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Ed Loves Bacon - Speakeasy with ... Lamar and Ronnie Tyler

Local film producers carve a unique niche with their healthy marriage series.

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Since 2007 husband and wife duo Lamar and Ronnie Tyler have been on a mission to put a positive spin on marriage. Starting with their website Black and Married with Kids, the two have gained the respect of the healthy marriage community and offer a haven for couples to discuss their relationships and seek help in times of distress. The success of their website provided the unique opportunity to leapfrog into uncharted territory by producing their first video. Focusing on documentary first person narratives, the Tyler's allow their subjects to tell their own stories of marriage success through trail, tribulation, joys and pains. Recently the couple released their fourth film, Still Standing on DVD and held sold-out screenings across the country to their unique niche audience. During a recent press tour, Lamar and Ronnie shared their insights on film making, the healthy marriage community and the need for positive African American Images over lunch at Park 75 at the Four Seasons in Atlanta.

Still Standing premieres on Thursday, May 3, with a screening at the Landmark Midtown Arts Cinemas at 7:00 PM (931 Monroe Dr NE # C212).

CL Why did you feel it was important to make this vein of film?
Lamar: We just saw a tremendous need. It came out of the website and we really just wanted to something we were passionate about, something we'd want to do five years from now we'd still want to do it and that was relationships - more specifically, the idea of marriage and how it was received in general culture, which are always negative. You know in TV shows and movies, the situations are always negative, especially towards men. So we said, lets promote a positive image about marriage specifically in the African American community because we know there are other happily married couples out there and no one is telling their stories. So we put the site up and immediately it took off. People were just hungry for this kind of information.

How do you find your couples - the subjects in your films?
Lamar: Well its because of the website and the kind of things that we do. We've been able to connect with marriage professionals; psychologist and people in the healthy marriage community which we didn't even know existed before we started the site [[http://www.blackandmarriedwithkids.com|blackandmarriedwithkids.com]] but they've pretty much embraced us so their healthy marriage initiatives, their marriage ministries we've been able to come in contact with those people. So when we're looking for couples we start with the people we know and they recommend couples which we like.

CL Oh, why is that?
Ronnie: We try to keep it within one degree of separation, because we want someone to be held accountable for the stuff they're saying. It's something you don't have to worry about in a regular film because we have a Facebook page with over 100,000 people so we can easily put out a call saying "hey we are looking for great stories for this movie" but we don't want a couple on there talking about how much they love each other and we get an email with pictures of them not being who they said they were. You never know what goes on behind closed doors in someone's marriage but we try to make sure somebody can say "I know this couple and I know their story."





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