Enlightenment Issue MADE Magazine - Page 38

MADEXXXX “I shot a beauty event for Tia Dantzler, celebrity makeup artist to Jennifer Hudson, Maxwell and many others. I knew that was going to only work in my favor. I also shot Ava Duvernay in partnership with Jet Magazine for free as well and that was an absolute no-brainer. I talked to her and she was mad cool, even to the point of offering film advice--and get this--she followed me on twitter all because I didn’t allow lack of pay to blind me of an recognizing an opportunity.” On tweeting about Chicago’s black film landscape vs. LA. “I’d say by 2020, Chicago is going to be known by its independent filmmakers that can bypass traditional film distribution standards.” “There are so many independent filmmakers in Chicago that no one knows about because we usually don’t work together. But now, that’s completely changed since millennials, by nature, are so collaborative. Since we can so easily bypass traditional distribution standards with social media, we can really move forward.” “I have thought about moving to LA because there’s lots of opportunity there but that’s a double edged sword since it’s so much harder to stand out. I’d rather stay where I am, shine and make the big jobs come to me.” On being a black woman in film and feeling exclusion and marginalization: “I started out in college competing with well- off white guys and feeling less than because they could afford gorgeous equipment that I couldn’t. Now, I don’t even see competition anymore.” On affirmative action opportunities in film: “That’s tough because we really want those opportunities but also, my Ebony side keeps telling me ‘naw, don’t submit to the man.’ It’s something that I would really need to pray about.” He just understands color and everything that comes with.” On working with Nikki Giovanni: “She’s so amazing. The idea was to capture her in her element, not an int erview. The funny thing is, I actually filmed her a few years back at the University of Chicago and she said ‘I remember you,’ while touching my face at the recent shoot. That’s just the type of person she is. So, when we filmed her reciting a poem, she was really comfortable to the point that she wound up crying at the end.” Advice to prospective filmmakers: “Just keep shooting. Do better than your last project and eventually you will really find your groove. There are times that I really wanted to give up, but I found ways to get around that. Before I got hired at Ebony and was depending on my freelance projects to eat, I wasn’t getting any business and I was left asking God ‘what am I doing wrong?’ Shortly after that, I got a call from a friend that works for Ebony about the producer job and asked me to email the editor- in-chief about it. But, I never sent the email. Kyra Kyles wound up reaching out to me and it’s history from there. No matter how scared, discouraged or disappointed you are, just keep going.” On her life-changing trip to Egypt: “The first thing I noticed was the lack of prejudice there because it’s so multicultural, as opposed to being in America where racism is so pervasive. It felt like I was visiting my long lost cousins; they were so welcoming and humble.” On when she feels like she’s actually MADE it: “I’ll feel like I made it when I start getting called around the world to create art.” Find out more about Chan at ChanCSmith.com. JASMINE BROWLEY On filmmakers that inspire her: “I love Bradford Young, the cinematographer for Selma. He’s such a unique figure because he’s so intune with the people but he doesn’t have social media, so you have to find him. made-magazine.com | Listen to bi-weekly interviews from successful entrepreneurs. 38