Full of passion, love, and hope Chriss Barkley is a filmmaker whose work speaks from her heart. Whether issues of social justice or life’s everyday wonders she uses her medium of creative expression to bring stories to life on film. She is a woman of many talents but her biggest one is her love for others. A great friend, talent and wonderful listener, Chriss Barkley is an artist on the edge.
1. What is your medium(s) of creative expression and can you describe your creative process?
I am a filmmaker ( writer, director, producer). I love this medium because to me it is the only art that has the incredible capability to encompass all of the arts. It also reflects life and life imitates it.
My creative process as it relates to writing is somewhat unusual. I don’t wake up in the morning and write everyday (nothing good ever comes out of me that way). Inspiration comes in like the high tide, so when that wave comes roaring in, I gotta ride it. What happens to me, usually, is I’m extremely stressed about something- Or something is vexing me, whether it’s the war on terror or that same homeless person I see every day. And when I try to go to sleep, I can’t. All of these thoughts collide in my mind. All of these voices talking at the same time, wanting their opinion to be heard louder than someone else’s. And no matter how tired I am, I submit to their words because I know in the morning they will be gone. So in sense, they are my midnight love affair. I roll over and write it out. Sometimes, I crank it out on my black berry, other times I grab my notebook. I also write down dreams that I have, feelings, people I see on the bus or plane, things that make me laugh or cry, funny quotes that are character driven and so forth. I watch life and write it down. And I watch movies and write it down.
2. Favorite artist(s) Filmmakers/Directors/Producers: Nick Cassavetes (for the hopeless romantic in me), Spike Lee (for the anger filled questions in me), John Singleton (for the hood in me), James Cameron (for the dreamer in me),F. Gary Gray (for the dare devil in me) Mara Brock Akil (for the homegirl in me), Kasi Lemmons (for the soul in me), Deborah Martin Chase (for the little girl in me)
Actors: Meryl Streep, Dustin Hoffman, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Will Smith, Viola Davis
Musicians: Cee-Lo, Andre 3000, Kanye West, Adele, Janelle Monae, Jay-Z,
3. Favorite time period: I have two: 1920’s (for the glamour, fashion and elegance) and 1990’s (hip-hop culture)
4. If you could collaborate with any artist who would it be? Kanye West
5. 3 words to describe your work: passionate, social, loving
6. How much of your growing up influenced your work into adulthood? Every bit of it. I, like most people, have gone through a lot. I’m just blessed enough to have an outlet to share. Hopefully, I can help others grow and heal too because it’s certainly cathartic for me.
7. Detail your newest project or a project entering a festival: PITCH BLACK MILK has been my passion project for the last two years. It’s starting to circulate the festival route and is doing very well. Its about a girl who struggles with self-esteem. Her classmates ridicule her dark skin and her mother attempts to bleach her. She has to over come all of this and find strength in herself to help another.
8. Greatest achievement from work? I have had few people thank me for making the movie, saying that it was their story. And a few others who said they would change the way they treat people who are different than they are.
9. Long term goals with working in the medium? I hope to make films, tv shows, webseries, and even plays) until I’m well into my 80s. It’s what I love and there’s always new stories to tell. There’s so much of me and of others (for me) to share.
Live on the Edge, with the arts of course!!!