Kacie Willis' 'White Angle' brings white and Black filmmakers together to have tough conversations.
During the national reckoning around race and injustice last year, we were bombarded with recommendations for films about racism and civil unrest. As these recommendations were circulating, Kacie Willis, a native Detroiter, was asking a question: Should white filmmakers be telling stories of Black trauma? To explore that question she created White-Angle, a three-part podcast focused on exploring race and documentary filmmaking.
The series brought together a white filmmaker and a Black filmmaker to engage in dialogue. Each episode was purposed with dissecting how perspective and privilege factor into storytelling. “I wanted to do something to show people that having conversations with someone who has a different perspective from you, different life experience from you, (and) coming from a different background demographic does not have to be a scary thing,” Willis says. “I just want people to see that as hard as it is to have these discussions, not having them ultimately isn’t going to make the situation any easier.”
In the second episode Nakia Stephens, a Black screenwriter and producer, is paired with Roee Messinger, a white filmmaker and the director of American Trial: The Eric Garner Story, which gained new attention during the racial uprising. Stephens inquires about Messinger’s intention behind the film, stressing the responsibility that comes with white men covering communities with which they are unfamiliar. Messinger’s response: “I think that we should be careful when we are limiting artists to what kind of story they should tell and what kind of art they should make.”
White-Angle was launched with the support of the Alumni Atelier program at Savannah College of Art and Design, Willis’ alma mater. In 2019, she was selected as one of 10 participants of the Spotify Sound Up program, an initiative to amplify underrepresented voices in podcasting.