1. When it comes to storytelling, where do you get your inspiration from?
I get my inspiration from many places: television shows, books, movies, people and places around me, but if I had to choose one thing I think my biggest inspiration comes from my upbringing as a first-generation American. My parents are West Indian/Caribbean immigrants and I had a bit of a dysfunctional coming up experience, constantly trying to understand where I fit in and what my identity was. I realize now, those experiences of being an outsider, of always watching my worlds and cultures collide, has informed the type of stories I am drawn to telling, and my eye as a filmmaker.
2. How did you prepare for your role as a director for “HATS”
Hats is about a kid from South Central. I am from the Bronx. It was important for me to spend time in South Central, and talk to people who had gone through similar experiences as Kito, specifically within that community. I was also (sad to admit) not very familiar with baseball, so I went to a few games and watched as much as I could! I also studied baseball films, so I could understand the most dynamic ways to shoot the sport. Watching films like Dope, Boyz in the Hood and Straight Outta Compton were also helpful.
3. How did your experiences personal or professional inspire your film Knight? (Please feel free to address a personal or professional experience or both)
Growing up, my heroes and heroines were drawn from fantasy stories like King Arthur, Lord of the Rings and Western historical fiction novels. These stories were my escapism, yet none of the characters I read about were black. Although I dreamed of being a princess or a knight, the black people I saw in media were not depicted in positions of power nor belonging to a world that wasn’t urban, gritty and devoid of magic. Knight became that book I never got to read as a child. That anthem I wish I had to tell me you can be whoever you want to be; that you as as a black woman are strong and can create your own destiny.
4. What is the toughest challenge you’ve faced so far?
Focusing on one project at time, and finding the balance between working in production and writing.
5. What kind of world do you want to see now that your film “HATS” is made? (For clarification) We know that there is a message you as a filmmaker are conveying to your audience, what is that message?
I’d like like to see a world and a landscape that has more public programming and spaces for kids to partakes in sports and the arts, in underserved communities.
6. What would you say is your unique responsibility as a filmmaker?
To give people the opportunity to see themselves, or something they weren’t aware of, in others.
Sadé is a Director’s Guild of America John Frankenheimer Fellow and Inaugural 30 Under 30 Caribbean-American Emerging Leader and Change Maker Award recipient for which she was honored at Obama’s White House.