What do you wish someone had told you as a child? This question is the through-line in director A.V. Rockwell's "The Gospel," a music-driven docu-style short film commissioned by Alicia Keys, in support of her album "HERE." The answers to this question are filled with a mix of regret, hope, longing for days of innocence, but always poignant and certainly relatable. We all have an answer to this question.
A.V. Rockwell has marked 2017 as her year - signed with Little Minx, she was recently named the grand-prize winner for her upcoming film "Feathers" in CHANEL'S Through Her Lens grant, selected for the 2017 SHOOT Online Directors Showcase, and awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship of the Arts. Rockwell's work is a force: charming, haunting, raw, and beautifully honest, in both "The Gospel," but also her heartbreaking short "Open City Mixtape" about New York's inner city life.
Do yourself the favor and take a minute to watch. "The Gospel" and A.V.'s reel here: http://www.littleminx.tv/av-rockwell/
If you've been following my blog, you are familiar with my stance on the importance of the female lens. Additionally, I recently had an experience that reinforced my position on the importance of including the lens of person's of color. Working on a project, we were looking for diverse inclusiveness - actively seeking it out - but in the end we missed out on racial nuance. It wasn't until our client, 50% persons of color, pointed it out, that we saw that the equitability we were striving for was off balance. And in that moment, it wasn't so difficult to see how the Dove fiasco came to be.
What do I wish someone had told me when I was a child? That I would be humbled, deeply humbled, by my own inability to see. Despite all the best intentions, I left wondering if we can ever overcome the unconscious handicap of looking solely through the lens of our own experience. If not, then we need to make sure that there are industry professionals/colleagues that represent the voices we are portraying in the work we create: women, people of color, GLBT, etc, so we don't trip over ourselves in our blindness. Strategy is only going to get us so far. The perspective of those with alternate experiences can give the breath and authenticity that our projects need. I know that I am grateful for them.
A.V. was recently asked if she had any words of wisdom for other women working in film, but this applies to all of us. I'll leave you with this: "Be inclusive in ways that the industry isn’t, not just regarding gender, but create opportunities for other minority groups as well. Most importantly – check your biases, most of which are still unconscious because we’ve been nurtured to view the world a certain a way, whether those images and practices harm us directly or not." - A.V. Rockwell
If you are interested in working with A.V. on your next project (she's now available for commercial work) contact:
NIKKI WEISS & CO: Nikki Weiss - firstname.lastname@example.org