The Cleveland International Film Festival promotes artistically and culturally significant film arts through education and exhibition to enrich the life of the community.
April 01, 2017 | posted in Filmmakers
The first time Carla LynDale Carter-Bishop picked up a camera, she couldn’t put it down.
Her first documentary came about when she and her camera were asked by four homeless men on the South Side of Chicago to film them and tell their stories.
“They were tired of the assumptions that people had about them . . . and just wanted to express themselves,” she says. “That’s when I really fell in love with filmmaking, seeing that it had the power to give people a voice.”
From there, her passion grew. Filmmaking became her way to give back to the community and live a life of service. Her latest film, “Voices of the Hill,” is the story and history of Twinsburg Heights, the predominantly black neighborhood that surrounds the mostly white city of Twinsburg, Ohio.
Students from Twinsburg High School were part of the creative process and researched, interviewed, and filmed elders in the neighborhood.
Teaching these students and watching them develop their skills is “something magical” that Carter-Bishop loves to witness.
“Seeing students telling their own stories, empowering them, seeing skills such as confidence, leadership, creativity, . . . all come out of students by giving them a camera and letting them know that we all have a story worthy of being heard. I love it.”
Carter-Bishop admits that the creative process isn’t always easy, something she would honestly tell anyone interested in the craft. Filmmaking takes a lot of work, passion, and a commitment to your vision, she says. “Your first project will probably be horrible,” she admits, “but you use that as a learning experience of what not to do again, and move on.”
Working with students on the project and learning the history of Twinsburg Heights “was amazing.” Showing the finished product to everyone who was involved at the end: “that was priceless.”
The film debuted with a red carpet event with photographers, popcorn, and candy.
“The goal was to celebrate the history, the community, those that helped shape the lives of many,” she says.
Carter-Bishop could feel the sense of pride that was in the air after that first screening. The conversations that followed and “people saying that they were inspired to do more and be more involved in the community, was a real highlight,” she says.
“Voices of the Hill” 2.0 is already in progress. Carter-Bishop is planning a summer workshop for youth in Twinsburg that will use film footage for an interactive documentary—part of an augmented reality, or AR, application that uses a combination of real and virtual worlds. The final product will be a digital scavenger hunt through the neighborhood that will teach the history of the community while allowing participants to continually add to it.
This will enable viewers to “experience the film in a whole new way,” she explains.
—Anne M. DiTeodoro
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