***Last year truly shed an unfavorable light on how deep the epidemic of invisibility runs within the Hollywood landscape for women and minorities. Statistics show that in 2014, only 2 out of 109 films were directed by black women, with Ava DuVernay overseeing Selma and Amma Asante directing Belle. Despite these harsh statistics, many young women have been taking matters into their own hands and bypassing the studio system by creating and self distributing their own content to the masses. First time director, Angela McCrae is no exception. This week, HBR Media had the opportunity to sit down with McCrae to discuss the process behind her directorial debut #WhereIsBeauty. In her own words, McCrae discusses the casting of Goapele, and how she was able to breathe life into a dream deferred by never loosing faith in herself despite the obstacles and setbacks that presented themselves.
#WhereIsBeauty is a short silent film starring R&B singer-songwriter Goapele, written by April Mabry. The film revolves around a young woman who is a visual artist on the quest to define beauty. As she begins this quest, she looks through social media to gain inspiration, and realizes that there is a false sense of beauty within online communities that perpetuates beauty standards that are impossible to achieve. Beauty seemed to be defined through artificial means such as iphone apps, filtering etc., so she begins to look at pictures of herself in order to determine where beauty lies for her on an everyday basis.
In an age where social media is such an important part of our everyday lives, so many women are constantly dealing with pressures of beauty in society. We wanted to create a film around the true definition of all that beauty encompasses, human connection, peace, and culture. Beauty is something women have grappled with from the beginning of time, and it constantly plays on our insecurities. I hope that this film allows women the opportunity to take a deeper look within and focus on their own definition of beauty aside from what the world tells them.
Goapele was cast as the lead in the film, and was absolutely perfect! We have several mutual friends and have run into one another frequently in the LA scene. After several casting sessions, I started to think about the type of woman that would really embody this role. I opened up Instagram, saw Goapele, and realized that she would be perfect. I reached out to a mutual friend of ours, and she was able to set up the introduction. Goapele loved the script, and joined the project within the first days of shooting. The whole process of making this film was surreal. I’m still amazed at how beautifully everything came together.
Our crew was comprised of predominately women, and by utilizing resources at LA Film School, we found so many amazing talented people to work with. Everyone on the crew was either in college or straight out of college with exception to our DP and producer, Angela White. White helped to leverage many relationships, and if it wasn’t for her coming on board, I don’t think I would have been able to make this film.
I’m very grateful for the way things worked out. I moved to LA seven years ago with the goal to direct, and I had not directed anything until now. I became consumed with the culture of LA, and put my dream of directing on hold. Overtime, I started to give up on the dream and began to focus on event planning, digital marketing, and social media. I started applying and interviewing for different types of positions in those fields, but even that was a challenge; however, once I put my mind towards this project (#WhereIsBeauty), everything really started coming together. My aunt shared a very powerful statement:
“When things come easily and begin to fit together so perfectly that it feels like magic, that’s God’s work, and that’s where you’re supposed to be.”
This is where I’m supposed to be. I am so proud of the work that we are doing, and hope that our powerful message impacts woman across the globe.
You can support Angela and her debut short film #WhereIsBeauty by contributing to her post-production fund. If interested please click HERE.