is committed to a rebirth of thought through art and
culture so we always try to give people the opportunity
to express themselves. This time we sit with Maori
Holmes, a writer, producer, and director and much
more who has received grant awards from WYBE-TV and
the J-Lab: Institute for Interactive Journalism, Leeway
Foundation and is currently an advisory board member
of the Foundation Arts Initiative and Girls DJ 101.
Holmes is a freelance writer whose had her work in
Savoy and Alternet.org and she was on the a steering
committee member for the 2005 National Alliance of
Media Arts and Culture (NAMAC) Conference in Philadelphia
and a Peer Panelist for the Philadelphia Cultural
Fund. This lady does everything under the sun and
she does it with skill and passion. Holmes, a Los
Angeles native, is currently a lecturer and full-time
faculty member at Temple University in Philadelphia.
(GC): What is your background in film and
video production and how long have you been involved
Maori Holmes (MH): I got started
in film in high school working first as an actress
in local productions and low-budget independent films.
I was addicted to MTV's "Rockumentaries"
and I went to college for journalism hoping to one
day produce work like that. I ended up majoring in
history because I wasn't happy in the journalism program
but I knew if I learned about
the shape of the past that I would effectively be
able to repeat it and share with others. I worked
as a journalist for a while--writing--and the itch
to make films was still in me, so I applied to graduate
school. I ended up at Temple and earned my MFA there
in Film & Media Arts in Jan. 2005.
GC: What do you consider to be the
social contribution in your work?
MH: Unfortunately, we live in a time
when a lot of people depend on motion pictures to
provide them with truth. This means that they take
what they see at face value and don't counter it or
investigate any further beyond the image. I hope that
my work makes a contribution in two
ways--by being careful to fully represent truth, and
also as an opportunity to give voice to the voiceless
and widen the mediamaking space...
GC: What were your influences?
MH: As I wrote, MTV's Rockumentaries,
and also Eyes on the Prize, The Color Purple, all
of Spike Lee's films, Dangerous Liaisons, Paul Thomas
Anderson, Michelle Parkerson, Daughters of the Dust/Julie
GC: What are some of your most positive
and negative experiences so far?
MH: I honestly can't think of seriously
negative experiences right now that haven't taught
me something... After making "Scene Not Heard"
I felt let down by some folks who I thought were on
the same page as me in terms of celebrating a movement,
and instead they were blocking me from distributing
the film... But I learned a lot from that--for one,
no matter what, always make sure to have releases
signed--even if it's awkward at the time being :-)
I've also had some bad experiences when folks I'm
working with don't come through... but again, you
win some and you learn some. Overall, it's been a
positive experience, for which I am grateful, because
I've been able to meet some cool people and
learn a lot.
GC: What has shocked or surprised
you about the experience?
MH: I have been surprised by the
amount of people who don't keep their word.
GC: Who would you like to work with
in the future?
MH: Julie Taymor, Chiwetel Ejiofor,
Sophie Okenedo, Catherine Martin, and Martin Scorcese.
GC: Who have you already worked with
that you wanted to?
MH: Bahamadia, Jazzyfatnastees, Ursula
GC: Who do you make your pieces for?
MH: To shift perceptions of what
GC: What is your short term plans?
Long term plans?
MH: My short term plan is to make
the Black Lily Film & Music Festival the most
kick-ass event ever. My long term plans include producing
and continuing to direct and eventually costuming.
GC: Do you have any extracurricular
MH: Huh? Not really, unless you count
Black Lily. No time for extracurricular.
GC: Where are you and what do you
do usually on a non-descript day?
MH: I am at home. I don't have non-descript
days. I work at the Painted Bride from 10-6. I usually
work all of those hours and then come home and work
on Black Lily form 7-12a.
GC: What do you think of the film
scene in Philly?
MH: The film scene here is pretty
supportive thought it would benefit from being a little
more competitive and having more opportunities to
GC: What do you think about change
(think of Uploading Change, GeoClan.com's slogan)?
MH: I think that change is unavoidable
and that the most successful people learn to "surf"
the waves :-)
sure to drop GeoClan a line at firstname.lastname@example.org