What's Bonfire Stories?
In this series, we share the experience in filmmaking from both emerging and established independent filmmakers in an effort to educate and build a community of storytellers. "Bonfire Stories" is comprised of an inclusive community of individuals across ethnicity, gender, religion, creed, race and sexual orientation.
Bi weekly, we feature talented directors, insightful writers and curious thespians who are creating provocative and authentic stories that change how we think and view the world around us.
What is unique is using art as a form of spiritual practice. I recently learned that the work that I do, doesn't just come from me, but rather through me. I think my personal responsibility is creating and protecting that flow for myself and to continue to search for collaborators that operate the same way. Being an..
I couldn’t see myself reflected anywhere in my surroundings, which is especially weird growing up on the continent where everyone around you is black. So that made no sense to me and I would complain about it until my father dared me to “stop complaining and make my own films” and in defiance, I took that on..
I am trying to develop a sense of responsibility, not only for what I do and what is happening to me, but also for what is happening around me. In our mentality, this is not the skill that is cultivated from the birth. You must develop it yourself.
The point of the EXAM’s story is that it could also happen to a young boy in a masculine atmosphere and with the same dramatic indicators. Still, I chose the other side as I could illustrate stories through the eyes of a female individual, the perspective that was my personal experience
It was a gradual realization for me. I have always been in love with movies, but I originally intended to only be an actress. I participated in acting training from a very young age through high school. I realized that being only an actress meant giving up a lot of creative control..
I want my work to be raw. My work oftentimes helps me process life. I do think a line should be drawn when vulnerability makes it impossible to do the work, the process. Otherwise, I think there’s a certain quality of work that emerges when vulnerable. You always have...
Vulnerability is key. If you are asking an audience to feel the emotions you are trying to portray, you should be prepared to go there yourself. Relating to subject matters is usually drawn from some sort of personal experience. I find with all my projects..
Poetry and scriptwriting actually have a lot in common. The economy of words. Reducing the most complicated and expansive of ideas into images at once recognizable yet charged. My experiences with depression led me into filmmaking. I turned to filmmaking to capture the feelings..
As a Nepali filmmaker, I deem it as my responsibility to bring about the, long overdue, “new wave” in Nepali cinema, to position it in the world stage and to prepare it for a wider viewership. It is my ultimate goal to achieve this..
Fresh new perspectives from people who have previously never had the platform to express them are now the most valued. It is being proven over and over again at the box office, on streaming platforms and beyond, that audiences want to discover new world's, new people, and the intricacies of their language and sound...
I would have to say that my unique responsibility as a filmmaker, aside from being true to myself and my vision, is to do the work. And what I mean by that is doing all the hard work, all the heavy lifting required in great layered storytelling that will ultimately challenge..
You have to be open to being honest with yourself and with others. Filmmakers are trained to be lie detectors. Not in an overt or mischievous way, but it just comes with the training. You have to learn how to elevate the subtext when making a film. And that takes honesty..
I use to view myself as just a screenwriter and I tried the best I could to find someone to direct my work. I guess I felt like since I didn't go to film school I wasn't qualified at first. Eventually I realized that this was something I could do and began preparing for it. I learned..
I know many people who turned down some amazing opportunities because they couldn't move past the street life. Then there were those who were able persevere through everything. Showtime speaks to my experience..
I find it important for us as artists to be willing to go to those unattractive places in our storytelling to help address these often unspoken issues, hold conversations about the taboo, and hopefully, the art can be used to help begin the healing process for those who need to heal..
I understood that in the world we live in, there is such a deep racism problem that the only fact of being white and writing a character that is black make people question themselves and you. I want a world where the color of a character skin is not even a subject of a discussion..
My toughest challenge is working with people who don't seem to be on the same page creatively, or when some miscommunications happen with clients or work partners. So now..
I realize now, those experiences of being an outsider, of always watching my worlds and cultures collide, has informed the type of stories I am drawn to telling, and my eye as a Fil..
The toughest challenge I've faced so far was valuing work and success over love. I've always been a career/dream oriented person and up until recently I had to learn always to put people..
To call one challenge the toughest is difficult. They all carry weight whenever they arrive.I've been learning to use fear.The filmmaking process sometimes comes with anxiety that can damage ideas or our relationship with..
It can be quite uncomfortable to present my personal and vulnerable stories for evaluation alongside many of my classmates; many of whom tell stories about things that are completely detached from their personal lives. While this..
Films are a reflection of our diverse views on what it means to be human. With the majority of films led by male filmmakers, half our population are put in supporting roles or completely silenced. I was..
Honestly the toughest challenge has been making the time to prioritize my own work as much as I prioritize the work of others. I lead the Black TV & Film Collective, a collective of over 1200 artists across NYC...
One of the key lessons I've learned is that everything isn't for everybody, so pay attention to detail and accept what it is, but don't change what you..
Having patience can be very tough. The filmmaking process has really taught the value of patience and planning and sticking to a plan and not rushing it just to..
Stress is an illusion we invest in that keeps us distracted for what our purpose is. Films that really move anyone have a lot to do with the energy put in them so as a writer-director I just do..
I also want people to appreciate the transcendent power of comedy and to realize there is something truly empowering in being able to laugh at oneself and the tragicomic aspects of reality..
In Jezebel part of this involves the sisters doing adult entertainment as young black women against the very white backdrop of Las Vegas. Making the film was thrilling and scary and touching..
I relearned that the content is king and everyone and everything else is there to serve the content. And if you’re lucky and if you are working on content that is “worthy” to chase after..
Patience. I've had to be a DIY filmmaker because I don't have access to crew, so I'm always wearing multiple hats on production. It forces a sense of perfectionism in your work. And when you're just starting out, you rush things and..
I wish when I started my filmmaking journey that I was as patient then, as I am now. I had so many stories to tell and felt that I wanted to keep up with everyone who was dropping content left and right..
It’s awful to say that a film you make has an intended message. But I know that everything I make has a strong meaning and message to me. Whether I think the audience should come away with that themselves is a whole different story...
FOCUS. As we mentioned before, life is full of distractions, and the key to great storytelling is a full commitment to the journey. You must learn what the key points of collaboration are: what are your strengths/weaknesses?..
My team has grown rapidly in the past month and I am very blessed and grateful. In addition to asking for help, I’ve also learned the power of “no"...
I wrote the film as a “I see you and I hear you” to people living with mental illness. My aunt who’s Bi-Polar and some of my closest friends live with Mental Illness and I was tired of seeing them struggle with the stigma and struggle accepting themselves..
Some key lessons I’ve learned so far is that everything you make should be made for somebody other than you. Of course, you’re the first person..
I don’t think I have a unique responsibility as a filmmaker, I just try my best to be an authentic artist and I think all filmmakers..
My hope is that we told a story, with a GIRL, that asks the audience “what’s the biggest lie you’d tell for your brother?...
As a young filmmaker some of us want to be taken serious so bad, that we try and tell serious stories that don’t always showcase our strengths. I wish I would’ve known when I was younger that my voice is...
The movie being released is a celebration, but press, deliverables and finding an audience is the true joy of indie filmmaking....
Filmmaking is a craft and the more you work each phase of the process, the better you will become. Each of the 5 phases is equally important, if you shortchange one, the overall picture will suffer. Lately..
I’m really excited by the recent trend of the questioning and dismantling of the traditional gender power structure. However, I feel that on a broad sense this trend is shaped by white women’s perspective...
The number one challenge is gaining financial backing and/or raising money for independent projects. I think it comes down to everyone’s own dreams and being able to answer the question often asked when shopping your project around..
I want to see a more tolerant world and accepting world. When I wrote it I wanted to create a story that packed an emotional punch (dealing with equality and Alzheimer’s but also wanted to keep it light hearted and upbeat..