Kimberly D. Conner is a self-published author, screenwriter and independent filmmaker. She has placed as a finalist in several screenwriting competitions including the Hollywood Black Film Festival Screenplay Competition, the Urban Media Makers Short Film Competition, the University of Southern California - Guy A. Hanks and Marvin H. Miller Screenwriting Program, and semi-finalist in Creative Screenwriting Magazine AAA Screenwriting Competition.
In 2006, she self-published the book, “Naked Poetics – Poetry, Expression and Illustrations”, a thought-provoking look at life through the eyes of two sisters, written by Kimberly and her sister, Candice. Candid in nature, the book tackles topics relative to life through the art of expression. The book delves in areas some would deem politically incorrect and controversial, yet stimulating and entertaining, available at Barnes and Noble online.
Her feature film, “Jump In” The Movie, premiered in 2013, and is currently available in 832 stores nationwide, including Wal-Mart and Best Buy, Amazon, Vudu, and Flixster. “Jump In” is a drama about a single mother that returns to her hometown to finish law school and start her own practice, when she is blindsided by the unthinkable, pushing family ties to the limit. Kimberly released the film, Before ‘I Do’, a story of two Firefighters, in 2016. The film is making its way around the festival circuit, an Official Selection in Pan Africain Du Cannes International Film Festival, Roxbury International Film Festival, Miami Women's International Film Festival, Ocktober Film Festival, Piton International Film Festival, Lincoln Film Festival, and New Art Theater Film Festival. The film is based on an award-winning script. Predestined Arts & Entertainment just signed a deal with Maverick Entertainment.
Roger- What inspired you to become a filmmaker?
Kimberly-I saw a need. Plus, I love to write. I love movies. In the film industry, films by people of color, especially women, are few and far between. With film, we have the ability to present the images that we want to see on screen in an accurate, positive way.
Roger- Tell me why audiences should see your new film Before I Do?
Kimberly- Audiences should see Before ‘I Do’ because it is a story fueled by passion, offering a myriad of surprises. Film critics are calling the film, “A thought-provoking, cinematic treat.” We’ve won the support of Firefighters from all over, praising the film’s efforts. There are a small number of films made by women, especially women of color. Our work holds value and is uniquely told. Support the works of the up and coming Ava DuVernay’s. On top of that, the film has placed in six festivals, named Official Selection, in the 2016 Roxbury International Film Festival, Piton International Film Festival, October Film Festival, New Art Film Festival, Lincoln Film Festival, and the Women’s International Film Festival.
Roger- How did you get Finances to fund your film?
Kimberly- I’m a full-time Filmmaker, but I also work a full-time job. Primarily, that’s how I finance my projects. My company, Predestined Arts & Entertainment, financed my first 3 films, with the help of a couple of small investors. One of those investors has been with me on all three projects. We were fortunate enough to receive a small grant on the first film.
Roger- What is your strategy for marketing your film?
Kimberly- Social media has made it easier to reach our audience. I hit it hard. But in addition to social media, its important to build relationships with news media outlets, including radio, television, newspapers, and magazines. I develop a website for each film, where I include updates, screening information, trailers, etc, to ensure that people know how and where to find my films. Film festivals are another great way to market and promote your film, while gaining exposure.
Roger- What is your process to make sure your actors are well taking care of?
Kimberly-I place myself in their position. When I travel, I prefer suites because they provide a refrigerator, a microwave, the extra space, making life easier. I’ve formed a relationship with a hotel that offers that. I hired a Caterer. As a Director, it’s your job to ensure that the Cast is comfortable. You want to ensure that they are able to get a good night’s rest, that they are fed well, and taken care of. And, I can assure you, you’ll get a better performance out of them.
Roger- What advice do have for people who want to produce a film but are afraid to do it?
Kimberly- Pray about it, first. Seek divine guidance and direction. Then step out there. We all have fears. But, don’t let that stop you. Successful people talk about failure being a part of the process. That’s not how I see it. There’s a lesson learned in everything. You only “fail” if you get nothing out of it. I believe if you try, God will do the rest.