Interview with Filmmaker Ashley Brajaé (OUR CROWN AND GLORY)

OUR CROWN & GLORY, 29min., USA, Documentary
Directed by Ashley Brajaé
A group of friends explores their hair journey and what it means to embrace black hair joy!

Get to know the filmmaker:

1. What motivated you to make this film?

What motivated me to do this film is the fact that hair is such a big part of the black culture, but with that it’s also been ridiculed, misunderstood, then imitated for “trend” without knowing the tragic and beautiful history of our hair. It was important for me to give the story told embracing our black hair joy and how we are all connected with it (men and women) . Lastly to show how we finally embraced and loved our true self.

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

This was a last semester graduate school project, so the idea came to me in January of 2022, and we had until the end of the semester to turn it in. So by April of 2023 is when the final project was complete. Actually the school project was a lot shorter than this, only 15 minutes, but my editor, dp/producer came together and added extra bts footage to this project once we graduated and I’m so glad we did. So overall it took four months to film this.

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

Powerful, & authentic.

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

The biggest obstacle we faced was not always having everyone available to film, and the deadline was getting closer and closer, as well as down to the wire last minute changes/add-ins, while on set filming the last day.

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

My initial reaction was totally moved, humbled, and emotional. Me and some of my team watched it together via zoom and I cried, and few others did too. My goal was to inspire and make it relatable and to know so many other people connected to our story and learned from it, is a humbled blessing.

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

The first day my documentary teacher assigned us this project. I knew black hair, my hair had to be told and it felt right.

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

There are so many films that I have seen repeatedly. My ultimate favorite is “The Devil Wears Prada”, that movie inspired me to move to New York and work for a magazine company after college in 2008.

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

Having us actually come to the film festivals so we can see it on the big screen and maybe even a red carpet event.

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?

The experience on FilmFreeway has been amazing, one of the best feelings ever. A great experience.

10. What is your favorite meal?

My favorite meal is lasagna ( I enjoy seafood too.)

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

What is next for me is I have two projects in development, both scripted series and a dramedy genre, that I am hoping to distribute to Warner Brothers, Peacock or Netflix,Hulu. It’s only up from here!


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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