Interview with Filmmaker Armeara Blackwell (THROUGH THESE EYES)

THROUGH THESE EYES played to rave reviews at the September 2020 Experimental, Dance, Music Festival. 

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Armeara Blackwell: I had been watching, even from a younger age, all of the police brutality and race related that had been taken place in the US and it always broke my heart. It was the recent stories like Breonna Taylor’s, George Floyd, and  Ahmaud Arbery that gave me that extra push to wantto express how I felt. What better way to express myself then the only way I knew how, through dance. My social media had been flooded with BLM, frustration, hurt, anger, injustices, police brutality, protests, and other things of that nature. I wanted to use my platform, even if I didn’t have thousands of followers or likes, I wanted to make my platform a safe place to express the emotions of those recent events. This could have just been another dance that I choreographed, recorded on my phone, and put in my back pocket. However, it deserved much more than that. The world needed to see this piece, they needed to see that even the youth are hurting, they needed to see that we will no longer be silenced. 


2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?

It took about 2 weeks. 


3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?

The 2 words I would have to use to describe this film would be, Powerful & Relevent. 


4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

Personally, I think my biggest obstacles was choosing which shots to place in the final product of the video. I had a slight idea of what I wanted, but we had a lot of good content which made it hard to decide. Huge shoutout to my videographer and editor. 


5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

I was overwhelmed. Completely overwhelmed with joy at these amazing reactions. Not one person had anything bad to say about it and I couldn’t be happier. I couldn’t help but smile while watching and listening to all of the feedback. It is greatly appreciated. 

WATCH THE AUDIENCE FEEDBACK VIDEO:

6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

One night I was up trying to choreograph a dance to send to my friends so they could learn it. I had went through a bunch of different songs, but each time a chose a song I couldn’t think of any movement. Then I had come across this song that I’d initially saw on Instagram. I put The song on, stood up, and the movement just started flowing out of me like a waterfall. I started and finished the piece that same night. I recorded myself doing it and as I sat back watching the piece I started to get visions/ideas for a concept video. I had always wanted to do a concept video and what better way to start than here. It’s relevant, powerful, it has a message, it’s impactful, and it’s coming from the youth. I showed The recording to my mother the next morning and she too said that I needed to do an official video. Thus, “Through These Eyes” was born. 

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?


I’ve seen a lot of Tyler Perry plays/movies. It motivates you, but it also gives you a good laugh. 


8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?


I think it’s great! It allows you to build your own platform as well as choose from a variety of film festivals. It allows you to literally choose the festival that best fits you and there’s something for everybody. It also gives you an opportunity to submit to multiple festivals giving yourself more exposure. I would highly recommend it and I’ll be submitting again. 

9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

I find that the music that I listen to the most is the music I can vibe out to. Music that I turn on late at night that’s slow and I’ll just dance to it in my room. No cussing, not even a lot of singing, it just music that you can flow to and allow it to move through your body. 


10. What is next for you? A new film?

I want to dance. I want to take/teach classes and yes make a new film in the near future. 


Here is the link to the video on YouTube: 
https://youtu.be/5ev3GEX3oe4
Here is the link to the video on Instagram: 
https://www.instagram.com/tv/CBn2QkNnlOJ/?igshid=16fxz8jfpzc9p

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