Reeling 29 Part 3:Interview with Deana Williams of Tracks

Deana Williams makes her directorial debut with the short film Tracks, a coming of age story which explores a special friendship between two troubled teenage girls. Tracks is 1 of 5 short films that make up the Goodbye My Lover series on love found, love lost themes showing on Monday November 9 at the Landmark Century Centre Cinema at 9:15 PM.

PRIDEINDEX (PI): In the trailer for Tracks there is mention that the movie was based on true events, who’s story is the film based on?

DEANA WILLIAMS (DW): For a couple of reasons. I studied film in Miami and sometime after I graduated life happened and I had to get a day job. Waiting for freelance work wasn’t an option, so I put my artistic life on hold and went to work. I started working at a Film school as the Equipment Room Manager helping students develop their skills as filmmakers. One day I realized that I was helping all these kids but not working on my own passion, which is to write and direct film. I thought to myself what film should I make. I had not made a movie in a while. Since I was coming out back into the world of Film I thought it was only appropriate to tell my actual coming out story. I thought this film would speak to those kids and to the families that go through these same issues. Also there aren’t many films about women. There are less films about black women, and even less about black lesbian women. I know I was searching for images of myself on screen when I was younger so I decided to put those images out there. 

PI: What it was like to bring this film to the market place, from concept to the moment it first premiered on screen.

DW: It was a lot of hard work. t It took about a year from script to screen. It was a lot of hard work. But it was so much fun during the whole process. From rewrites to casting to the craziness of production to the drama of the edit (my editor is the craziest guy, but he’s also become one of my good friends) and finally the nerves of wondering if people will like what I’ve spent the last year working on. TOTALLY FUN! 

PI: Have you ever attended a screening of Tracks with a full audience, and what was it like? If you had it all to do over what would you do different?

DW: The world premiere at the Philadelphia Qfest was sold out. I was so nervous, but when I got up there for the Q&A they could take the mic away from me. It was so exciting. The audience was laughing when they were supposed to and some even told me that they cried. I was so happy. I felt like I accomplished so much and that I touched people with my work, which would make anyone feel great. I wouldn’t do one single thing differently!

PI: Describe the decision making process regarding the music played in the film.

DW: The music in Tracks is something very special. The whole music crew was phenomenal, starting with my soundmixer/ music recorder/ everything audio, Phil Colodetti and LeDarius Nixon. From the beginning I wanted to have all original music. I wanted the music to reflect the kind of music that I like. My producer Jesus Reyna and I have been friends for 6 years so he knew what type of music I was looking for. He introduced me to Dina Marie who sang and played guitar. When I heard her I immediately brought her in on the project. My composer Angel Riquelme is also a good friend of mine. I always knew that I wanted to work with him as he is very passionate and puts himself deep into the project. My actresses Maryel Epps and Erica Burns were also musical women. Maryel is an amazing local singer and Erica had recorded a few rap songs in the past. I decided to musically bring a little bit of everyone in the film. Maryel sings from the point of view of the mother at the end of the film. Erica raps from the point of view of Tasha the free spirited basketball girl and Dina sings and plays guitar for push the emotions of the story forward. I was truly blessed to have such a talented crew.

PI: Tell us about any of your current projects.

DW: Right now I’m working on a short thriller that examines cheating. I am also working on a gay sitcom.


PI: Do you have plans to make a full length film?
DW:  Within a year or so I would like to make my first full length feature film.

PI: What made you become a filmmaker? Name some of your mentors and/or influences.

DW: My father was a painter and a musician so I had always been passionate about the arts. I loved stories of all sorts especially scary ones. When I was in 3rd grade my teacher told my mother that I had the makings to become a great writer. She asked me if I might want to do that when I grow up. I told her I wanted to be a painter like dad, but soon after that I was watching some of my favorite 80’s movies and it made me think I could turn my stories into movies too. After I realized this I told my mother I wanted to make movies. I then wrote my first script in pencil. I guess the best answer is that I wanted to tell great stories, fun stories, and exciting stories. My mother has always been the biggest influence in my life as she bought me my first camera and always encouraged me to do what I love.

PI: Do you have any advice for aspiring filmmakers?

DW: Don’t stop working at what you’re passionate about. Always keep learning and evolving.

PI:  Is there anything else you would like to share about the film?

DW: This was an important story in my life but it’s also an important story in many people’s lives so I hope that people watch the film and are able to feel better about themselves and their relationships with their family members. 

Deana Williams was born in New Orleans, Louisiana and currently lives in Miami where she resides with her domestic partner of 7 years.  Visit: www.reelingfilmfestival.org,  www.tracksmovie.com, www.facebook.com/tracksmovie Email: info@tracksmovie.com