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  • Writer's pictureArmiel Chandler

Culture Spotlight Featuring Sulton Ali

Sultan Ali is a twenty-four-year-old African American male, who was born and raised in New York City. He has an un-relinquishing passion for filmmaking. From a young age, Sultan knew art was in his passion and now he's destined to be successful on his path. Since middle school he dedicated himself to the dramatic arts then in high school he focused his full energy towards cinema. Sultan Ali has worked with various departments both behind the scenes and on-set. As his experiences grew, so did his vision for leading the industry. He started to spend his time working and learning development and TV/Film program management tactics with reputable companies like United Talent Agency, HBO, and the NYS Governor’s Film Office.  During off-hours from work, he would dedicate my time to filmmaking. His first short film was chosen to be produced by NAACP Short Film Competition. Sulton Ali's next film was screened at the Hip-Hop Film Festival and he recently finished project is streaming online. As he continues to create entertaining content, Sulton's main goal is to speak on the issues that affect his community by sharing his vision and providing solutions.

Tell us about your experience at the Hip Hop Film Festival?

My experience was literally my first ever experience at the Hip Hop Film Festival. I was extremely nervous entering my first short film but I was met with cooperation and support from people I barely communicated with. I had the chance to screen my film and host a Q&A on the importance of my story. I expected and received nothing but true admiration.

Why are stories from the culture important? 

Our stories need to be told, people need to know their true history. No one is able to move forward if they don’t know what happened behind them. Our culture is so rich and powerful with ideas and visions, the “history” that we’re taught is only a small fraction of our culture. 

What projects are you working on now? 

A project that is currently in production and I’m excited to show is a short docu-series on black women. Each episode will interview one black woman who possesses a skill that defines her character and allows her to speak on life and wisdom. I chose this project because I feel black women are unrepresented in media and their image is constantly twisted. It’s a positive project that will show black women as the perfect combo of humane and extraordinary. 

Why do you think the Harlem Film House and Hip-Hop Festival is important?

I feel both the Harlem Film House and Hip-Hop Festival are important because they give first-time filmmakers a chance to flex their creativity. Many filmmakers are nervous about their art or unsure where to guide their inspiration. The Harlem Film House serves as a training center to help them. Everyone knows the indie film market is troublesome and tricky, especially if you don’t have any recognition or accolades on your resume. The Hip-Hop Film Festival serves as a safe space for filmmakers to showcase their hard work and connect with people who can help jumpstart their careers.   

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