Sink or Swim…or Walk

Many times in corporate meetings with my clients I hear the phrase, “It’s happening (or progressing) organically.” I thought about using that phrase to describe what’s happening with the Capital City Black Film Festival, but… I can’t. I have to say that things are happening and progressing because of God. Tune out right here if you must, but I am just speaking “my” truth.


This week, I was in a meeting about this year’s Festival and I stated, “Now I know how Peter felt when he walked on water and knew that what he was doing was impossible.”  Then I said, “Now, I also know why he started to sink and Jesus had to grab him.”  Peter was doing the impossible, but then he started to realize that he was doing the impossible. His focus shifted from faith to fear, and that’s when he started to sink. When I went back and read the rest of that scripture, I was taken aback by Jesus’ response: “Oh thou of little faith…”

What the Capital City Black Film Festival is accomplishing is simply unbelievable.  We are a small, intimate-yet-effective Festival that is making a recognizable impact in the film industry for, with, and on behalf of the market we serve.  In conjunction with the Black Film Collective, our fiscal sponsor, we have attended meetings about legislative actions concerning the Texas Film Commission and the film industry rebate program. I have attended meetings with the Texas Motion Picture Alliance and the grass roots organization Texas Entertainment Incentives.  Being present at these meetings and representing your interests is a part of our responsibility and service to you.

Connections and Collaborations

My Aunt Reba Gilmore once told me, “It’s a sorry dog that won’t wag its own tail.”  So, to go from not knowing any Hollywood notables when we first started CCBFF in 2013, to hanging out with one of the top actors in America, a-waggin’ I must go!  Let me explain…

Recently, I was honored to attend a ceremony in Los Angeles where our friend and supporter, Viola Davis, received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  At the ceremony, I met Meryl Streep, Denzel Washington, Derek Luke, the cast from “Fences” and “How To Get Away With Murder.” I also had the honor of visiting the home of Willard Earl Pugh (Harpo from “The Color Purple”) and witness his natural comedic personality and absorb the wealth of knowledge he poured out.  As I spoke to people about The Capital City Black Film Festival and the talented filmmakers who attend, I was amazed by the positive comments and encouragement. People want us – they want you – to succeed!

I’ll never forget the meeting I had in 2013 with the Austin Urban Music Festival (AUMF) regarding the desire to start our Festival. They simply said, “Let’s collaborate.”  That phrase has become a mantra within CCBFF.  We continue to partner with organizations and promote the work of the market we serve. A great example of this is our partnership with soulciti and the Alamo Drafthouse for monthly screenings. Our first four screenings have SOLD OUT!  Thank you, soulciti and Alamo Drafthouse, for this awesome collaboration.

CCBFF has another great relationship with Austin Public/Austin Film Society.  The purpose of this collaboration is to design and promote film industry training, workshops and panels to/for our filmmakers.  I am honored to serve on Austin Public’s Community Media Advisory Committee.

In 2015, CCBFF joined Black Professional Alliance (BPA), and was the first arts organization among BPA’s member organizations.  The mission was, and still is, to “elevate the arts” and promote recognizing artists as professionals.  In November 2016, BPA elected me President of the organization.  I am honored to serve ALL professionals and capture the electrifying energy in the air to take us all to higher heights.

With all of this and more happening, you may begin to see why Peter was on my mind. We tend to only talk about the part where he begins to sink. I like to remember this: Peter was the only one who had the courage to get out of the boat! The Capital City Black Film Festival is out of the boat. We’re walking and reaching for what some may say is the impossible. But we know better, and we will not lose our focus.