For BGLH by Rin­ny of MissRiot.com

Ter­ence Nance’s film, An Over­sim­pli­fi­ca­tion of Her Beau­ty, was recent­ly select­ed to screen at the 2012 Sun­dance Film Fes­ti­val in Park City, UT this upcom­ing Jan­u­ary.

Intro­duce your­self.
T:
My name is Ter­ence Nance. I’m 29. Dal­las, TX- Born and Raised, Boston- Under­grad and NYU for Grad School. Paris France for 2 years after school was fin­ished.

I’m an Artist / Co-founder and Cre­ative Direc­tor at Media MVMT a film pro­duc­tion com­pa­ny (media.mvmt.com) and Embassy MVMT an artist devel­op­ment com­pa­ny (embassy.mvmt.com). Media MVMT is a pro­duc­tion com­pa­ny that makes films, music videos, and a web-series called MOCADA TV. MoCADA is the Muse­um of Con­tem­po­rary African Dias­po­ran Art, in Brook­lyn. We part­nered with them to pro­duce the series that pro­files Artists, Cul­tur­al Orga­ni­za­tions, and Busi­ness­es. The show aired local­ly in Brook­lyn on BCAT and will be released online in 2012.

We pro­duce music videos as well (which I direct) for musi­cians: Pharoa­he Monch, Blitz the Ambas­sador, L4 are a few we’ve worked with. We’ve also pro­duced music for tele­vi­sion shows. In 2012 our we are mov­ing into pro­duc­ing more long-form con­tent.

Many of the wom­en in the teaser for your film were rock­ing nat­u­ral hair. Is it safe to say that you are a fan of nat­u­ral hair?

An Over­sim­pli­fi­ca­tion of Her Beau­ty • Teaser from Ter­ence Nance • Ter­ence Etc. on Vimeo.
 

T: The biggest fan of all time. I actu­al­ly think that there would be some sort of world rev­o­lu­tion if Oprah, Michelle Oba­ma and her daugh­ters, Bey­on­ce, Rhi­an­na, and Susan Rice all went nat­u­ral on the same day.

I don’t dis­crim­i­nate; hair can be dope in a vari­ety of ways as long as your hair­style isn’t in any way a pro­duct of self hate. I used to teach High School and I’ve had sev­er­al very dis­turbing con­ver­sa­tions with young black girls that con­firm the fact that self hate is a pan­demic among the next gen­er­a­tion. That self hate def­i­nite­ly comes out in their deci­sions about their hair and how they view nat­u­ral hair.

That said, I know sev­er­al Black wom­en with straight hair who look fly and love them­selves so one must be care­ful with gen­er­al­iza­tions.

As a guy who rocks a head full of nat­u­ral hair, have you received any inter­est­ing respons­es to your appear­ance?
T:
Ohhh the sto­ries I have to tell… Gen­er­al­ly when I go to The Con­ti­nent (Africa), no one thinks it’s real which I find to be the most iron­ic thing in the world.

Here are 2 quick ones.
1. It’s 8 am I’m wait­ing on a music video shoot to start in Bed Stuy, a 20 year old black wom­an walks up to me and asks if she can touch my hair. I say yes she aggres­sive­ly inserts all 10 of her fin­gers in it. She throws her head back, her eyes roll to the back of her head, and she starts to lick her lips and grunt… some more weird­ness ensues, she walks away smil­ing. Every­one around is in a state of shock.

2. Me and My Ace, Grow have sim­i­lar hair. We are on the N train going to the city. The N or R train which comes from Coney Island through Briton beach and Ben­son­hurst. An old­er guy runs up to us and excit­ed­ly asks, “are you guys ACTORS!” we smile and say no. An old­er white wom­an of un-place­able age joins in on the con­vo and excit­ed­ly opines, “I thought you all were going for the CAVEMAN LOOK.” Heads shake… eyes roll
I guess the moral is that it pro­vokes extreme reac­tions.

How did you find your­self in the busi­ness of mak­ing films?
T:
I came to it very late. When I went to under­grad, I was a visu­al art major. I still con­sid­er myself an artist and not nec­es­sar­i­ly a film mak­er. An Over­sim­pli­fi­ca­tion of Her Beau­ty is my first fea­ture film, I also make music (under the moniker Ter­ence Etc) and work with oth­er media. When I was in under­grad I went to South Africa for 9 months and I made a film called Exor­cis­ing Rejec­tion and it was at that moment that I decid­ed to work with cam­eras and edit­ing in my work. The film was shot on a point and shoot cam­era and I impressed myself so that pushed me for­ward.

I’ve read that An Over­sim­pli­fi­ca­tion of her Beau­ty actu­al­ly start­ed off as a doc­u­men­tary of your own expe­ri­ence in deal­ing with love. What is the sto­ry behind that?
T:
It was non-fic­tion but not doc­u­men­tary. I was re-enact­ing. It was my non-fic­tion. My truth. An incom­plete truth.

What were your orig­i­nal inten­tions in mak­ing this film?
T:
I start­ed the film in school in 2006 and It was large­ly an impulse at first. I thought the film would be 5 min­utes long I had no inten­tions or know-how to make a fea­ture film. I had a lot of omni – direc­tion­al cre­ative ener­gy at the time, I was mak­ing t-shirts, and walk­ing around the city with spray paint sten­cil­ing the word FLY every­where.

Around then I had what I thought was a com­pli­cat­ed sit­u­a­tion with a wom­an, that inspired me to write the film. So my orig­i­nal inten­tions prob­a­bly amount­ed to some sort of need to con­se­crate or val­i­date a dying romance.

But I took so long to make the film that I need­ed to for­mu­late some new inten­tions to keep me going so. I was prob­a­bly also attempt­ing to depict an arche­typ­al ambigu­ous roman­tic-ish rela­tion­ship with­in ‘the swarm’ (peo­ple who are of col­or, in non-cor­po­rate occu­pa­tion­al sit­u­a­tion- for ful­fill­ment as much as for com­pen­sa­tion.)

At the end of the day the movie is about how I felt about her. On some lev­el I do feel the film was God­dess wor­ship. It’s a prayer to her.

I read that you actu­al­ly cast the per­son of your affec­tion as her­self in the film. How did that play out for you when she dis­cov­ered the film was about her?
T:
I can’t real­ly tell you that because it’s in the film.

The teaser paint­ed a fair­ly intense pic­ture of the real­i­ty of love and rela­tion­ships. Since pro­duc­ing this film, has your out­look on love and rela­tion­ships changed?
T:
Well at the time I had a very con­crete moral com­pass, Now I’m back and forth on the prac­ti­cal­i­ty of ALWAYS doing the right thing for every­one involved, may­be some­times you should just do you. I’ve nev­er actu­al­ly tried that in the way that I’m talk­ing about, so may­be it’s just that the grass is green­er on the oth­er side.

What advice do you have for oth­er artists of col­or?
T:
The first thing is learn your craft to com­pe­ten­cy but learn your voice to mas­tery. There are not as many peo­ple in our com­mu­ni­ty as you would think who are tech­ni­cal­ly pro­fi­cient at the tech­ni­cal skill of mak­ing films, I hon­est­ly feel for artists of col­or we real­ly need to focus on learn­ing the tools of the trade and under­stand­ing them in a way that facil­i­tates their opti­mal use. Learn how to light, learn how to com­pose, how to do a match on action cut, how to do a break­down and sched­ule, etc. etc. it’s just a mat­ter of increas­ing your vocab­u­lary, you will con­struct bet­ter sen­tences the more words you know.

As peo­ple of col­or I don’t think we can afford to Woody Allen / Kev­in Smith the game and focus on the non – tech­ni­cal aspects of film­mak­ing because we don’t have the priv­i­lege of hav­ing an end­less amount of tech­ni­cians at our dis­pos­al, as Writ­ers / Direc­tors of col­or we need to be auteurs with a whole under­stand­ing of the process from script to screen.

That said. Know­ing how the cam­era works won’t get you far, once you are tech­ni­cal­ly pro­fi­cient you must pos­s­es your own entire­ly unique voice as an artist, and you must mas­ter that voice.

Sec­ond, make some art! Com­plet­ing the work is often the most dif­fi­cult thing. Addi­tion­al­ly, you must com­plete work that firm­ly posi­tions you as an artist with a voice as opposed to a tech­ni­cian mak­ing triv­ial enter­tain­ments or spec­ta­cles. We don’t live in a mer­i­toc­ra­cy in the world of media the per­son who arrives with the work first wins. I think a lot of great artists have a prob­lem fin­ish­ing things or fin­ish­ing things con­sis­tent­ly. Mas­ter your craft and voice through mak­ing art work and fin­ish­ing a lot of it. Be pro­lific, If you build it the peo­ple will come. Not that I’m any­one to be mak­ing this chal­lenge but I want to per­son­al­ly chal­lenge any­one who is film­mak­er to write and direct a fea­ture film that is dis­tinct­ly your voice, in the next 20 months. We can no longer say this is unre­al­is­tic. The next cul­tur­al fron­tier for peo­ple of col­or is film­mak­ing.

It’s impor­tant that we work as a com­mu­ni­ty, we can’t get any­where if we are all work­ing uncon­scious of each oth­ers work and resources. I am a co founder of a film­mak­ers col­lec­tive called Cin­e­ma Stereo (cinemastereo.org) and we are attempt­ing to do just that. Col­lec­tivize as a means of ele­vat­ing all of our work to more vis­i­ble plat­forms.

Describe your ide­al girl.
T:
They are all described in the movie.
But I guess my Ide­al per­son is just dope, what they are doing with their life, their time, their ener­gy is dope. They are pro­lific, ambi­tious, giv­ing, knowl­edge­able, curi­ous. They prob­a­bly smell like some com­bi­na­tion of san­dal­wood, Egyp­tian musk, cocoa but­ter, coconut oil, and may­be some laven­der. They are respon­si­ble, emo­tion­al­ly healthy, phys­i­cal­ly healthy, and men­tal­ly healthy, they val­ue their time and spend it wise­ly, they are doing what they love.

They’re an artist, ath­let­ic / active, open, they can dance, they can sing, they are auto­di­dac­tic, they are unflap­pable, inde­pen­dent, con­fi­dent, CONFIDENT, aggres­sive, com­mu­nal, they are grow­ing and invest­ed in their con­tin­u­al growth, they are secure in their hue, they are com­pet­i­tive in a healthy way, mater­nal, dis­ci­plined, deter­mined. They’re prob­a­bly one of those peo­ple who posts pic­tures of Solange, and ani­mat­ed gifs of the Pyra­mids at Giza on their Tum­blr, or they’re in one of the pic­tures those peo­ple post. They eat to live, They are wit­ty, quick of the mind, quick of the tongue, opin­ion­at­ed, pro­gres­sive (polit­i­cal­ly), well informed, spon­ta­neous, cul­tured in the way I was, cen­tered, loy­al,
It also helps if they like me.

How can we find out more infor­ma­tion about An Over­sim­pli­fi­ca­tion of Her Beau­ty?
T:
For now you can go to media.mvmt.com/oversimplification
We are still rais­ing funds to com­plete post-pro­duc­tion oversimplification.mvmt.com/fundraising to donate

I’d like to extend a huge Thanks to Ter­ence and his team at MVMT! I wish them all the best at Sun­dance!

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop cul­ture and black beau­ty enthu­si­ast. bell hooks’ hair twin…

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29 Comments on "A Sit-down with Sundance Filmmaker Terence Nance"

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NinaG

Love it. I wish I was going to sun­dance

Maha

His words are too adorable. Loved the inter­view.

Biola

This was refresh­ing. There’s not enough black peo­ple behind or in front of the screens.

df

I love this inter­view so much, it’s so poet­ic that I almost want to print it out and reread it from time to time. The movie also looks real­ly good, con­grats con­grats to being select­ed for Sun­dance. I wish you the bestest!

I’ll just say that he’s beau­ti­ful, his hair is beau­ti­ful, love is beau­ti­ful, black is beau­ti­ful.

ubuntu

dear ter­ence,

i am your ide­al wom­an. please locate me asap.

sin­cere­ly,

one of those girls who posts pic­tures of solange & the pyra­mids of giza on her tum­blr

YelloKat

Wow…I’ve known about him for a lit­tle while, and I think his work is beau­ti­ful. I must find a way to see this film.

Antoinette Stewart

Tal­ent­ed. He makes me smile :]

kd

Ter­rence! He’s such a sweet­ie and you have to check out Blitz The Ambas­sador LIVE!

Jenna B.

Ter­ence,

It’s good to see you all grown up! 

From a J.J. Pearce Alum

mizou

love his descrip­tion of his ide­al wom­an :-). I’m see­ing some­one but I total­ly smell like san­dal­wood and coconut oil…currently resid­ing in Haiti…working for an agri-business…chasing my dreams and sir, your words made me want to keep work­ing at being a bet­ter me.

BrooklynCoily

I might be mis­tak­en, but I think Sasha and Malia Oba­ma are nat­u­ral.

Awet

Uggh­hh… he for­got to leave his num­ber??!!

NinaG

LOL Awet

LBell

SO hap­py to learn about this young man and his art. I espe­cial­ly appre­ci­at­ed his advice for oth­er artists of col­or; it was real­ly on point. And as some­one who is so tired the same old Hol­ly­wood b.s., I’m real­ly look­ing for­ward to see­ing this film in its entire­ty. Best of luck to you, Ter­ence! Thanks for this inter­view.

Alisha

Total­ly dig­ging Ter­ence.
His inter­view was dope on so many dif­fer­ent lev­els.
The teaser looks awe­some. He, his hair, the actress­es, their hair…all look awe­some.
“57821” is one of my favorite tracks on the ArchAn­droid album.

Sandi

I think I’m in love.…lol

Jor-El (Mane Man)

DOPE! His hair is awe­some too. Great inter­view.

Everette Egun

Wow T con­grats Sun­dance thats major! I was just talk­ing about going this up com­ing year!! The trail­er is dope

JH

He just described me.

NinaG

go get him!

Jasmine

I love this inter­view!!

JJ

WOW! Imag­ine if if Oprah, Michelle Oba­ma and her daugh­ters, Bey­on­ce, etc went nat­u­ral. Don’t know if it would be a fad or a rev­o­lu­tion, but WOW

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