much like the recent racists seen and heard and interviewed in Charlottesville. He is convinced that he is superior to black people. He hates that they are given things while his family and his white friends are losing things.

Directing, controversy, and reactions

MM: You have admitted that this film project is going to be quite controversial, so what do you expect audiences to object to most?

DR: Without giving too much of the plot away, it will likely be the realistic visuals much like we've seen in the past in such films like “Passion of Christ.” The absolute horrors that slaves endured 'happened' and these men who were fathers, brothers, sons, and newborns, and these women who were mothers, sisters, daughters, and bang girls...they all suffered ungodly bloodshed pain and death. They died without dignity without love and at the hands of pure hate.

I suspect people will be aghast with the reality of death as much as they will be ashamed or embarrassed about their own personal relationship with this history more so than what they see in “Cracka.” My point is, just because this history is in the 'history books' and it's become 'documented' it's become 'just words'. Words that don't mean anything 'real' to the reader. These horrors happened not so long ago, and they are no more or less consequential than the Holocaust or any disgusting and tragic ethnic cleansing moments that have happened around the world.

MM: Are you pleased with how the project is progressing and what sort of reaction do you hope it garners?

DR: Here is the most interesting part of this this far--the reaction has been astounding! As a filmmaker, I've managed to carve out an extremely humble successful career and live bi-coastal largely attributed to “music videos and creative branding” BUT my goal has and always will be to be making movies and that's been a chess game thus far and I've been close to several major-studio directing opportunities but it's just not clicked yet.

So, I decided to take my own personal monies and make a short film that can clearly demonstrate my narrative skills as well as my visual skills once and for all. It was a six-minute clip entitled “The Auction” which was going to explore the day of the auction, when slaves were put on a stage paraded around and humiliated at the expense and enjoyment of their would-be master's.

Then Trump happened.

The world changed and America started to hate like it's never hated before at least in the last fifty years. So, when word got out that I was making a short called “Cracka,” people that are in my circle wanted to read it, and when they read it, they all flipped out, both black and white talent and executives.

Unfortunately, the racism we have all come to know and have grown up in, is so baked into America that we will never have total understanding of each other. Despite of all being comprised of the same elements that make us living breathing creatures, despite all bleeding red, despite so many similarities. The leaders of the hate culture will focus on the minor differences. There are so many nuances to our respective cultures that some just will never ever understands and when they can't understand something the natural reaction is 'it's bad'.

Well, I don't understand racism.