What made you decide to start making movies?
Contrina: To be completely honest I never thought about being a filmmaker or a writer. I l always loved movies but it never cross my mind, now I couldn’t imagine not doing it. I started out on the open mic and one day I thought it would be cool to try and write a play. Gave the play to one my best friends Vincent Johnson “Black Bluez” and he suggested we do a stage play. And from there I fell in love with stage production. We did a play called Love Is, we hired a videographer to come out and film it for us. He liked the play and suggested that we turn it into a movie and we went for it.
What is your favorite part of the process of making a film?
Contrina: I love being on set. To watch the characters come to life. Its my happy place
Being a Intelligent Strong Black Woman in the filming industry How has that helped you and yet what have your challenges been?
Contrina: Its definitely made me developed tougher skin. I get a chance to tell “our” story in my own way. Sometimes I feel as a black woman you have to work twice as hard. People don’t take you seriously. I do get labeled as the “angry black woman” which is so frustrating at times. I do feel some label you as a “Bitch” when you are driven and stand up for your beliefs.
How do you go through your casting? You pick some amazing people
Contrina: Houston is so full of talent. For our full length movies, we have open auditions. I usually advertise it on social medial and casting sites. For short films, I usually handpick people, its usually people I’ve previously worked with.
Name your creations and where they can be seen
Contrina: Love Is… can be found online through Amazon and different streaming services. Pipe Dreams is on Youtube. Definition of Manhood (short film) was strictly made for the film festivals. We have a new movie coming out next month on August 14th at Yorktown AMC, I will be submitting that film to Maverick Entertainment also. They are a distribution company for independent films.
What advice would you give someone who wants to start doing what you do?
Contrina: Go for it!!! Build a team. A strong production team is the key. You have to have faith and believe in something greater than you and for me that is God. God always provide, there’s no way I could do this without having faith and believing in God. Teamwork makes the dream work. And you have to invest in yourself. You can’t expect others to believe if you don’t.
As African American culture has been Evolving in the past few years, how do you translate that in your field?
Contrina: By bringing awareness to different issues that affect us as a people and being a voice. In my projects we discuss mental health, sexual abuse, sexuality, and etc. I’m also have a future project that will discuss racism and police brutality. I try really hard to display Multidimensional characters. We are a people of many layers. Characters that are outside the box. I have a range of different characters from artists, entrepreneurs, nurses, teachers, politicians, rap stars, musicians, dancers, poets to hustlers.
What’s your dream cast?
Contrina: Dream cast: I would love to work with Viola Davis, Denzel Washington, Phylicia Rashad and Angela Bassett on a drama. That would be dope. It’s so many. I also love Tarija P Henson, Omar Epps, Bette Midler, Kathy Bates, Renee Lawless, and Larenz Tate too. Too many to name. I would love to write on a Shonda Rhimes or Mara Brock Akil or Dick Wolf tv series.
What topic would you never touch?
Contrina: I don’t know I think I’m pretty open to a certain extend. Maybe slavery is something that I might not show in my films just because I think that its been showed time and time again in our films and there so much more to show.
How do you personally juggle personal life with your work life?
Contrina: It can be hard sometimes. I have a great support system and that really helps. Balancing being a Mom with working on my dream is a lot…but I’m a Mom first. Sometimes I will bring my daughter on set and to auditions and my son has help a couple of times behind the scenes. My kids think what I do is cool lol. My daughter wants to be an actress and my son is into music production. I also work full time as a Corporate recruiter my goal in the next three years is to focus totally on filmmaking. Right now its definitely a juggling act.When it comes to relationships it can be difficult because my time is limited especially when we are in production. I try to take mental breaks rather it’s a trip to the spa, a vacation, hanging with friends and family or just some alone time at home. I struggle with balance. I overwhelm myself and stretch myself thin but I’m working on that lol
Who all is involved in your team?
Contrina: Vincent Johnson is our Casting Director and Acting Coach. When we do stage plays he is the Director. Courtney Elaine is our Creative Consultant and Associate Producer. She has also directed and been our Creative Director. A new addition to our team is Rhonda Adams she is our Creative Director, Stylist, and Set Designer. We also partner with IDO Media. That team consist of Brandon Kelly and Patrick Wickliffe They handle filming, sound, and editing.
open mic!!! The stage is yours.
Contrina: Its so important to walk in your purpose. Don’t let fear limited you. If you see something you want go for it!