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Check Out Immanuel Baldwin’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Immanuel Baldwin.

Hi Immanuel, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
So when I was younger, my mom would bring home movies from a co-worker, I think and usually on Fridays, we’d set aside time to watch whichever movies she had. One night she brought home a movie called “The Walls of Jericho” and it was so great. It stayed embedded in my brain and eventually, it became the house repeat movie. A few more watches and I had remembered every scene, every line of dialogue and everything. It was like this animated movie unlocked my inner creativity. If you’re familiar with the story of Joshua and the walls of Jericho, Its the story of one of the first battles fought by the Israelites in the course of the conquest of Canaan and the stories famous resolution is that he Joshua was visited by God and told specifically to walk around the giant walls of the city they needed to take and they would overcome and be victorious. That’s what he did and the story goes on to show the walls of Jericho tumbling to the ground in spectacular fashion. That ignition was turned on yet again and I started building the castle and lining my toy soldiers up and literally reenacting the entire war sequence. Till this day, I can still hear the trumpets sounding out from the tv. The love of this movie soon turned into a deep-rooted fascination and eventual understanding of cinema and the different types of artistic expression that could be available to those that have certain aspirations to be explorative, esp as a male of color. It’s so wild because I struggled with school and focusing etc., until I found this outlet to create. Things that I had difficulty speaking I could very easily express written in stories and or plays.

I MC’d during school, was in drama club, theatre, painted, sketched and soon became known around every school and every church gathering and every family event as Mr. Director or mini Steven Spielberg. After high school, I went to the Art Institute of Illinois and while I was there through an admissions counselor at school, I was able to production assist on a transformers movie in Chicago for a short time before moving back home to help my mom and brother out with some personal things. Transferring to an art school back home enabled me to continue my education and build some vital relationships which proved to be amazing jobs on various productions,

As of today, I’ve got close to 50 credits as a production assistant, production manager, producer, 1st assistant director, writer, director and performed a slew of other duties on indie and some commercial projects big and small. I know to manage all external and internal multimedia for a university and creative direct / write and occasionally produce. I’ve come to this crossroads in my creative journey by never being afraid to jump in headfirst. Learn on the go, and take feedback close to the chest all while having a 10 second memory. I have used my struggles as an artist of color to inject life into whatever I direct or write.

My mom always encouraged me to go in the direction my heart was telling me. She was an artist and her father was an artist as well, having taken up sketching, writing and painting. All of the things I began to do when I was younger. Now I’ve switched to more moving images / visual content and my younger brother has taken the mantle of sketching and painting etc.

I’ve also worked for bestbuy and apple for a number of years and am and will always be fascinated by technology and what the future will bring. I love coffee and craft beer.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It has not been smooth, ha. Um, I’ve struggled deeply with which direction to take. Falling in love with multiple disciplines and having so many people around me with good advice making certain choices just seemed impossible. For a long time, I did what I thought would make other people happy instead of trying to make me happy.

A big obstacle for me starting out was understanding risks can be a very rewarding prospect. But just which ones do you take. For a while, I got stuck in this production management/ 1st AD role even though I loved to write and direct and tackle other creative challenges. I didn’t know how to break free of the industry ladder, the hierarchy and the pathway that I was told to go because it was the only path you could take.

I think my journey as a creative has been littered with obstacles that I manufactured mostly by my lonesome. You hear the saying, you are your worst enemy that was 100 percent correct with me.

I also think a big learning curve or obstacle for me was being ok with failing. Being ok with for example creating a proof of concept and it not working out., but understanding and walking away from that experience with a lesson, but also knowing that you/ I put my all into it. This teaches patience as well as endurance and strength all are tremendous qualities to have especially in this industry.

Getting over my past lackluster aspirations was also a huge hurdle. Not believing what a middle school or high school teacher suspects you might be.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
So currently, I work for the marketing dept for a university and in this role, I manage all multimedia that is internal and external. What this means is that the content I produce can be seen by virtually anyone and is used as a primary driving force for certain departmental initiatives. I’ve been in this role full-time for about a year after freelance directing and writing full-time.

My work encompasses many different art forms and spans various mediums, from film to print, I strive to make creative choices that will impact society in a positive way. I love digital. I love print. I love words. I love moving and I love still. My work is very story-driven, it’s visceral, technical and most of all it is flexible. At my core, I’m a storyteller and enjoy creating things for people to experience. As an artist, I’ve grown to not just want to make movies. But to be able to be free and tell stories wherever I may feel serves the purpose better. We have so many outlets afforded to us by technology now it would behoove anyone not to try and create forward-thinking visual art that can be cross-platform/ cross-media.

I would like to say my work is direct yet conceptual. Provocative and visceral.

I guess I would say my newfound specialization is telling conceptual, direct, provocative and visceral stories for brands, stories and people. This includes narrative.

My work has been reviewed as beautiful stories with exceptional cinematography, inspired camera movements, touching performances, costumes that reveal characters and a sets that contribute to the emotional desert that can exist between two people who live in pain, this filmmaker has a future.” Short and Sweet Film Festival

I have always been known for making something out of little to nothing. I’d say that’s what I’m most proud of so far in my creative journey. All of the films I’ve directed have had little to no huge financial support and they have all told great stories and gone on to win various awards all over the country and overseas.

I think what sets me apart from other artists in my space is willingness to explore my fascinations whether the outcome is beneficial or not. So many artists stay in their safe area. I typically do not and if I fail, I take It hard but I study that failure over and over.

Alright so before we go can you talk to us a bit about how people can work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
I am always open to collaborate with new artists for those that just want to take a look at my work and support from afar they can check out both newly launched websites and print stores for some selected visual / art direction, writing and directing work.

Otherwise, the following creative spaces and socials are also excellent ways to get in touch for collaboration, conversation and critique.

Vimeo
Linkedin: Immanuel Baldwin
Behance: Immanuel Baldwin
Creatively

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