Kurt Damas is a creative from Long Island. His film, “Speak to Me” will premiere at Sayville Cinemas February 16. Also known by his stage name “Kurt Rockmore,” he began his creative journey as a rapper, touring the world with acts like J. Cole, G-Eazy, Tory Lanez, Superduper Kyle, and Mod Sun among others. His priorities shifted to being present for his children as his family grew.

Creativity never left him during his journey. He has written scripts, recorded music, and wrote songs for other artists. Always maintaining a passion for filmmaking, his early talent was demonstrated by the music videos he wrote and directed on a shoestring budget, while continuing to tell meaningful stories. With the goal of pulling emotion from the viewer and taking your mind for a ride, he strives to find entertaining and thought-provoking ways to start conversations about important topics. Produced, written and co-directed in collaboration with his colleague Trevor Jackson, “Speak to Me” is Kurt’s directorial debut.

Fire Island News (FIN): I want to start off by getting some background information about you. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself:

Kurt Damas (KD): I have always loved movies. As an aspiring director from Long Island, I am always the one who points out the technical errors in the way the film was edited and directed whenever I watch movies with friends. I tried college for a while, but it wasn’t for me. I consider director Ryan Coogler to be my main inspiration (“Fruitvale Station,” 2013; “Creed,” 2015; “Black Panther,”2018; “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” 2022.)  Also, I want to give a lot of love to my family, and friends because they supported me so much during this process. There is no way I could have done this without them.

My lead producer/co director Trevor Jackson, I couldn’t have pulled this off without him. He believed in me and also invested his own money as well. Trevor was born and raised in Bayshore. He is the founder and creative force behind a successful creative marketing company, which helps businesses and communities connect through impactful content and unique experiences has established himself as a sought-after expert in the industry. His portfolio of clients, includes Chase, Forbes, Hennessey, Rolls Royce, Lyft, Microsoft and HBO.


FIN: What inspired you to work on a film rather than write a book?

KD: I have always felt like seeing things visually. It has so much more of a powerful impact as opposed to words on a page. Like the famous saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

FIN: What can someone expect from your film?

KD: Well, this is a very personal movie for me because I made it while I was grieving over the loss of my close friend and uncle. So, I hope that this movie will start a conversation about mental health in this country. But I also really hope that it will let people know that it is absolutely okay to be vulnerable. African American men are usually raised to tough it out and not show any vulnerability whatsoever. I hope this movie shows people that it is okay to have feelings.

FIN: Can you describe how it felt when you accomplished making your first film?

KD: It felt very good once everything was finished. However, at the same time as I was watching the finished product, I kept thinking to myself ‘oh my god I could have done that better, or ‘I should have done that instead of this.’ As I said before, I am super meticulous about the filmmaking on display when I watch movies. So, you can probably imagine what I was like when I was watching the finished product of my own film. I do wish that my personal tragedy wasn’t the reason for why I am making this movie. But for what it’s worth I am still happy with what I was able to achieve.

FIN: You wrote, directed, and produced this movie. What was your favorite part about making this film?

KD: Honestly my favorite part about this whole process was watching my friends act right in front of me. In fact, one of my friends who is the lead in the film literally made me cry on set which is probably my favorite on-set memory. It was also just so surreal to see my vision come to fruition.


FIN: What was the most challenging part of making this movie?

KD: Like so many aspiring filmmakers experience, it’s really hard to get your first movie off the ground – even if it is just a short film. I was also a little overwhelmed when it came to learning film terms for the first time. It was a little grueling at first, but as time went on I pretty much became fluent in them. However, the hardest part about making this movie was definitely the fact it was inspired by the death of my friend. Losing your friend is always the most difficult and painful things you can go through. So, you can only imagine what it was like to make a movie about it. But I put my heart and soul into this movie, and I really hope people see it.


FIN: How did you decide on actors and locations for the movie?

KD: The locations of the film are based mostly on Long Island. In fact, there is a scene where the characters are playing basketball and that was shot at my brother’s house. I want to give a special shout out to him for letting me film at his house. For the most part though location was a resource thing. As for my actors, they are mainly close friends of mine. However, interestingly we found one of the actresses Nersheen Lotus, on Instagram. She literally looked exactly like the character the way I pictured her, and her acting is just phenomenal. As soon as I saw her, I knew she was the one for the role.


FIN: Who is the target audience for your film?

KD: I would say the target audience would be anyone from the ages 17-35, or really anyone who is almost 40. I feel like this age range were raised by people who were told to tough-out their emotions. So, I think they will probably get the most out of the movie. But honestly, I want as many people to see the movie as possible, because the message in it about mental health is really important as it affects all of us. I also really want the movie to encourage parents to let their kids know that there is nothing wrong with expressing your grief. If this movie could save a life, then I will feel extremely accomplished.


FIN: Are you planning any other projects in the future?

KD: I really hope that this movie will be successful and bring me one step closer to my goal which is to make a full-length feature film. As I stated, Ryan Coogler is someone whom I greatly admire, and he made short films before becoming one of the most popular directors in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Speaking of which, my dream project is to make the first live action Miles Morales/Spiderman movie. I have always been a massive fan of that character and making a live action version of a Morales movie would just be a dream come true.

“Speak to Me” will premiere 6 p.m. on Thursday, February 16 at Sayville Cinemas ~ 103 Railroad Ave in Sayville, New York 11782 ~ (631) 589-0040

Tickets may be purchased online by visiting