Student director Alexis Clark finds inspiration in identity, creates intersectional art
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We’re all here for one reason or another, all trying to discover our own callings, but senior Alexis Clark seems to have it all figured out. Majoring in psychology and minoring in public health, you wouldn’t expect her passion to blaze for filmmaking, yet she continues strong on a path she has laid out for herself that fuses her desire for creating original work with her want for more inclusive media.
“I’m hoping that [the film industry] continues to go into the direction of having more creatives of color, more women of color, more non-binary folks, queer people creating and getting their stories out there,” Clark said.
Though the film industry is headed in a more inclusive direction, Clark has reservations about the pace at which it is changing.
“Is it moving as quickly as I would want it to? No. But I feel that I’m in a good space to carve my own little way into this career,” Clark said. “Especially just because I am working under another woman of color who’s had a lot of experience in the industry.”
Clark has been working as an intern with the New Orleans-based production company Tucker Gurl since spring 2015 under founder and director Angela Tucker. Since beginning the internship nearly two years ago, Clark has tried her hand at editing, directing and even acting.
“I enjoy a lot of the work that I do for my internship…,” Clark said. “Tucker Gurl has this web series called ‘Black Folks Don’t’ which is partnered through PBS, and I actually edited an episode of that this summer.”
In fact, Clark received a wealth of experience over the past summer, helping Angela Tucker with a recent short film this past summer.
“[Tucker’s] also in the process of making a feature-length film that will hopefully be filmed sometime during 2017,” Clark said. “It’s called ‘Paper Chase,’ which I’m really excited about.”
As well as working for Tucker Gurl, Clark develops her own projects. Most recently, she directed a video that followed the model of the viral “Mannequin Challenge” to rapper Nicki Minaj’s “Black Barbies.”
In her earlier days as a Tulane student, Clark started her filmmaking career with Tulane University Broadcasting Entertainment. Her interest in digital media escalated when she created a web series called “College Code,” based off the popular MTV series “Guy Code.” Initially, she saw the series as “just something cute and a hobby for me and my friends to do,” but as she became more invested in editing and directing, she realized filmmaking just might be something she wanted to actually pursue.
Clark has only progressed forward with her projects since then, all the while keeping inclusively at the forefront of her mind. She said her identity as a biracial cisgendered woman has been a large influence in her creative process.
“A lot of that has been influenced by my personal identity as being biracial,” Clark said. “I’ll say that I’ve grown a lot in my identity and my understanding of intersectionality, racism, sexuality since coming to Tulane. When I first started, I definitely wanted it to be inclusive, but I didn’t have the same analysis that I do now, and so I feel like each year I’m growing and … adding new aspects to the products that I’m working on, and I’m thinking about them in different ways.”
Through her various independent projects as well as her work through Tucker Gurl, Clark holds one thing constant: her chief goal.
“I hope to be working in the film and TV industry and just creating stuff, whether that be as an editor, a director, a producer, a writer or an actor,” Clark said. “I just really hope that I’ll be able to create works that are different and successful. I think my main goal is to be doing something that I enjoy, and I really enjoy putting my energy into creating. So hopefully, whatever job I have is something where I can express myself in that way.”