Zoom In: Behind the Lens with Shantre Pinkney

Photo Credit:

| October 06 2014,

05:56 am


Who is Shantre Pinkney? I'm extremely inquisitive. Quirky. I ask a lot of questions and typically seek to figure it out before I ask directly. I’m originally from White Plains, NY and Atlanta. I miss my family terribly, but the Bay has been good to me. When I saw The 400 Blows at age 11, I knew making films is what I wanted to do. I reflect on many things; relationships and family structure. I'm a hopeful person and that characteristic reflects in the stories I develop. I'm intrigued by certain topics such as apathy, intimacy, and fear of the unknown and my work examines these subjects.  What inspires your art? Films and photography by Gordon Parks. Mira Nair’s work is dope. Also, I’m a HUGE classic film junky. I love old foreign classics (Italian, French, Asian) and film noir. Films by DeSica, Truffaut, Hitchcock, Ozu - they’re not always flashy. It’s simple, you know? And the aesthetic is beautiful

Shantre Pinkey_3
People aren’t always aware of the history of San Francisco, and the deep African-American influence that pervades the city. Tell us about your project Lest We Forget. Yeah, the history of SF, specifically BVHP, runs deep. I didn’t know much myself until I started working for a non-profit in Double Rock. I couldn’t number how many times during the week I heard gunshots or heard about someone getting sick or still looking for work or a friend of friend dying. I had a 5th grade student who lost his father and brother within 6 months of each other due to violence. It’s amazing how easy we can suppress our pains and fears to protect ourselves. Apathy is a beast. That’s where, The Raw came about. And from there, Lest We Forget

  Once the exhibit was in gear I reconnected with Girls 2000 (part of Hunters Point Family). They’re a talented and driven group of young women and we arranged to have a portion of online sales  go to them

  What separates a good film from a great one? I think what separates a good film from a great one is how the audience is affected.  What does it leave with you? What about the story stays with the audience?  If the film was meant to make you laugh, did it? Does it give inspiration or offer some new perspective?  I believe when a film does that, it has done its purpose

  You’ve received  a bunch of awards over the past few years. What do you think has contributed to your successes? Being around other creative people. Asking a lot of questions and making a lot of mistakes. Feeding off each other’s creative juices is SO helpful

How do you come up with new and creative concepts? I usually get new ideas from reading or watching movies. Most of the time music is the driving force. I was listening to Miles’ Kind of Blue and Nas’ Illmatic while writing The Raw. The concept of Argos Amor came about after listening to Come Rain or Come Shine by Sarah Vaughan. Musicians paint a picture. They give us their story, it arouses an idea or feeling and we then create our own story

You’re  working on developing a script and working on an experimental film at the same time. Do you find a lot of crossover and synergy between your creative projects? I try to do one thing at a time. I really do.  But I find it hard.  I just like keeping myself busy.  The Bay Area is going through dramatic changes, especially when it comes to gentrification. How has that influenced your work and what you talk about? I’m more sensitive and open to my thoughts as well as the stories I hear from residents. It’s definitely influenced me to be more personal with projects; especially Lest We Forget. At first I just wanted to start with perspectives from everyone else, that it would be for the community, but I forgot that it was also for me

Storytelling is one of the best ways to communicate new ideas, passions, and causes. Do you have any tips for uon how to build effective stories through creative outlets? Allow yourself to be open. Always. I think that’s really imperative. I like to ‘people watch’ and sometimes when I hear conversations walking by I get ideas for a short story or a poem and might take a photo that represents what I wrote. You never know. Also, try new things. In a photography store, I was playing with a manufactured pinhole camera but I thought it’ll be cool to get the materials myself and make one. (I’ll let you know how that goes ;o)) Any big projects or exhibits in the works? We just wrapped a month long exhibit at the Omi Gallery of Impact Hub Oakland. The theme was Ubuntu: Can Art Save A Community? CASAC is a book and documentary project created by Melonie and Melorra Green, that features artists, community leaders, and views on community building. The next exhibit for Lest We Forget will be at The Reclaimed Room  from January 17 - March 14, 2015. Opening reception will be Jan. 17, 2015 from 4-6. I’ll be adding moving images as well as new stills to the exhibit. Just wrapped post for a style video I directed for The Hardwear Shop. Presently, I’m tweaking one script (based on The Raw) and sending another  to festivals for grant support and funding

  We are always looking for the undiscovered and super-talented. Anyone doing awesome work that the Blavity family should know about? Indeed! The Green sisters and art curators (Melonie and Melorra) at Can Art Save a Community are doing really cool things. They’ve curated for the African American Art and Culture Complex, San Francisco Black Film Festival among other spots in the Bay. Gavin Grant, is an old friend, and a sculpture and jewelry artist who would be the dopest designer for my next short. Maria Judice at  is an amazing creative producer. She helped produce LWF and is also doing awesome work with BAWIFM (Bay Area Women in Film and Media). She’s a creator of Band of Youths and The Hardwear Shop, and creative producer for the Market Street Prototyping Festival in San Francisco along with producer Jacqwi Campbell . Another dear friend, Jacquelynn Richell is a chic fashion designer, seamstress and creator of JRichell Fashions

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