Filmmaker Shola Lynch’s New Role in Bringing Our Stories to the Masses

The celebrated documentary director will be the curator of moving images and recorded sound at Harlem’s Schomburg Center.

Shola Lynch Michael Tullberg/Getty Images

SL: I’ve been in filmmaking 17 years. I do think it’s harder these days because there’s an expectation that every film will make money, so the business is really difficult to navigate. Also, there are a lot more people now who consider themselves filmmakers, so it’s a very crowded field … to get attention to be able to raise the money in and of itself is a huge feat.

TR: Do you think it’s harder or easier for filmmakers of color now?

SL: I think it remains challenging, depending on the stories you’re trying to tell. What I love [is that] this year’s crop of films, from Fruitvale [Station] to 12 Years a Slave to Mandela[: Long Walk to Freedom], are actually funded in alternative ways, like [with] foreign money. For instance, Fruitvale wouldn’t have happened without Octavia Spencer and Forest Whitaker’s company.

The more we stand up for the stories we want to see, the more diversity we will have in our storytelling in the broader picture, and if I can help that from my position here, you know that’s what I’m going to do.

Keli Goff is The Root’s special correspondent. Follow her on Twitter.