Montgomery Film Maker Sets Sights on LA
A Montgomery man is making waves in the film making world with his breakthrough web series featuring African Americans in horror films. His name is Sylvester Folks, and he writes, shoots, edits, and directs his own films.
Now, Folks’ series is taking him all the way to the LA Film Festival. The The Ghost and the Negro falls into the Indie Series from the Web category of the competition. He admits entering the festival was a long shot, but it so glad he took a chance.
“When I got the first email, it was like, ‘the film’s been accepted,’ and I had to read it twice actually, to make sure I didn’t over read it, like!” he laughs.
Folks came up with the idea for his series after noticing the lack of diversity in his favorite horror films.
“You know, how cool would it be to have a project where, you have a African American who doesn’t believe in ghosts, doesn’t believe in the supernatural, and he is faced with it one day?” Folks says.
Folks admits being a cinematographer wasn’t his initial career. He started off as a Montgomery Police officer. After six years on the street, he decided his heart was no longer in the work.
“It started off with me writing and producing my own projects,” he says. “Then it kind of lead into me, being a cinematographer and editor for other people’s projects.”
The cast consisted of mostly local actors, and the scenes were set in familiar locations in Downtown Montgomery. Folks hopes to bring a little bit of Alabama to the West Coast, maybe sparking ideas to move major film projects down to the River Region.
“Alabama’s such a wonderful state,” Folks says. “And we have a lot of great things that are going on, I think we need to add to that checklist, more film projects for this state.”
Even though he didn’t start his career until later in life, Folks doesn’t feel like it’s a disadvantage in the competition. He hopes his story can inspire others to tell theirs.
“It doesn’t matter what part of the world you’re from. If you’re story is compelling, that’s what matters,” Folks says. “That’s all that matters. You don’t have to be someone that’s already established, or you don’t have to be related to someone, you don’t even have to get permission from somebody to do this. If you have a story, go make it, go tell it.”
Folks flies out to Los Angeles at the end of the week.