Arkansas Minority Film & Arts Association filmmaker turns his dream into reality
September 2-8, 2019
By Cait Smith
For Corrigan Revels being a helping hand has always been in his nature, so when the opportunity arose to give the filmmaking community an outlet for creativity, Revels was first on the scene. “I wanted to create something that’s going to help people my age,” he said – in doing so, the Arkansas Minority Film & Arts Association (AMFAA) was formed in 2018. This nonprofit organization focuses on the development, awareness, and exposure of filmmakers and artists of color. AMFAA offers guidance and mentorship for young filmmakers looking to make those next steps. “We have so many talented people of color that are filmmakers in Arkansas, they just need guidance … there’s a lot of stories to be told,” Revels said.
Originally from Waldo, Arkansas, Revels immersed himself in the community at a very young age. “I would volunteer with my mom all the time for church events and programs,” he explained. Such inspiration stuck with him as he ventured to UA Little Rock for school. Revels stayed involved in numerous programs and organizations throughout his time on campus. “I was a part of the executive team of the Brother’s Keeper Organization … I was in the Student Government Association … and I became a part of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.,” he stated. Revels said his constant involvement helped him make connections with people and build experiences he would use later on down the line.
After Revels graduated with his bachelor’s in film, he continued his education at UA Little Rock by obtaining his master’s in higher education and student affairs. Now as a college career coach, he explained that working closely with high school students has made him aware of the hardships that some students go through. “There’s a lot of things that go on in the neighborhood that’s holding these students back from being successful. I try to do my part by being supportive and helpful as much as I can,” he said. Those were the early ideas for coming up with AMFAA.
“I’ve come across so many artists that give up on their dreams because they think it won’t lead them anywhere,” he explained, “but if there was some type of program these students can join that’ll put them in the right direction …” That’s when Revels and a few of his colleagues came up with AMFAA, in hopes of keeping students out of trouble and focused on perfecting their craft. “This organization is an outlet for people of color that are struggling to get their name out there. They deserve exposure like anyone else,” said Revels.
Once AMFAA was up and running, the team hosted its first movie screening of “Dream Land: Little Rock’s West 9th Street” on Aug. 3, 2019. The turnout was a success to Revels and his team. “All of our tickets sold out within a week. We were so grateful for that because that means we have the community’s support,” he said.
Since AMFAA is a new organization, Revels proclaimed there’s a lot in the works that members can look forward to: film workshops, film contests, and Q&As with filmmakers in the industry. Revels is excited about their fall film festival coming up in late September. “I’m hoping the film festival brings attention and exposure to some of the young filmmakers we’re going to be featuring,” he said.
The AMFAA team is small – including Tanisha Joe-Conway (Creative Director of AETN), Dr. Mia Phillips (Director of the Mulit-cultural center at UA Little Rock), Emily Bell (Director of Study Abroad at UA Little Rock), Epiphany Morrow, and Susan Altrui (Director of the Little Rock Zoo) – however, Revels intends to grow their organization. “I think once people start to know more about us, they’ll be willing to join. Even though we’re a small staff we’re getting work done,” he said.
Revels stated that there’s much to come from this organization, from guidance to success. “Our main goal is to help enhance the skills and exposure of filmmaking for people of color,” he said.
For information on Arkansas Minority Film & Arts Association, you can find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ArkansasMinorityFilmArtsAssociation/.