We are honored to feature one of our alumna filmmakers, Channing Godfrey Peoples. As a director, writer and actress, Channing continues to create engaging and entertaining movies. Her films are recognized and honored by various film festivals along with being chosen as a Sundance Screenwriting Intensive Fellow this year.
DCIFF: What inspires and motivates you to be involved with independent film?
Channing: I initially became interested in telling stories, because I am a profoundly curious person that is interested in life. I am passionate about storytelling. It is as present for me as breathing, so once I found it, I knew it was for me and I never considered abandoning it. I am always working on some element of filmmaking whether writing, directing or acting. Filmmaking is where I feel most present, most free and most myself. I never stray far away. It also helps to have a strong faith and be a determined person.
DCIFF: How has the film festival circuit impacted your film Red?
Channing: I am very grateful for my short film Red’s journey. It has allowed me to connect with incredible audiences that have been appreciative and supportive of the film, as well as other artists who inspire my own journey. It also helps being able to attend amazing festivals such as the DC Independent Film Festival, which I enjoyed immensely!
Red, production still
DCIFF: Tell us about Miss Juneteenth. Where are you in the production process?
Channing: My feature script, Miss Juneteenth is currently still in the re-writing process and my primary focus is on the script. I recently had the great opportunity to workshop it in the Sundance Screenwriters Intensive Lab in Los Angeles, which was invaluable in pushing the script forward. The project is in development and based in my hometown of Ft. Worth, Texas, where we recently spent time researching, securing our shooting locations and doing some preliminary casting. We are currently seeking creative collaborators on the film. We are shooting partially in the same community where we shot my short film Red, so we have the experience of shooting in the region.
Our next step is crowdfunding, seeking financing and applying for support to bring the film to life.
DCIFF: What did you personally gain from the Sundance Writers’ workshop?
Channing: I was seeking a way to take my feature script, Miss Juneteenth, to a more profound emotional level and the Sundance Screenwriters Intensive was supportive of that goal. I had the great fortune of being advised by incredibly talented workshop leaders, staff and advisers who work professionally in film and television. Sundance offered a safe space to look deeper into the emotional journey of my story. The lesson for me was to connect to my character through my own personal life experiences and be open to fresh possibilities for the film.