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One on One with

Filmmaker Meleisha Edwards 

by Roger Maloney

Meleisha J. Edwards received her BA from Fisk University and her MS from Middle
Tennessee State University. She once was a medical student and left after a year to
pursue her true passion.
Meleisha is an award-winning writer/producer, with multiple award credits for several
films. Most recently, Meleisha won the “Best in Arts & Entertainment” for the Power
Moves Awards Nashville and also was named a “Top Ten Women in Film to Watch” by
Diversity in Cannes. In 2018, she was a finalist with the Indie Memphis Pitch Rally with
her new feature, Jenee. She also won the Finishing Fund Award from the Tennessee
Entertainment Commission, along with her co-director, Mary McCallum, for her
directorial debut feature film, SingleVille, in March 2018. Her producer’s credits includes
"Best Hometowner Short Film” at Indie Memphis Film Festival for a short film, “Minority”
as well as “Best Short Film" for the NAFCA awards, also known as the African Oscars,
for her multi-award winning short film, In The Spotlight. Her debut film, Masquerade, has also won several awards across the country.
Meleisha co-founded her production company, ET AL Films, along with her business
partner, Asher Turney, in 2016. She has produced over 20 multimedia projects including
webseries, music videos, documentaries, shorts, and features. She recently was named
co-producer for "Dark Girls 2", under the direction of documentarian, D. Channsin Berry,
a documentary that will air on OWN in February 2020. Meleisha currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee.

 

Roger Maloney - Tell me what inspired you to become a filmmaker? 

Meleisha J. Edwards - I always tell people that I am a medical school drop-out and learned film mostly by on-the-job training. I always loved story telling, even as a child. I was inspired to become a filmmaker because I wanted to see more of our stories being told. People that look like me.

Roger Maloney - Tell me what your film project is about and why you created your project?

Meleisha J. Edwards-In the Spotlight" is about the rise and the fall of a jazz singer, Jenee' Skylar. In the film, you see what I call the tragedy of fame. I wrote this film because I was seeing how so many tragic endings to celebrities lives. Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Prince, Amy Winehouse... and why? I thought fame is what people aspired; but we know many times that the pressure in famous can be a downfall. We see this in Jenee'. And this story is so many people's story.

Roger Maloney- What are some innovative ways your planning to market your films during that Coronavirus shutdown?

Meleisha J. Edwards-We have marketed many of our films via the Facebook Watch Party outlet. We found that this was a great resource. Many people are home and actually have time to view content and are exited about that. We are looking at other online platforms. We are so honored to be a part of the AAWIC online series and thank them for asking us to be a part. This is so needed in this time!

Roger Maloney- What are some ways you are planning to monetizes your film projects?

Meleisha J. Edwards-We are looking at platforms such as Amazon Prime, UMC, and other platforms that take short films for monetization. We are also talking to sales agents about different resources for short films.

Roger Maloney- How has the Coronavirus shutdown changed the way you will create films in the future?

Meleisha J. Edwards-The Coronavirus shutdown has changed my perception of life in general. I have witness to best and the worse of people, myself, my friends, or life, or our country, of the world. This has really opened me up to be a better filmmaker in general. I tend to write about real situations, so let me just say, I have a lot to write about.

Roger Maloney- Share some positive advice for future filmmakers?

Meleisha J. Edwards- I always want filmmakers to realize that your art can change people. The film may not make it to theaters, or make millions, or to the top film festivals, but if someone is inspired by your work, you have achieved something. And don't give up. If you have a dream.. keep pushing, learning, failing, getting back up.. keep going.

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