We spoke to veteran actress, Kim Fields, on Monday, about her experience working in the world of entertainment, along with her new gig hosting BET.com’s and Centric’s Lens on Talent: A Johnson & Johnson Filmmakers Challenge, the short film showcase for emerging African American filmmakers competing to win a chance to air their film on BET or Centric. The new season of Lens on Talent premiered Sunday, Sept. 12 and will run on Sunday’s this Fall. Lens is not BET’s only foray into the world of filmmaking this month. The network is also the presenting sponsor of the 2010 Urban World Film Festival, which starts today and runs through Sept. 19. The Festival will screen 71 features, documentaries, and short films that are relevant to a multicultural community.
In part 1 of our interview with Fields, she expounded upon her work as a director on House of Payne and Meet the Browns at Tyler Perry Studios. In part 2, she talks about the importance of supporting new filmmakers and providing outlets for their artistic expression.
Shannon Lanier contributed to the production of this article.
BlackEnterprise.com: Why do you think it’s so important to have an outlet as a filmmaker?
Kim Fields: There are so many stories to tell and so many different ways to tell wonderful stories. The idea of supporting filmmakers and new filmmakers–and that does not necessarily mean young filmmakers–is making sure you give the filmmaker the opportunity to tell his or her story and that they feel supported, either by connecting to other filmmakers, film festival outlets, or financially being able to help them create budget for their projects. There are so many outlets right now, especially for the digital media platforms that exist. You have to be able to have content that’s of really strong quality. Nobody wants to see something on an old 1982 video camera that is very poor quality. Yes, we’ve got all of these amazing outlets but we want to make sure that we’re providing people interested in filmmaking with tools to create quality content.
Where can people go to apply for Lens on Talent? What do they win?
This project started out as the short film showcase and then moved to a competition that Johnson & Johnson supported. Of course, Bet.com/Lens On Talent gives them all of the information on how to submit for next season. They can find me on Twitter (@lensontalent) and Facebook and get connected to the competition as well. Even if it’s not through this competition, this is still a great showcase of work; to be able to say, ‘My film aired on BET or Centric or BET.com.’ It’s just a way to get the groundswell going about who you are as a filmmaker or what your project is.
What will they win?
Up to $100,000. That money is basically for them to create another short film that will air on BET and Centric. They also win access to directors, producers, agents, and top industry executives, for advice on talent for their film and access to people in the industry from the film festival side. That is still such a strong and viable way to get out there and get a film out there. Nowadays, you have established filmmakers who are utilizing the film festival circuit as a way to create that critical buzz. (For example, the new Ben Affleck film won at Sundance and at other film festivals.)
For more information about black filmmakers read: