VSB Interviews: Tonja and Berook Bring you CINEMA BUN!

Every now and then something new (no Sanaa Lathan) hits the scene that heals the world and makes it a better place, for you and for me and the entire human race. Cinema Bun is not one of those things.


What it is, however, is a new podcast brought to you by some of VSB's own alumni, Tonja aka Cheekie and Berook, where they wax philosophically and poetical about movies on a weekly basis. They bring you that real shit, shit to make you feel shit, watch it at your house shit, have you wildin' out when you listen…shit. Because they're fresh on the scene AND crispy and clean, we interviewed Tonja and Berook to learn more about their podcast, hopes, and dreams, and what it feels like when a famous person acknowledges your work OFF JUMP. So check out the interview, learn you something, then make sure you go check out and subscribe to their podcast!


What is Cinema Bun? How it happen? Why it happen?

Tonja: Cinema Bun is a podcast where we talk movie news/rumors as well as review a specific movie of the week. Basically, we satisfy your cinematic sweet tooth.


Berook: We give you so much cinematic sweetness in every episode that if you're not careful, you'll end up with cinema diabetes! I'll see myself out…

Tonja: In our legendary fight to the death (streets may or may not know this, but we’re mortal enemies), we randomly found out just how much we both love movies — especially talking about movies — and decided to spare each others’ lives… for the time being. Cliffhanger…

Berook: It was unfortunate that my months of recon trying to find Tonja’s weakness introduced me to our shared love of film. A majority of our GChat convos are about movies (and gifs, but we can’t do a podcast about gifs….yet). It made sense to take our conversations and move them to the interwebs and the iTunes.

Tell us a bit about yourselves and your roles in terms of the podcast. Who run it!?!?


Tonja: I know who DON’T run it: Chris Brown. But, I think I bring the aspiring film-industry ninja aspect while B brings the relatable popcorn-audience ninja aspect.

Berook: I don’t even eat popcorn at the movies. I’m a fraud. Irregardless (waits for everyone to have an aneurysm), Tonja is right in that she brings some film industry experience to the show, which makes her more suited to talk about the process of making a script or film, while I bring a natural curiosity about movies, how they make us feel, and why we can’t figure out if Nicolas Cage is a good bad-actor or a bad good-actor.


What are you both trying to achieve with it?

Tonja: Honestly? I’m hoping this somehow leads me into the arms of either Idris Elba or Michael Fassbender. Or all both.


Berook: Actually, I wouldn’t mind being lead into the arms of Idris or Michael either.. At this point though, I think we’re just having fun with it. Deep down, we just enjoy the hell out of talking about movies and hope that we can excite other people about film at the same time.

Piggybacking off the last question, what do you bring to the table that isn't already there in the webisphere? Get it? Table…cinemabun? Like you eat…never mind. Just answer the question.


Tonja: Ba dum tssss, Panama. Ba. Dum. Tssss. … Well, first off… the name of our podcast. It’s adorably fun and unique. Props to B for coming up with that. I’ve decided we should call our fans, Cinema Bunnies. *pinches ya’ll cheeks* I think there are a lot of film review podcasts. And there are a lot of Black folk podcasts. The latter of which focuses more on celebrity news, relationship advice, and all that jazz. I don’t think there’s something out there that adds that Black voice to movies in and of itself. We’re fighting for a major Black voice in the film industry as a whole, so adding the “critic” aspect to that as well will hopefully help maintain that buzz for us in Hollyweird.

Berook: The fiancée and I actually disagree on who came up with the name, her or me. We ended up compromising and decided to take credit for it together. Happy wife, happy life n’ sh*t. It was a lot better than my first idea, the Tonja and Berook Podcast for People Who Wanna Hear Movie Reviews and Wanna Hear Other Stuff About Movies Too.


For those who haven't checked it out yet, what's the format of the show? Will you be doing guests? Famous people? Making guests become famous people? Animals?

Tonja: We fade in with any general movie talk, then cut to our new segment where we answer listener-submitted/movie-related questions. We have fun with that.


Berook: The listener questions segment is probably my favorite. I love the feeling of interacting with our audience. Keep the questions coming!

Tonja: Then we dissolve into our featured movie review. A general review and then a spoiler-laden review. Cut to credits. Well, credits as in… us plugging our Twitter handles and whatnot. SEE WHAT I DID THERE BY ANSWERING THIS IN FILMMAKER SPEAK??


Berook: #Levels

Tonja: And we’re definitely planning to have guests in upcoming episodes, which should be 50-lem different kinds of fun. I would totes love to have an animal as a guest. Mr. Velociraptor from Jurassic Park, we’re looking at you. Ya’ll may know him as Chris Bosh.


Listening to your podcast, you all delve into a lot of different topics. Is it planned or do you go where the winds take you?

Tonja: I paint with all the colors of the wind in general, but with this, we have an outline since there’s a time limit. We definitely cut things as we go along when we notice we’re going over time or improv if we’re going under time. We just try to have some sort of blueprint. HOV!


Berook: I think our personalities play into how much we improvise and how much we plan. I love to plan things out and sometimes end up over-preparing. Tonja feels more comfortable when she lets her thoughts in the moment dictate the conversation. In the end, we strike a pretty good balance where we can stick to an agenda and still allow ourselves the freedom to go off into unplanned directions.

Individually, what are your favorite types of movies?

Tonja: I like them all, but my favorites tend to be dramas and romcoms. Folks usually see me as a funny (funny how? like a clown?) chick, but I really enjoy an angsty ass film, too. Since I’m a screenwriter (now also director! woop woop!), my favorite types of films have dope dialogue and storytelling. It starts and ends with story. Basically, any movie that makes me wanna whip out my laptop with inspiration (and envy) is my favorite type of movie.


Berook: I’m a scientist so I can’t help but love sci-fi films, but I also enjoy any type of film that can effectively incorporate some interesting aspect of science/engineering/physics into the story. I’m a sucker for comedies and action movies too.

Who's funnier? You're both hilarious which is a great quality for this type of podcast, but if you weren't answering this in tandem and they'd never know, what would your answer be? It's okay, we wont tell the other person. Promise.


Tonja: Berook’s funnier… looking. HA! I mean, he really just set himself up for this. Well, YOU asked the question, Panama… but he set himself up by putting himself in the position of having to answer it. All of this makes sense. I feel like he’s gonna respond to this with a gif. Hell, I feel like he’d respond to ALL of these questions with gifs. Also, if he ever hears of this, Panama… one of my really good friends is a lawyer. So.

Berook: http://i.imgur.com/WB3lN.gif. *pulls out professional sports coach voice* I think we both bring our own comedic strengths to the show. There are some jokes that I make that are funnier than Tonja’s and there are some jokes that Tonja makes that are funnier than mine. This podcast is a team effort and neither of us can carry it on our own.


I saw that Gina Prince-Bythewood gave you all a shoutout already, fairly impressive considering you all just started. D'Angelo and I would both like to know, how did that feel?

Tonja: Like a naked D’Angelo (woooo that V-cut. chile!).



Tonja: LOL, Berook… go take a nap somewhere. To expound… It also felt like love, happiness, ice cream, freshly-buttered rice, a classic Disney soundtrack, and Jesus’ holy hug after he took the wheel. Full disclosure: I woke up that morning super exhausted and in a “meh” mood… and seeing that on Twitter made my entire day. The timing was dopesauce because I swear it gave me a reason to keep going. It really was a dope moment since Love & Basketball is seriously one of my fave films and she is definitely an inspiration for me.

Berook: I have to really give Tonja props for this because she runs our social network presence and put out that we briefly talked about Gina’s upcoming movie, #BeyondTheLights. Without that, none of this happens. It isn’t “just twitter” yall! I was really surprised and excited. It’s a great feeling to know that the content that you want people to hear is getting heard.


Tell us all the details we need to know all about the Cinema Bun Podcast!

Tonja: Our website is cinemabunpodcast.com, where you can find all of our episodes, contact info, and lions and tigers and bears. You can follow us on Twitter @cinemabuncast and like us on Facebook at facebook.com/cinemabunpodcast. If you want to submit one of those movie-related questions I mentioned earlier, email us at cinemabunpodcast@gmail.com and we’ll shout you out! We’re on iTunes and Stitcher under “Cinema Bun”, so make sure y’all subscribe/rate us! We air a new episode every Wednesday morning! Hump Day happiness. Thanks/Merci for having us, Panda!


Berook: What she said! We really appreciate all the support and feedback we’ve been getting so far. Thanks for the opportunity to talk about our little show with the VSB community.

Panama Jackson is the Senior Editor of Very Smart Brothas. He's pretty fly for a light guy. You can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking all her brown liquors.

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Tonja (aka Cheeks)