Toneka Wright is the owner and founder of the Black Filmmakers Academy, an online educational resource dedicated to helping Black creatives learn various aspects of the film industry. The Black Filmmakers Academy is run by experienced independent filmmakers eager to share their wealth of knowledge about the industry. They offer instruction in making, distributing and marketing films and specialized classes for actors, directors and producers as well.
Rolling out spoke with Wright about her journey in the film industry and some of her favorite innovative leaders in film.
How did you get into the film industry?
As a kid, I loved to read and that grew into a love of writing stories. In high school, I figured maybe I should pursue something in college that paid money. Our parents at that time said to get a job that pays well so that you can provide for your family, so I went to school for engineering and computer science. After school, I picked up writing again because it was therapeutic for me. I took writing courses at a community college, and one of the professors said, “All of your stories read like a movie.” I wrote my first script for a short film, and I loved it. I started submitting that film into festivals and meeting some amazing Black creatives. I’ve stuck with it, and it’s been a little bit over 10 years now.
How would you describe the impact your business has on the community?
As a community, African Americans, a lot of us are not happy with everything that we see about ourselves on TV and in films. I think as a whole right now, we’re just very hungry for more stories that are written from our voice, our perspective. The Black Filmmakers Academy community [is] largely those types of people that want to be in charge of how we’re viewed.
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