Ohio University

Spike Lee Award winning filmmaker makes virtual visit with School of Film Students

Film maker on location in convenience store.
Photo: Aisha Ford, courtesy of www.aishafordfilm.com

After seven weeks of film production with new COVID-19 guidelines that pushed back timelines, Ohio University College of Fine Arts’ School of Film welcomed award-winning film maker, Aisha Ford. Ford met with students via Zoom to discuss character development, her script analysis form and her research art film, “Cherry Lemonade.”

In 2017, Lindsey Martin, assistant professor of Film, met Ford when she was showing her student short film, “Wren”. The film, set in Dayton, Ohio, is the story of a child navigating family issues. Ford’s ideas about character development and her short film story telling is what inspired Martin to invite her to speak with School of Film students.

“We’ve been working virtually for over a year now. Hearing a different voice and seeing someone new makes people excited,” says Martin. “Ford’s stories are personal and there is a place in filmmaking for us to tell stories that people don’t always get to see. I want students to know they can tell their own stories from experience and that their voices are important. I know they have things to say because filmmaking can be a powerful tool.”

Ford, an Ohio native based in New York City, is a fourth-year graduate film student at NYU Tisch School of the Arts. In 2020, Ford was awarded the Spike Lee Film Production Grant for her short film, “Royal.” She also was awarded the NYU Wasserman Award for the film. In 2019, she was awarded the British Academy of Film and Television Arts HBO Scholarship and was selected to attend the Sundance Film Festival on behalf of the BET Blackhouse Foundation. Her short films have screened at the American Black Film Festival Independent TV series and at multiple film festivals across the country. Ford is currently working on adopting a short story, “Brownies,” into a screenplay.

“Even though there is a limit to production we can still be creative and write which important to film,” says Ford. “It means a lot to me to be able to come back and speak with students because seeing and meeting someone who has made it can be encouraging. I want students to be inspired and know they can become film makers because they have the talent and skillset.”

Ian LaBarge, MFA candidate in Film, says hearing how other filmmakers collaborated to produce a film is important and informative.

“It is inspiring to listen to someone in a similar position to us have such quality and success in her artistic work, and to learn about her journey and process through filmmaking,” wrote LaBarge via email. “Since filmmaking is so collaborative and personal at the same time, it's always important and influential to speak with other filmmakers. Learning their unique inspirations and paths in the industry gives insight into where we should go next. Speaking with storytellers can help make you find better ways to tell your own stories.”