"I decided that I needed to take control," the Chicago native told Variety.
He's starred in and financed "H4," a street version of William Shakespeare's "Henry IV"; "Mr. Sophistication," chronicling the journey of a stand-up comedian inspired by Lenny Bruce and Richard Pryor; and "Revival," a gospel concert movie starring Mali Music, described by Lennix as "'Jesus Christ Superstar' meets 'The Wiz.'"
With longtime associate Steve Harris, the duo has formed Exponent Media Group and made a distribution deal for "H4″ and the concert movie to be shown through Nehst Media's Digiplex chain early next year. He's assembling investors for a film fund with plans for five more films over the next three years in the $1 million range.
"It wasn't easy to get this far — Steve and I are just two guys from Chicago," he added. "What we want to do is to make good quality films that we actually want to make for a price."
Lennix acknowledges that he's been able to work regularly in movies, TV and stage over the last three decades with credits including TV roles in "Commander in Chief," "24" and "ER" and movie roles in "State of Play," "Ray," "The Matrix: Revolutions" and "The Matrix: Reloaded." But he also believes that it's not enough.
"I would love to just keep acting but I'm forced to make business for myself," he added. "And because of the improvements in production equipment, costs have gone down. I just wish I'd thought of this 20 years ago."
Nehst CEO Larry Meistrich and Digiplex CEO Bud Mayo both said they believe Lennix can deliver to audiences hungry for alternative programming.
"We're going to give his films a limited release but they won't be tiny," Meistrich added. "Harry is providing movies that are not cliched."