Chinonye Chukwu: 5 films that still inspire me today

“On my first feature film, which was made ages ago, I couldn’t master the visual language. I didn’t master my voice,” writer-director Chinonye Chukwu says of her debut, the 2012 drama AlaskaEarth. “I was always trying to figure shit out, as a director.”

The Nigerian-born, Alaskan-raised filmmaker broke out with her second feature, Clemency, a searing character study of a prison guard (Alfre Woodard) in the days leading up to the execution of one of his inmates. The film premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and won the American Drama Grand Jury Prize, with Chukwu becoming the first black woman to receive the award.

Clemency that’s when I felt like I really came into myself and my confidence and allowed myself to explore cinematic techniques with some intentionality,” she recalls. UntilI felt even more confident and in control of my directorial vision and an even stronger clarity on my directorial vision.”

Until, his latest, tells the story of Grandma Till-Mobley (played in the film by Danielle Deadwyler) and her relentless quest for justice for her 14-year-old son, Emmett Till, who was brutally lynched in 1955 while visiting to his family in Mississippi. “Every movie I make, I want to be a little scared,” Chukwu says, “because I want to keep developing and challenging myself as a filmmaker, and I never want to do the same kind of film twice. film.”

“With the future, I want to explore different cinematic techniques and different genres and really push myself and grow in that way,” she continues. “When I look at the trajectory of my cinematic catalog, even including my short films and the work I have done in film school until today, I am really proud that there has been an evolution , constant growth and expansion and also curiosity in my achievement.”

Below, Chukwu shares with A.frame the five films that most inspired his own direction.

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