Styling with Local Filmmaker Spotlight:
David L. Powell, III
by Candace Smith
All film directors have a unique tale as to how they got
their start in the film industry. Some, like Quentin
Tarantino, dropped out of high school and acting school to
become employed in a Manhattan Beach video rental store. He
used his proximity to its massive library to become a
self-taught learner of his craft. Others, like David
Fincher, directed TV commercials and music videos, honing
his eye for directing critically acclaimed films such as
Se7en, Panic Room, and The Social Network. Local
Philadelphia talent, David L. Powell III is on the fast
track to becoming an award-winning film director and writer
himself, and has the intelligence, drive, and chops to
sharing the Hollywood red carpet with Tarantino, Fincher,
and many other luminaries of the movie industry.
According to the Philly
native, David’s entrée into his chosen profession was based
on pure luck. Having worked at a mortgage company for many
years, he was laid off one day and decided to pursue his
love of writing. A published author, he first became known
after having written a script about the end of the world
called “Ophiuchus: Last Days of 2012”. David sent the script
to Bill Birnes, an American writer, editor, book publisher,
and literary rights agent who is most well known for being a
publisher of UFO literature, such as UFO Magazine, and the
coordinator of the UFO investigation team for the
now-defunct History Channel documentary series UFO Hunters.
Bill and his team loved the story and wanted to publish
“Ophiuchus: Last Days of 2012” as a book, which as sold, to
date, over 30,000 copies.
From there, David was
called by a fan of his book who asked him if he was
interested to work on a movie called Hex, a movie about the
underworld of witches, as its Assistant Director, which
became his first experience working on set. This proved to
be a challenge, but one that he embraced and learned from.
He then tried acting, which he admits that he did not like
“trying to read lines and become somebody else”. He states
that because of this experience he looks for actors in his
films that can portray characters that are not like
themselves, and who are especially good with improv. While
his foray into acting was short lived, luck proved to show
up in David’s life once again. As the “Scorekeeper” for the
2010 movie The Gift which starred, Charles S. Dutton, crew
workers noticed David taking video footage of what was
happening behind the scenes and Dutton, along with his
assistant, noticed this. David was then asked to conduct
backstage interviews and footage of the production. From
there, he began to work as a PA on numerous film productions
on set in Philadelphia and South Jersey.
When asked about his
favorite film genre, David quickly responded, “horror”. His
favorite horror film character of all time is Freddy Kruger.
However, he does not aspire to pigeonhole himself into
directing only horror movies. For David, he is happy to
write and direct whatever movies people are looking for
today, whether it’s a horror film inspired by A Nightmare on
Elm Street, or a comedy in the vein of The Hangover.
In just three short
years, David has made a surmountable name for himself as a
film director, writer, producer, and editor in the tri-state
area, as well as on the West Coast. His latest completed
film, Oliver Twisted, recently enjoyed a sold out viewing at
the Trocadero in Philadelphia, and hopes that it will be
picked up for the Sundance Film Festival in 2013. David’s
next film project, titled Fickle, is currently in
pre-production. His acclaimed film, The Relationship Resume/Relasume,
may also be turned into a TV show, and he is in talks with
producers in LA to work on a probable female sketch show.
With all the exciting projects ahead for David L. Powell
III, he still has the time and gratitude to extend his
talents for local music video and film productions. As you
have read this article, David is working on/has already
completed work on the set of The Suspect, working alongside
actors Mekhi Phifer, William Sadler, and Sterling K. Brown.
David’s drive and ambition to just “go out and do it!”
continues to lead him on a stellar path of career
accomplishments within the film industry, and he advises
anyone with a dream to do the same without looking back.