Angel Kristi Williams was hard at work on her latest film project and was completely unaware that she had been recognized by a national publication as one of 10 directors to watch.
So, when a friend posted a story online from Paste Magazine, the Baltimore native who had been working to produce her latest film, “Charlotte,” was stunned.
“I was astonished and I was humbled,” Williams said. “It was very surprising. But, it was a very nice surprise.”
Williams, a graduate of the University of Maryland Baltimore County, has seen her work exhibited at the Baltimore Museum of Art and AMC Theatres in Maryland.
She worked in television as a marketing post production coordinator for Discovery Communications. She also earned the Lumiere Scholarship— established to recognize the outstanding creative and academic achievements of incoming students in the masters of fine arts film and video programs— to attend Columbia College Chicago as a master of fine arts candidate in cinema directing.
“I always had aspirations to be a media or image maker of some sort,” Williams said.
“I didn’t know when I was younger whether I would be a videographer, talk show host or producer, but I always knew that I was drawn to storytelling and making images whether with photographs or other tools.”
Williams says that she had little doubt that she would be in the filmmaking business and, it just so happens, writing and directing has also panned out for her.
Even though she now lives in Los Angeles, Williams says returning to Baltimore to shoot her new film, “Charlotte,” has counted as a career highpoint.
“People know in Los Angeles and everywhere that I go that I’m from Baltimore and I’m proud of that because Baltimore is a great city,” she said. “But, when I’m home, I have the support of family and friends and there’s nothing like it.”
One of 30 Film Independent Project Involve Fellows for 2014, Williams recently completed her first short film, “Christmas Tree,” which she has offered to various movie festivals.
She is particularly excited about her latest creation, “Charlotte,” which explores the development and relationship of two young women, a drama filmed in Charm City.
“I love provocative stories, ones that spark conversation. I like telling stories about characters that intrigue me in all their complexities,” Williams said.
Williams plans to screen the film to audiences in Baltimore by the end of summer and then take it to the various film festivals with hopes it will take off from there. She says that she works very hard at her craft and it’s important that others who aspire to work in such a competitive field work hard as well.
“You have to study as much as you can [and] be ten times as prepared as your peers because you can never be too prepared,” she said, adding that she wants to see an expanded field of black women filmmakers.
While she is happy working with various actors and other industry personnel, Williams says that if she were able to pick one actress that she would love to work with, it would be Oscar-winner Meryl Streep.
“She is phenomenal, so graceful,” Williams said. “I have admired Meryl Streep since the movie, ‘Kramer vs. Kramer.’ You talk about building a body of work, as a director you would want that body of work for yourself.”