Culture Spotlight Featuring Akilah ‘AK’ Walker
Akilah ‘AK’ Walker is an actress, auteur and creative producer fascinated by the performative, the magical and the absurd–especially as it relates to people of the African diaspora. Akilah was named ‘Best First Time Director (Female)by The Independent Shorts Awards inOctober of 2021 for her directorial debut short film ‘Ivar Tunnel: Shook Ones’.AK co-foundedGood Mother Films, a creative production company that specializes in producing innovative and community-conscious content for film, television, web, theatre and beyond.AK holds an MFA in acting from American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco as well as aBA in Acting from Fordham University. Originally an Atlanta native, she now proudly calls LosAngeles home.
Tell us about your experience at the Hip Hop Film Festival? My experience at the HHFF was incredible--It was such an awesome feeling to screen my film for an audience that identifies with hip hop culture. Being in the audience and being able to hear everyone's reactions in real time as the film was playing was a huge affirmation that they understood my vision and resonated with the story I created. Also, hearing the praise and thought-provoking feedback at the talkback inspired me as a filmmaker to keep going and to keep pushing because my work has a spirited and hungry audience! I will never forget the love and encouragement I received at this year's festival--I'm using it as fuel for the next one.
Why are stories from the culture important? Stories from the culture are so important because representation matters. Seeing our experiences on screen helps us envision a greater and brighter future for ourselves--especially for our young people--it is crucial for them to see stories from the culture to know where they come from and to carry the rich history on. Hip Hop gets new life with each passing generation as we all continue to share our stories.
What projects are you working on now? I am currently in post production for my next short film that I directed 'Pedacito De Carne'. It was written by my producing partner Diana Gonzalez-Morett and the film is 1 of 5 films selected to be made for the Latino Lens Women of Color Short Film Incubator sponsored by NALIP and Netflix. Check out my instagram to learn more @Akthewayy.
Why do you think the Harlem Film House and Hip Hop Film Festival are important? The Harlem Film House and the Hip Hop Film Festival are so important because they give early career filmmakers like myself a place to show our work to the industry and the larger public. Having a platform to get your work seen by the industry, other creatives and the general public is so vital for rising artists--we need those connections and those partnerships and those supporters to continue to further our careers. I'm so grateful to have been a part of the festival this year.