Chelsea Williams On…Creating for Your Screen

Hey everybody, It’s Chelsea. July has been a great month for Black Cinema House. And as my first completed month as an intern it has been a great ride learning about the ins and outs of this organization. Last Thursday we finished the Spike Lee series with ‘Jungle Fever’. And we have a lot to look forward to next month with our next Gordon Parks Screening, ‘Super Cops’ and our Diana Ross Series.


I have been thinking about the kinds of films that make it up there at the screenings, or what black films in general make it to wide audiences to get a slice of the recognition they deserve. These films are rich and important. But what is next for black cinema? Who will be the latest creator in our BCH discussions?


I am an filmmaker. I am also young and still in school. From those two statements you can infer that there is a lot of experience I still have to gain. When someone asks me about myself, they want to hear about what I have accomplished. I can tell them how my first year at college went, I can tell them about the scene I just edited, or the drawing I finished, but the truth is, while I want to tell people what I have done, the more interesting thing to me is what I haven’t started yet, the questions I still have about myself and in my work.


I have heard people say there is an artist gene and that people are born with their skills and ‘if you ain’t got it you better forget about it’, but I believe all people are artists.


It can be hard to declare yourself as an artist when there is such a large tradition of work that has come before you. Those artists are highly skilled and even better paid. They might have had better educations, they might have better connections, but art is about building; it is about problem solving. And where you don’t have the pieces of the plan, there might be someone out there who might be willing to teach you how to create them.


Beginning in August, Darren Wallace (BCH’s new Cinema Education Coordinator) and I are heading a class that is gonna teach youth how to make music videos. Our students will watch videos they may or may not have ever seen before. They will take what they learn, and they will apply it to creating music videos of their own. But it is my hope that what they learn goes beyond the screening of their final projects at BCH, that they will come away from the class ready to make their statements about life and show the world what they experience.


If you’ve seen a film at Black Cinema House recently that inspired you, don’t let your energy and your excitement about that film end there. Even when I don’t know what I am doing, I try to challenge myself to create something everyday. I want to challenge you to do the same. Go out. Take your camera or your iPhone outside and shoot what nobody else sees but you. Make something you would want to see on our screen.