“Give a Gift a Love”: A Conversation With CCBFF 2020’s “Best Documentary Short Film” Winner Obadiah Baker

Every year, dozens of talented filmmakers flock to the Capital City Black Film Festival (CCBFF) to show off their work. This year, there was more competition than ever, with many thought-provoking pieces making their way in front of our esteemed judges. However, Capital City Black Film Festival awarded top honors for the “Best Documentary Short Film” to Obadiah Baker’s Soul Food.  

Soul Food’s official poster

Featuring gospel singer Ameris Reid, Soul Food explores the intersection of food, faith, and music and their impact on spiritual communities. We spoke with Baker about this all-important intersection.

CCBFF: Can you talk about the moment that inspired you to make this film? It could have been a song, a news report, or anything.

Obadiah: “I thought of this film when a friend introduced me to Ameris Reid, a young artist looking for a producer to help her record her debut song, “Familiar.” I felt her image was missing a genuine connection to the community: I wanted her to have a real ministry, not [only] a good song. From this problem, we [gave birth to] the idea of combining music with meals; thus, “Soul Food” [was born]. This program connects Ameris’ music to a part of the community who needed it most — Cleveland’s homeless.”

CCBFF: Did making this film help you learn any important lessons along the way?

Obadiah: “This project taught me the importance of relationships and not to be afraid of vulnerability. This message rang clear in Ameris’ song “Familiar” and the connections formed throughout the film.”

CCBFF: If your audience could walk away with one important message, what would it be and why? 

Obadiah: My message to viewers is to take time out of your busy lives and spend it helping those [less] unfortunate; give a gift of love. 

CCBFF: What is in your film’s future? Any projects you are working on, imagining, etc.? 

Obadiah: “My next film is a collaboration with “America’s Got Talent” The Silhouettes, the artwork of Kara Walker, and Juilliard-trained dancer Nehemiah Spencer. This story centers around the Black Lives Matter movement and chronicles Nehemiah’s journey across America to Denver, searching for inspiration for a community dance piece on racism. This project aims to engage audiences in a serious discussion on race in America and presents ways of combating it with the arts, with [the] hopes of meaningful change.” 

CCBFF: How can people keep up with you online? 

Obaidah: “People can follow us on tenderheartscrusades.com, [and learn more on our IMBd page.]”  

We spoke with other #CCBFF2020 winners as well. Check out Joseph Austin II’s story about creating film Sundays in July and winning “Best Feature in another Reel Blog post.