Deon Taylor is an unabashed creative force in the world of ﬁlm and television. In Hollywood, roles vary and job functions are often blurred and blended and few in Hollywood exhibit the capacity and skill set necessary to bridge all functions and roles successfully – Deon is one of the few who does through his production company Hidden Empire Film Group.
A prolific writer, flmmaker, director and idea generator, Taylor forges his own path, bringing fresh, original content with a unique voice behind it to audiences. Taylor recently directed the #1 follow-up comedy, Meet The Blacks 2. Film stars include comedy icons Mike Epps and Katt Williams. Additional cast includes Rick Ross, Danny Trejo, Bresha Webb, Zulay Henao, Andrew Bachelor (aka “King Bach”), and comedians Lil Duval, Michael Blackson and Tyrin Turner. Taylor ﬁrst rose to Hollywood’s attention with the success of Meet The Blacks, a ﬁlm Taylor wrote, directed, produced and distributed independently, outside of the Hollywood system. The success of the ﬁlm’s self-distribution created awareness of his ﬁlmmaking skills.
He wrote, directed and produced the thriller The Intruder starring Dennis Quaid, Michael Ealy and Meagan Good, released by Sony’s Screen Gems in May of 2019. A few months later Taylor followed up that success with another Sony Screen Gems ﬁlm, Black and Blue, starring Academy Award Nominee, Naomie Harris, Frank Grillo, Tyrese Gibson and Mike Colter. Black and Blue is a thriller written by Peter Dowling, which follows a rookie New Orleans African-American female cop who stumbles upon corrupt ofﬁcers who are murdering a drug dealer, an incident captured by her body cam. Taylor also produced, with Jamie Foxx, the upcoming comedy feature All-Star Weekend, starring Foxx, Robert Downey Jr., Gerard Butler, Eva Longoria, Jeremy Piven, Jessica Szohr, which Jamie Foxx directed.
Taylor produced, wrote the story, and directed the taut thriller Fatale starring two-time Academy Award winner Hilary Swank with Michael Ealy and Mike Colter, which was written by David Loughery.
In 2018, Taylor directed the ﬁlm Trafﬁk, an intense sex trafﬁcking thriller starring Paula Patton, Missi Pyle, Omar Epps, William Fichtner and Roselyn Sanchez, released theatrically by Lionsgate’s CodeBlack Films. The ﬁlm was nominated for an NAACP, Image Award for Outstanding Independent Motion Picture. Also nominated for 2019 AMAA Best Dispora Narrative Feature. Previously, Taylor wrote and directed Supremacy which received critical acclaim participating in The La Film Festival, Muse section and winning the AMAA for Best Diaspora.
2021 brought the trailblazer over to Starz to shoot 50 Cent’s masterpiece, “Power: Force.” Taylor said in a video on his Instagram page, “Thank you, you are one in a million, you are amazing, you are a superstar. Connecting me to this. To be able to shoot Force — Power, with my brother, man, and you. Come home. It’s just absolutely amazing, man.”
Power Book IV: Force will follow Tommy Egan, the beloved character played by Joseph Sikora, as he transitions into a new life that leaves behind his mob ties and relentless reputation in the gritty underworld of New York.
Taylor’s ﬁlms have been ﬁnanced by his longtime business partner and lead investor, Robert F. Smith, founder of Vista Equity Partners, which is consistently ranked as one of the top Private Equity Firms in the world. Taylor’s producing partner is his phenomenal wife Roxanne Taylor, a visionary producer and executive, who manages Hidden Empire Film Group alongside Taylor.
Additionally, Taylor executive produced, with Robert F. Smith, and Roxanne Taylor the series Be Woke. Vote. The digital series, a social media philanthropic initiative to encourage non-voters to vote and young people to discuss political issues affecting our communities, was hosted by CNN’s Van Jones as well as Roland Martin and Tameka ‘Tiny’ Harris. They conducted interviews with major celebrities and newsmakers from Entertainment to pop culture! Interviews included: Kim Kardashian-West, Jamie Foxx, Chelsea Handler, Will.i.am, Michael Ealy, Mike Colter, Sybrina Fulton (mother of Trayvon Martin), BJ the Chicago Kid, Bresha Webb, Maxine Waters, James Lawson, LisaRaye, Erica Ash, Chuck D, Zuly Henao and Erika Alexander. Be Woke Vote was nominated for two Webby Awards (Best Host and Social Content Series & Campaigns News & Politics).
When asked what motivates him, Taylor says, “It has to be a combination of the environment that I come from, and watching my mother push through adversity and obstacles every day and never giving up. It’s interesting, when you come from the inner city and you have struggled in your upbringing, it often is all the motivation you need when you’re pushing for that goal. Thinking about: utilizing low income housing, utilizing those moments of wanting something you could not have, utilizing watching your mother work her ass off day after day and still not be able to make ends meet. Simply living in the real world has been all the motivation I’ve needed to drive myself to the place I’m in now.”
Taylor was awarded the Sacramento Filmmaker of the year award in 2016 from the Sacramento Film Festival, Baron Jay Foundation’s 2018 Trailblazer Award, the Extraordinary Families’ 2018 Visionary Award and named the 2019 AAFCA Horizon Award recipient. He and HEFG received the Entrepreneurial Rising Star Award from the Black Business Leaders Hall of Fame and were presented the 2019 Location Manager Guild International (LMGI) Humanitarian of the Year Award.
Even with all the awards, Taylor says, “One of my greatest accomplishments, I would have to say, is finding a way to be a writer and director and a full time father at the same time. Then I would say– most times in the film and entertainment industry, you will find that people in all categories lose themselves in their work. I learned early on that it is a very complicated balance to always make sure family always wins the battle between work and home life. Simply because a script could not work, a movie could not work, a show could fall apart– but by no means whatsoever could you ever allow family to not work or fall apart. So therefore you must always remember what’s most important in life, and that for me has been my children and my family.”
Breaking barriers in the film industry is an enormous feat. Taylor knows oh so well the importance of providing opportunities for others and what it means to be an IMPACT. “I truly believe as you climb the mountain, your job no matter who you are, is to continue to throw the ladder down so others can climb up. Being an impact is important for any African American professional. You could be a filmmaker, doctor, politician– It doesn’t matter, because we have not had equal opportunities to become leaders and professionals in these fields. When you find light and find a way to become a professional, you are now obligated to tell your story, to answer questions and be a sounding board for others that are trying to get to where you are. It is not solely about me being an impact today, it is about teaching others how to be an impact as well, so that they can impact the culture tomorrow.”
“In closing, for as long as I can remember, I used to always hear this quote, “The game is to be sold, not told.”– I’m hoping we realize this quote is wrong, based on the fact that, the game is to be told AND given away for free, so that we can grow as a people.”
Taylor has a background in marketing, sports and promotions. A Nike All-American basketball player from Gary, Indiana, he earned a biology degree at San Diego State University on a full basketball scholarship where he was named the conference’s “Newcomer of the Year.” Taylor went on to play professionally and competed in city leagues and pro-am tournaments.
Be sure to follow Deon Taylor and Hidden Empire Film Group, @deontaylor @hiddenempirefilmgroup