Meet the co-founders who established the Black Film Space community to nurture aspiring Film-makers

Dollita Okine June 02, 2023
Lande Yoosuf (left) and Reggie Williams (Right) co-founded Black Film Space (BFS) in hopes of building a community of filmmakers of African descent. Photo Credit: Black Film Space

Lande Yoosuf and Reggie Williams co-founded a non-profit organization called Black Film Space (BFS) in hopes of building a community of filmmakers of African origin through the means of skill enhancing and community building and teaching how to navigate the film industry.

Black Film Space hosts events that include panels, film screenings, networking mixers, skill sharing, open forums, and professional development workshops.

The community, which was launched in 2015, has since grown from mentoring about 5,000 black creatives to over 10,000 across the nation.

Co-founder, Lande Yoosuf, who is a screenwriter, producer, and director herself, said, “Since we launched Black Film Space, we’ve become clearer on the needs of our collective.”

As filmmakers in an inclusion-challenged industry, Lande and Reggie have knowledge of the frustrations, marginalization, and stifling that Black filmmakers endure. The organization works hard to be a resource for skill enhancement and community support, to help Black creatives bring a variety of Black stories to the screens and thrive in their careers, according to Chicago Defender.

In 2020, the organization launched a new membership platform to create more opportunities for Black filmmakers and increase representation in front and behind the camera, Black Film reported.

The platform gives members access to the collective’s platform of industry resources, as well as reductions on tools and film festival submission rates of more than 75 workshops. It also offers on-demand courses taught by qualified TV/Film professionals which are valued at more than $2,000.

Content creators on the platform also receive access to apply for grants for up to $3,000, screenwriting accountability groups, member-only events, mentorship programs, filmmaker directories, and many more. The registration comes in gold and silver memberships which are priced at $150/$100 a year.

Members will also be able to have partnerships with media giants like HBO, ABFF, and Ava Duvernay’s ARRAY.

Lande explained to The Black Wall Street Times that she birthed the idea of BFS through her experience while attending networking events and finding herself to be either the only Black person there or one of two Black People at the event. She further explained that Reggie, her co-founder, also found himself to be at most times the only Black person on sets and projects.

From that moment, they desired to locate where Black film enthusiasts in New York often met, and found that the community was spread out and hard to identify. To resolve this problem, they decided to create a society to make it easier for Black Filmmakers to locate each other.

Reggie, who describes himself as a comedic screenwriter and director as well as a non-comedic non-profit executive, added that, in the early days of the organization, they decided to host a happy hour with other Black colleague Filmmakers.

The first happy hour saw about 14 or 15 people in attendance, who requested for more hangouts. The next event the team organized was a screenwriting workshop and the attendees continued to ask for more.

He noted, “There’s such a variety of Black people in our space, if you come to one of our workshops it’s not only going to be African Americans – you’re going to have Caribbean Americans, Afro-Latino, first and second generation Africans, and more, so you’re going to get an array of feedback from the diaspora.”

Lande expounded that some of the people who attended the workshops have no experience reading or writing a script, however, after they continue to attend the lessons, they start to excel at it.

The two continue to encourage Black filmmakers with their Black Film Space virtual platform and physical meetings.  

Last Edited by:Editor Updated: June 11, 2023


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