Promoting minority filmmakers and artists, Saturday’s In Color Film Festival showcases features, shorts and documentaries that convey Oklahoma’s multicultural landscape.
In partnership with the Inclusion in Art project and the Individual Artists of Oklahoma Gallery, In Color began in 2008 to encourage diversity while supporting local filmmakers of color.
This year’s event, its third, takes place at IAO and The Paramount OKC. The Film Row venues stand on opposite sides of Sheridan Avenue.
Among the eight films scheduled is Transcend. Examining black art and culture today, director J. Leigh Brantly’s documentary follows five Oklahoma-based artists in the wake of President Barack Obama’s 2008 inauguration.
“Transcend turned out to be a much bigger project than I originally intended,” said Brantly, who wanted to capture the diversity of her subjects through their
respective artworks. “The one commonality between the artists is the
African-American experience, but the content within those experiences is
extremely varied. The art in the film ranges from Western-influenced to
Caribbean to contemporary sculpture. The work is so colorful and full
of variety, and I think that’s what makes the film so interesting.”
For her, Transcend represents
a passion for exposing minority artists and cultures to mainstream
audiences, which she said is a concept that comes full-circle by being
screened at the In Color Film Festival.
“This is about communication, not exclusivity,” said Brantly. “That’s one of the big topics explored in Transcend: What
happens when the label we place on something actually starts to oppress
the idea we’re trying to express? At the end of the day, if you can’t
make your message applicable to everyone in some way, what’s the point?”
Currently based in New York, Brantly acknowledged her strong ties to
mixed-race, but I identify as an Oklahoma just as much as I identify as
Japanese, Mongolian, Cherokee or Irish,” she said. “Living in Brooklyn
has made me love Oklahoma even more, so I’m very proud of my roots, and
I’m happy to represent the state. Moving forward with film, I hope there
will be more opportunities to expose hidden cultures and
underrepresented populations, and I think In Color is already doing a
great job of helping to accomplish that locally.”