FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — People all over the world are enjoying films by local creatives thanks to the Micheaux Award and Film Labs; an initiative that is helping local filmmakers of color tell new, unique stories.
Even when Bernard Lewis Oliver was a kid, he was drawn to filmmaking.
“I used to always play with my mom’s cameras. I’d mess up her film. She’d get so angry at me,” Oliver said.
Fast forward to today and his latest documentary, Lost in the Sauce: The Kalvin Henderson story, is being shown in film festivals around the world. The film follows an Arkansas fighter through his hardships and successes.
“He’s not just a boxer. He’s not just a college graduate. He’s not just a musician. He’s a combination of all those things plus more so that was really really cool to be able to tell that story in documentary filmmaking,” Oliver said.
Oliver might have never gotten to this point without the Micheaux Award and Film Labs. Its mission is to help creatives of color.
“We do that in three ways. With direct funding, with education and training as well as with network development,” Visionari Foundation founder Airic Hughes said.
Hughes is a filmmaker himself and understands the struggles firsthand for aspiring filmmakers with no traditional education in the field.
“I started encountering other creatives that needed the same type of information. They needed the same type of resources. They needed the same type of networking and so we came with an idea to try and provide that,” he said.
Micheaux Award and Film Labs has given out $10,000 over the past two years. But for Oliver, it is so much more than money. It is access to a new community and an introduction to big names in the industry.
“To have access to these people to just be able to call them and be like, “Hey, I’m doing a film. I need this. I need that. I need guidance. I need information. Can you help me?” it’s one of the biggest things I’ve ever experienced in my life,” Oliver said.
That experience has now allowed him to share inspiring, untold stories with the rest of the world.
To learn more about upcoming film labs and ways you can support the organization, click here.