Artel J. Great is a Visionary With a Deep Sense of Responsibility
Arts and Culture

Artel J. Great: A Film Visionary With a Deep Sense of Responsibility

Artel Great Project Catalyst
(Image: Great)

Project Catalyst, Artel J. Great
(Image: Artel J. Great)

What projects have you worked on or are you currently working on, if any?

Currently, I’m touring across the U.S. launching the new Project Catalyst app.  We’ve successfully organized live events and presentations in New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles to introduce our new film and music app to the world.  We now have users in 11 countries across Europe, Asia, North and South America, the Caribbean, and the Middle East.  Our Project Catalyst App offers a progressive voice to multicultural communities with fresh, insightful entertainment that empowers and illuminates.


What drives you to succeed, and how long do you anticipate doing what you do?

I’m driven by a deep sense of responsibility.  I’m a scholar and historian, so I understand the sacrifice of so many dynamic figures in our culture that gave so much for us to have a chance, people like Paul Robeson, Zora Neale Hurston, and Oscar Micheaux–truly exceptional black people who fought the good fight.  I’m driven by their sacrifice. I’m actually working to extend their legacies through my own pursuits.  I love research. I’m really a knowledge worker. I will always pursue knowledge and discover innovative ways to apply that knowledge creatively and artistically to galvanize excellence in our people.  I’ve dedicated my entire life to that mission, and that’s exactly what I’m doing.

I’m sure you have a long career ahead of you. What is your greatest achievement to date?

Winning the Film Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Debut Performance was pretty incredible.  The Spirit Awards are like the Oscars for indie film but way cooler. That was a huge honor.  But my greatest achievement hasn’t happened. That’ll come when I defend my dissertation and finish my Ph.D. at NYU Tisch School of the Arts.  That’s for my role models Drs. W.E.B. DuBois and Martin Luther King Jr. They inspired me to earn my doctorate– that will be my greatest achievement.

What advice would you give to those who are pursuing careers in film?

Be educated about film.  It’s such a vast industry with multiple points of entry, but you have to be clear and strategic about what role you play.  The best way to know your role is to first know what the possible roles are and decide what’s suitable for your interests and develop the skill set to become an expert in that area.  Learn the ins and outs. Become a student of that area.  Learn the history, the vocabulary, the leaders. Learn the stories and methods of the leaders–hone your talent and create constantly to develop your craft.  The key is to always be prepared.  When opportunities come, if you’re prepared, success is inevitable.

What’s the best advice you’ve received that has helped you get this far?

Life is about perception. It’s not what you see, it’s how you see it. So if you never give up, you will never truly fail.

What makes you a visionary?

My sacrifice. My ability to forecast what’s next and see something that doesn’t exist— that should exist, and bring it into existence.  A visionary is a person who believes the idea that’s true in their heart is also true for the world. Visionaries inspire people.  That’s my goal, to inspire others like the visionary leaders who inspired me.