Written by: Jessica L. Dupree
Photos: Billy Montgomery
Fashion designer turned Filmmaker Andrea Ward always knew that her innate talent for creativity and storytelling would take her places she once dreamed of. The Atlanta based creative pivoted her career and in the middle of the pandemic she took her first bold move to manifesting her biggest vision to date Redemption Images Productions.
With a passion for social issues as the inspiration of her work, Ward is shedding light on a wide array of social issues ranging from domestic violence, poverty, mental health, and injustice. What she wants most is for people to watch her films and be motivated to change their personal narratives from victim to victor.
According to statistics at socialjusticresourcecenter.org, females are killed by a family member or intimate partner in over 66% of female homicide cases. In the US alone, it is reported that 1 out of every 3 people have housing problems such as homelessness, overcrowding, and payments too large for their income. Ward is committed to being a voice to the voiceless and she won’t stop as long as those statistics remain the same.
The talented filmmaker opened up with Heart & Soul about her career pivot from fashion designer to filmmaker, the inspiration of her latest project Fiend, social justice issues, and her top 3 words of advice for people dealing with mental health issues.
Tell us about your journey to becoming a filmmaker. How were you able to pivot your career from a fashion designer to a filmmaker and how did both skills help distinguish you in your craft?
My journey to becoming a filmmaker was a very challenging process for me because many doors I’ve tried to open would not open for me. Not only as a woman but as a young black woman I felt myself fighting through in the current quest for diversity and inclusion. I often found myself learning how to get things done and making achievements on my own.
Honestly, I found it very easy to pivot from being a designer to becoming a filmmaker because I always had the ability to write or tell stories, with fashion I expressed them through art in a creative way but with film I felt like I could genuinely be 100 honest and true to myself as a filmmaker. Both skills have helped me distinguish in my craft because I learned the ins and out to production, how to capture the audience attention and focus on the subjects that mean the most. Most importantly turning an idea into an art form itself.
Your upcoming film Fiend is a vampire story inspired by the film Queen of The Damed. Why was it important for you to tell this story?
I was inspired by Aaliyah’s Queen of the Damned because during that time it was very rare to see a woman of color in a powerful role. Aaliyah was an amazing singer and actress. She set great example of black girl magic and what it means to dominate the industry. I’m also proud to announce that Ink Drippin of Black Ink Compton as well as musician and Tik Tok star EYEAMKI is a part of the project as well.
You’re known for making films about social justice issues and amplifying the voices of the underrepresented while inspiring people to embrace the Hero within themselves. As the culture embraces healing, what do you think are the top 3 most important things to know about moving from victim to victor?
Yes, unfortunately bad things seem to happen to good people. What I can say is take the time to find your voice, be courageous, and unapologetic. Find a healthy way to heal but be productive and write down everything you would like to do and how your story can impact others in a positive way. Be brave enough to step outside the box and be bold.
What can we expect from your mentoring program “After the Storm?” What was it like partnering with government officials to bring this initiative to fruition?
With the program you can except more people healing from Past traumas, more creatives coming in to help with mentorship opportunities from different industries and more victims becoming a hero within themselves as they begin the healing process. The ideas is for people to learning how to live their new life after the storm.
Follow Andrea Ward on Instagram @andreathecreative
Actors: Britni Camacho Jessica Graie Mark Sanchez Mark Cribb Andrea Ward Arturo Rangel Earnest Marshall Ivan Fenoy