Monique Morton Derouselle is a filmmaker, theatre artist, and a public school theatre teacher who
received her B.A. from Southern University Baton Rouge and her M.F.A from California State
University Los Angeles. She studied improv at The Second City Hollywood and performs and
teaches improv regularly. Monique was a mentee in the inaugural year of Sophia Changs Unlock Her
Potential mentorship program for women of color with Stefon Bristol as her mentor. Like with Rising
Dawn, Monque’s artistic approach is to "root for everybody Black" by showing honest, nuanced
depictions of Black folks that's rarely seen on screen.
Tell us about your experience at the Hip Hop Film Festival. It was a pleasure to attend The Hip Hop Film Festival during the 50th Anniversary of HIp Hop. Having my short film, Rising Dawn's NYC premiere at a festival that celebrates "The Culture" curated by Lovers of Black culture was an honor. I was able to go to the festival for a few days and see a lot of inspirational films and met many great people. I received many compliments on my film as well by the audience and other filmmakers.
Why are “stories from the culture” worthy of a platform? Many times I think our stories are excluded from mainstream, popular film festivals. Having a festival that curates its line up with films that highlights "stories from the culture" is a breath of fresh air.
Why do you think the Harlem Film House and Hip Hop Film Festival are important? The Harlem Film House and Hip Hop Film Festival are important because they provide a space for Black Filmmakers to get recognition and assistance for their work where they wouldn't otherwise.
What projects are you working on now? I am writing a feature film script which my short film, Rising Dawn was a proof of concept for. I am also submitting my 2nd short film, The Candy Lady into film festivals.