By Robin Bronk - 09/20/11 11:01 PM EDT
Gary Safady is the president and founder of Safady Entertainment LLC. Safady’s latest production, “Machine Gun Preacher,” had its world premiere last week at the Toronto International Film Festival and will be released in theaters this month. “Machine Gun Preacher” is the story of Sam Childers (played by Gerard Butler), a former drug-dealing biker who turns his life around when he finds God and becomes a mission crusader for thousands of Sudanese children who’ve been forced into war due to the tyranny of the LRA regime. Directed by the critically acclaimed Marc Forster, “Machine Gun Preacher” boasts an A-list cast, with Michelle Monaghan (“Mission: Impossible III”), Michael Shannon (“Revolutionary Road”) and Madeline Carroll (“Flipped”).
Safady is in pre-production on his next film, “Cobra 405,” based on a novel by author Damien Lewis, a thriller about an extraordinary heist involving nine soldiers and $150 million of missing gold, set in the late ’70s in war-torn Beirut, Lebanon.
ROBIN BRONK: If you had five minutes in the Oval Office with President Obama, what would you discuss with him? What issue would you like him to know about?
GARY SAFADY: I would like to discuss foreign policy with him, specifically on human trafficking issues dealing with children. After learning firsthand about the issues concerning the children of Africa during the filming of “Machine Gun Preacher,” I would talk about the atrocities that are occurring to these children and what we need to do to stop it. I would like him to know that Africa doesn’t need just another hospital or more relief food, it needs a real plan that provides economic stability, which in turn can provide hope and a future.
RB: If you could give President Obama one piece of advice, what would that be?
GS: Have perseverance and long-range plans, not short-term goals for the purposes of appeasing lobbyist groups or for reelection.
RB: If you could ask President Obama one question, what would that be?
GS: With all of your duties as president, is it hard to find the time to relax or go to sleep?
RB: What book would you offer to lend President Obama? Why?
GS: “A Man in Full,” because it epitomizes how one man, Charlie Croker, who was on top, can’t stay on top after overextending himself. Similarly, the USA, which has been on top for a long time, is now experiencing a steady decline and, like that story, if the USA doesn’t watch itself, it too may fall. My advice in diplomacy is to be humble, because no one likes a “big shot” — so humility is the secret to success.
RB: If you were going to send the president to one place in the United States for one day, where would that be? Why?
GS: I would send him to children’s orphanages and an inner-city public high school. I would want him to address what the future holds for these kids and what can be done to solve the challenges facing our youth today.
RB: Would you ever consider a political career?
Bronk is a seasoned Capitol Hill strategist and advocate. She started her career at The Creative Coalition, a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group for the arts and entertainment industry, in July 1998. During her tenure as CEO, Bronk has taken The Creative Coalition from a New York-based entity to a national organization. www.thecreativecoalition.org