You may remember Hurt from his 2006 documentary "Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes," which, like "Soul Food," aired on PBS' "Independent Lens."
Q: Byron, before we get into the meat and potatoes, no pun intended, tell me a little about yourself.
A: I turned 43 on New Year's Eve, and I was born in New York. I attended Northeastern University in Boston on a football scholarship. I was a quarterback. I had also received a scholarship to Temple University.
Q: Is that where you got into filmmaking? What inspired you to go into that direction?
A: Yes, that's when I decided I wanted to be a filmmaker. I was inspired by filmmakers like Marlon Riggs and Henry Mason. They are very inspirational figures in my life. I wanted to have the same type of impact - shift our consciousness [by] producing very provocative and challenging films.
Q: Tell me about your inspiration for "Soul Food Junkies."
A: My father inspired me to make this film. He had cancer back in 2004. I really loved my father and did not want him to succumb to cancer. This was part of an effort to help save his life - help him eat better and lose weight. It had become a real sore spot in our relationship.
Q: Did you feel that his soul-food-heavy diet and lack of exercise were the major culprits for his poor health and untimely death?
A: That's my guess. High-fat, high-sugar, high-calorie diet. Soul food, fast food and processed food certainly contributed to his health problems. At one point, he got really overweight, but he still continued to eat [that food].
Q: I can identify with that, having lost many of my family members prematurely. It's very frustrating, because our folks are often unable or unwilling to see.
A: Yes, a lot of people don't make that connection. A lot of people in the African-American community do not think about the consequences of being obese or eating poorly. We have to push the issue. A lot of the vitality in our communities is being robbed, not to mention the toll it takes on the family - the home care, the hospital care, the nursing home. It's no joke taking care of someone who is ill.
Often, it's not until crisis mode that they reach out. I noticed a shift in my dad's behavior before I knew something was wrong with him.
Q: Again, I can relate. Overall, what impact do you hope your film will have?
A: I hope that the film will get people who normally don't talk about their health or their family members' health to open up and have the discussions that are often difficult to have with family and loved ones.
Q: What was the turning point for you? Who or what influenced you to want to live a healthier lifestyle and pursue entrepreneurship?
A: A long time ago, I was influenced by friends who were in the Nation of Islam. I was inspired by their lifestyle and the teachings of Malcolm X, particularly those around self-determination.
Q: What's your personal recipe for health and wellness?
A: I eat very healthy - a vegetable-based diet. Kale smoothies, kale salad. Nuts, legumes, black-eyed peas. Steamed broccoli and Brussels sprouts. I have water at every meal and no commercial juice or soda, unless it's raw, live juice. It's taken me a while to get to this point.
Q: As a former athlete, I suppose you still exercise, right?
A: I try to exercise at least 30 minutes a day. Sometimes I don't get to it. Generally, I enjoy walking briskly, going to the gym or exercising at home. I made a promise to myself, and I even created a fitness group on Facebook, the B. Hurt 30 for 30 Community Fitness Challenge. In the group, people can talk about their workouts, goals and struggles.
Q: That's great, and certainly a way to keep yourself accountable. What's the next big project?
A: I can't tell you, but it will be announced soon.
A screening of "Soul Food Junkies" with filmmaker Byron Hurt will be held at 6:30 p.m. Thursday (doors open 6 p.m.) at Community College of Philadelphia, Bonnell Auditorium, 1700 Spring Garden St. (enter on 16th or 17th streets). Free with reservation, whyy.kintera.org/soulfood. Presented by ITVS Community Cinema and WHYY with CCP, BlackStar Film Festival and ReelBlack.
Kimberly Garrison is a wellness coach and owner of One on One Ultimate Fitness in Philadelphia. Email her your fitness questions at email@example.com. Her column appears Wednesdays.