Director / Writer Tanesha Morris recently created the Shreveport Urban Film Festival. This film festival’s mission is to showcase black talent from all over the United States in Shreveport Louisiana. From her Writer – Director debut with the short film Ruthless to launching Shreveport Urban Film Festival, Tanesha is determined to elevate the work of black filmmakers. Therefore, Black TV Film Crew jumped at the opportunity to talk with her.
Though there seems to be new film festivals springing up all over the US, there aren’t a plethora of festivals in Louisiana. Morris explains the motivation behind creating the Shreveport Urban Festival. “I created Shreveport Urban Film Festival because I felt that there is opportunity lacking for African-American filmmakers to be seen and heard in the film industry. I have a passion for film and wanted to open a door not only for local black talent in Shreveport but black talent all over the United States.”
The Shreveport Urban Film Festival is registered on Film Freeway and still accepting submissions. This festival is offering prizes to the winners: $1,000 to the 1st place Short Film winner and $500 to the 2nd place Short Film winner. Morris allowed filmmakers to submit their films for free through March 31st, 2018 which gave many filmmakers an opportunity they wouldn’t have had otherwise. According to Morris, “I would like the filmmakers to walk away from SUFF knowing that they are valued and their voice matters. Their stories matter. I want them to feel like there’s a bend in the universe that welcomes them.”
Black TV Film Crew is a media sponsor of the Shreveport Urban Film Festival.
It’s always a joy to see filmmakers do more than write, direct and produce their own films. The film industry needs more people who are willing to help the industry move forward and not just watch their films and call it. Morris stepped up to the plate, “I know how it feels to be the only black writer/director in the room and I wanted to change that. There are more creators out there with unique voices but we have to be willing to give them a chance. With SUFF I wanted to give them the support they need no matter how big or small the platform. I am no longer asking for a seat at the table. I am creating my own table.”
Learn about Tanesha’s first movie, Ruthless, which happens to be a hip hop opera.
Rejection is definitely a part of filmmaker’s journey. But, Morris has some words of encouragement for all those filmmakers who may be nervous about submitting to film festivals. Morris cheers on our filmmakers, “Do it anyway! You might hear 100 no’s before you hear 1 yes but that’s okay! The point is to keep trying. Keep shooting. Keep putting your work out there!”
To follow the Shreveport Urban Film Festival on Social Media:
If you have a new film festival that is targeting black filmmakers, let us know.
Yasmin Shiraz is a Screenwriter and TV producer who has worked for Lifetime, A&E, Bravo and PBS. She’s a best selling author of more than 11 titles and the founder of Black TV Film Crew. She is the CEO of Still Eye Rise Media.