Spotlight on Media Center Resident: The Black TV & Film Collective

Each week, we will begin highlighting a new Media Center Resident organization with an interview with their founder or an employee. We kick it off with Huriyyah Muhammad, the founder of The Black TV and Film Collective. Huriyyah recently took home the Producers Award from Sundance Institute and Amazon Studios for her work on IFP alum, Farewell Amor. Read the full Q&A with her below:

What is your company/organization and what do you do?

  • Our organization is the Black TV & Film Collective (BTFC). We have over 1300 members spread out across the 5 boroughs, including writers, directors, producers, cinematographers, editors, actors…etc. We operate in 3 areas: knowledge sharing, relationship building and production support. Toward that end we hold a lot of classes, workshops, speaker series, mingles and help each other with our productions. Additionally with COVID-19 we have moved a lot of our activities online. We are an artist lead organization including the leadership and membership body. I am also an active writer / director / producer.  My most recent film, Farewell Amor, a narrative feature, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in US Dramatic Competition. At the festival this year I won the 2020 Sundance Creative Producing Award for Farewell Amor.

If you could describe your career path in three sentences or less, what would it be?

  • I am the youngest in a family of 8 kids so I learned pretty early that the best way to capture people’s attention is to tell a great story. I went to school thinking I would become an engineer. That didn’t work out. I “fell back” on being an artist. I’m pretty good at it. 

Why are you passionate about what you do and what inspired you to start your business/work on the projects you work on?

I know that artists have such an important role to play in our society. When you look around the world at the challenges that we face as a human race, I have always believed that understanding one another better, seeing a different perspective, putting yourself in someone else’s shoes can lead to solutions. I love telling stories for this reason and I also love that I get to meet so many incredibly talented artists and professionals in the process. That’s the beauty of the Black TV & Film Collective. We are artists who all came together to help one another grow artistically and professionally. It’s a beautiful community. All of my projects leverage the support of the collective.

What is your priority project right now (individually or as a business)?

As an organization we’re spending a lot of time right now testing new ways to support one another during the Coronavirus crisis. Hopefully we can use the time while the city is shutdown to advance our work, knowledge and network.

How do you as a company/organization/individual handle crisis and what do you during these times to stay inspired and to inspire your team/collaborators?

I drink. Just joking! I just know that we’ve been through much more and came out okay so I don’t worry about anything too much.  As long as my wife is not trying to divorce me, life is good.

What exciting projects have you recently completed, are currently working on, or have in the pipeline?

My feature film, Farewell Amor recently premiered in US Dramatic Competition at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. At the festival I also won the 2020 Sundance Creative Producing Award. I was pretty happy about both of those because I worked my ass off truly. Right now my partner and I are reading a lot of scripts looking for our next project and also we are writing a few of our own. It’s an exciting time.

If you could give one thing to the greater Media Center/IFP community, what would it be?

Advice. Right now take some time to connect with loved ones and friends whom you may not have talked to in a while. I’ve had a lot of fun doing that over the last week.

If you could ask one thing of the greater Media Center/IFP community, what would it be?

Just to try not to stress too much and stay inside as much as possible. 

How did you find out about IFP/Media Center?

Most likely through word of mouth! 

What have you gained from your membership?

So much! It’s so great being in a community of like minded and goal oriented creative artists. The support we have received from the organization has been incredible both for the Black TV & Film Collective as well as for my feature film Farewell Amor which participated in the 2019 IFP No Borders.

What unique media center offerings have you taken advantage of and have found the most rewarding?

The use of the theater and classrooms as a means to build community and share knowledge. We’ve had the fortune to partner with IFP a few times for events and it’s been great for our membership body.

Be sure to check back next week for another Resident Spotlight.