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EntertainmentSpotlightWinter/Spring 2020

Melanated Visions: Sophia Ellis

Sophia Ellis will surprise you. At first glance, you won’t properly prepare yourself for the force that she is. Initially, her stature will intimidate some, challenge others. Then, she speaks and instantly disarms all apprehensions within the space. You’ll quickly find out that Sophia is a sweetheart and multi-talented.

After conquering writing, she set her sights on the film industry and has stormed her way into some amazing opportunities. Her entry into the film game can be summarized as such, “I wanted to tell a story. Mainly our story. Different stories. The “taboo” stories. Stories that are not shown on the regular like LGBT and poly-amory are a few. I’ve always loved the journey of storytelling. So once I published a few books, I decided I’d transform my written stories into visuals.”

Transitioning from writing books to a place behind the lens isn’t easy and Sophia has soaked up the game along the way, “The most valuable lesson I have learned is to always have an open mind to learn more. Film school was great. But Experience is better. I love to shadow and learn from other directors, screenwriters, and cinematographers. Then I take their knowledge and create me my own style.”

Filming and directing has long been dominated by men, asked about her experience as a female shooter in the game, Sophia shares this truth missile, “As much as I don’t want to think that I’m in competition with a male, reality is that I am. Black female directors/cinematographers have just started to break the mold in the film industry. I have to always go the extra mile to prove that my work is just as good as my male counterparts.”

As the film industry evolves, it is important to continue to update and develop within the field and Sophia is no exception. To remain relevant, she had this to say, “. I attend film festivals, conferences, and workshop to hear what’s ‘the next big thing’. I also listen to potential viewers to hear what they want to see. They are so many reboots, remakes, prequels and sequels that society is seeking originality.”

Sophia wanted to give us the most transparent peak into her experience, so we requested that she dig deep and share an experience that molded her. “When I first got interested into the film industry, I applied to be an Art Intern on a Hollywood feature film based out of Austin. I was able to be there every day for the pre production and production. My Art Director was very knowledgeable and helpful towards teaching everything on set. From art design to props to continuity to directing to budgeting, I was even able to sit with the lightning crew, cinematographer, and director. Each person was extremely nice and didn’t mind teaching me what they knew. Since that was my first experience on set, I had a huge advantage over other beginner filmmakers.”

Stealing the last few minutes of her time, we asked Sophia to give us the 411 on what she has on deck for the future, “I’m currently editing a short film called “Call waiting” and my featured documentary called “Heavens Playground”. I plan on submitting both to film festivals across the world. I also have over 7 scripts that I am currently writing. One of which is a feature that I plan on shooting by the end of the year. I also plan to shoot micro films (under 10 minutes) every 3 months to keep my craft constantly evolving and growing.”

Be on the lookout for more from Sophia Ellis!

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