Writer, Director, and Photographer based in Berlin. She’s an artist whose films offer an invitation to explore our own beliefs, identities, and relationship to the natural world. Azure recently worked in the Writer’s Room on Showtime’s “The Good Lord Bird.” She took some time to share with us her work and what Support means to her.
As a BIPOC creative, what does “support” mean to you?
Support to me has many different faces. Sometimes it looks like a check-in from a friend, getting hired, being paid on time and well. A lot of the time, it’s consistently being seen, heard, and advocated for, especially from people in positions of power.
Who has supported you and why was it meaningful?
When George Floyd was killed in 2020, it was such a hard time for me and for many. Even though it was a collective sadness, I felt alone. It’s hard to focus on anything, let alone your art when you feel like your personhood is in danger. Something that made me feel supported was getting check-ins from friends of mine who are white. It was the support I needed to feel seen at that moment.
What is a big challenge being a BIPOC creative in your industry?
Because the movie industry has been occupied mainly by white men since its conception, being a black writer and filmmaker has often felt like an act of rebellion.
As a BIPOC filmmaker, I’ve climbed an uphill battle just to be seen and taken seriously. I’ve walked into many jobs where I was questioned about my role because I am a woman of color. It’s an internal and an external struggle.
Any words of advice or encouragement to BIPOC creatives just starting out?
Find things that bring you joy, first and foremost. And when those things run out, find more. My 90-year-old Godmother taught me that. And keep making art, even when it’s hard, and you feel like no one sees it or cares about it or that it doesn’t matter. It does. Keep doing it.
What is your cultural heritage and how has it influenced your work?
I am the daughter of two black parents with roots that originate from many different places. My Grandma was a Jewish immigrant from Poland, and my maternal great-great-grandmother came from the Chocktaw tribe. I have ancestors who were slaves and ancestors who went through the Holocaust. I think about that often and how it makes me who I am. It’s especially interesting because I just moved to Germany, so I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of art I make here.
Why is BIPOC representation meaningful to you?
It’s easy to minimize the importance of representation when you don’t know what a world looks like without it. At 13, when I knew I wanted to be a director, I had no image of someone who looked like me to look up to. I delayed my admission to film school because I thought I didn’t fit the mold. If I had seen more women of color in the industry, I don’t think those doubts would’ve existed so strongly. I want things to be different for those coming after me.
Why is DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) important to you and your industry?
It’s important because it opens doors for BIPOC creators to have a seat at the table. I could write a whole book about it, but in short, there just aren’t enough of us. And it has nothing to do with talent or skill; it has to do with opportunity. It starts from the top. BIPOC artists need to be sitting in roles of executives, network CEOs, directors of distribution companies, and heads of production companies. It’s not enough to hire one black writer in a writer’s room and call it a day. We need black and brown people to be leading these teams from the top down.
Why are telling BIPOC stories important to you?
Our stories have been silenced, twisted, and turned and told from others’ mouths for so long. In doing so, we’ve done a great disservice to ourselves. Sharing our stories ignites empathy, which leads to compassion, which ultimately leads to radical healing. It’s important to me, but telling BIPOC stories is of global importance.