What has been your most awe-inspiring moment as a winner and mentee thus far?
Moments like this. I’m on the radar a lot more than I was a few months ago. I have a short film right now that I’m entering into festivals and because of winning this competition I have a little more clout and notoriety as a filmmaker. BlackEnterprise.com reaching out and wanting to talk to me and the curiosity about what I’m doing is pretty awe-inspiring itself.
Have you learned anything fundamentally as a winner of this competition that you may carry forward with you as a filmmaker?
The biggest thing I’ve learned is to take risk. If I would’ve never given this a shot I wouldn’t currently be in this position. One of the things I remember Malcolm D. Lee saying during McDonald’s Lovin Mentor Luncheon was that often times the best stories we can tell are the ones that are the closest and most personal to us. The fact that I was able to create something from personal experiences, and enter this competition and win was a signal for me to keep exploring myself and my life and find a way to share these things with everyone because people can relate to it.
What can we expect to see from you next?
I recently finished a short film called Courting Lewis Baker. This film tells the story of a young African American man trying to reconnect with his father and how that search impacts the other relationships in his life. I’m currently in the process of submitting that film into several film festivals. I’m hoping to get the film screened in a good number of places so that I can continue putting my work out there. While I’m submitting to festivals I’m also in the process of writing a feature film which would be the next film that I aim to make.
What advice would you have for filmmakers looking to compete in the Lovin’ competition next year?
I would urge as many people as possible that, if you have an idea, just go for it. Give it a shot. There is a strong possibility that there is somebody else out there that can relate to the story that you have to tell. Even if you don’t make it into the competition, it still is a great exercise for yourself. The only way to know how to tell a story through films is by doing it. The more you make, put out there, and get feedback on; the better.
Is there anything else that you’d like BlackEnterprise.com readers to know?
I would like anybody who is interested in filmmaking, or interested in doing something on their own, to know that it’s all about perseverance and endurance. You have to be strong-minded and strong-willed. More importantly, you have to surround yourself with the right people and build a good team. A lot of the projects I’m working on right now I couldn’t have made happen by myself. I have a great team to work with. I owe a lot of my success to the people that I surround myself with.
Check out the winning video, Puppy Love, below:
For more information on the American Black Film Festival and McDonald’s Lovin’ Video Competition be sure to visit www.abff.com.