AU Excellence: Filmmaker Natalie Harris
BY: YESENIA JONES
Natalie Harris is a freshman who is majoring in Film and Media Arts and hopes to pursue her dream of becoming a successful screenwriter and filmmaker. She is currently working on creating “Connected by Color,” a documentary that highlights the stories of 13 women of color. Harris’ created the project to focus on the day-to-day struggles women of color face and how they turn them into muses for inspiration and change. This is her first film.
The Blackprint sat down with Natalie to discuss her up-and-coming documentary and future in the film industry.
Yesenia Jones: How did your interest in film begin?
Natalie Harris: I began experimenting with film in middle school. We were given flip cameras and told to make videos. It basically all started with making funny videos of my friends.
YJ: How did you begin to create your current film?
NH: It started as a promo video for someone’s website. They decided that they no longer wanted the video and I was left with all of this footage and nothing to do with it. I began brainstorming with friends and thought of the idea to create a documentary about the stories of women of color.
YJ: What kind of stories will you be telling through your film?
NH: I wanted to focus on women of color who are using their struggles to create change. For example, the film features a young girl who wants to become the first Native American to be a Victoria’s Secret Angel. She has already worked with Teen Vogue and plans on continuing to work hard to provide representation for other young Native American girls who want to be models. The film also features a girl who is working with Planned Parenthood and a young female screenwriter who is creating a web series called "Brown Girls."
YJ: What directors or key figures in the film industry inspire you the most?
NH: A few of the directors I am inspired by are Mara Brock Akil, who created Being Mary Jane, and Issa Rae who created the web series "Awkward Black Girl" and now stars in the HBO show "Insecure."
YJ: What are your plans for your future career in film?
NH: I hope to have my documentary done by May. I would like to have a screening here in D.C. and in New York. I also hope to eventually submit the film to film festivals. In the future, I want to make more narrative films and I am also thinking about creating a web series.
Natalie’s film and her dreams are truly inspirational. Throughout history, women of color were left in the shadows while others took over the spotlight. It is important to support documentaries and films, such as Natalie’s, that uplift women of color for their ability to create change. It is also inspiring to see Natalie pursue her dreams as a freshman in college. Her drive and creativity truly make her fit for AU Excellence.
Photo taken by Carol Wright.