1. What is your experience in the film industry, either as a film critic and/or as an independent filmmaker?
I am a Producer/Director raised in Inkster, Michigan. Since 2006, I’ve produced six independent feature films and have written and directed 3 short films. My passion for indie movies inspired me to co-found the Trinity International Film Festival in Detroit. Through this festival, I work in collaboration with other filmmakers to host film screenings, workshops, and networking events with industry professionals. My goal is to work purposefully to contribute to the growth of the film community in metro Detroit.
2. How did you initially get involved in the film industry?
I attended my first film festival 20 years ago in Acapulco just because I love to watch movies. I met various writers, directors, actors and producers at this festival and this experience inspired me to become more involved in the film industry.
3. Why, in your opinion, are awards programs important?
I make movies because I am an artist, and it’s important to me to have others to experience the movies I make by watching them. Awards programs highlight the work of filmmakers and can give them a platform that could give them more exposure.
4. What is the value of having an awards program specifically for low-budget independent filmmakers?
This opportunity is unique because it aims to give recognition to a population of filmmakers that is under-served by major award programs.
5. If you've ever entered an awards program for a film project you've worked on, what was your experience?
In 2016 I created a video that was selected as a finalist for one of the largest African American Film Festivals in the U.S. The exposure of my work allowed me to network with other indie filmmakers and other industry professionals, which made it a fantastic experience.
6. Any advice for independent filmmakers?
I would advise independent filmmakers to start where they are and to utilize whatever resources they have to create their projects. For years, I never owned a camera, or had any equipment to make a movie. I found a team of dedicated people to work with and we collaborated to complete our projects.
7. Anything else you'd like to add?
Never stop learning. Surround yourself with people and resources that will challenge you to grow as an artist.