A.V. Rockwell

Alicia Keys’ “The Gospel” (excerpt from short film)

A.V. Rockwell

Little Minx

1) What was your first professionally directed work and when was it? 
I directed an R&B music video in 2014.

2) How did you get into directing? 
I’ve always had an interest in film, but I never knew you could pursue filmmaking as a full blown career and had no proximity to anyone who made movies when I was growing up.

However, my earliest experiences with the medium sparked a level of ambition I’d never felt before. And then later, discovering European cinema and experimental films, during a period in which I felt very uncertain about my future, expanded my view of what could be expressed. It allowed me to connect to a part of myself I had previously buried. Once I learned that filmmaking could be a livelihood, I took a leap of faith and decided to pursue it.

3) What is your most recent project? 
Last year I directed a short film called “The Gospel,” in collaboration with the singer Alicia Keys.

It was a companion piece to her latest album Here and was loosely inspired her upbringing in New York City. We really had an awesome time making it.

4) What is the best part of being a director?
I love the collaborative process. I enjoy pulling people into a different time and space through motion pictures and the emotional journey film evokes. It’s a way in which I can hopefully make someone’s day a little brighter and also expand our thinking as a society. Film has the power to bring people together by allowing us to walk in each other’s shoes.

5) What is the worst part of being a director? 
You’re often making hard decisions in the moment and once you commit to it, there’s no going back. However, that forces you to trust you instincts which is a good way to move through life anyway.

6) What is your current career focus: commercials & branded content, TV, movies? Do you plan to specialize in a particular genre—comedy, drama, visual effects, etc.? 
I’m most interested in directing feature-length dramas but I try to remain open to other great opportunities for storytelling as well. I really enjoy working in short form, so I look forward to delving into commercials and branded content too.

7) Have you a mentor and if so, who is that person (or persons) and what has been the lesson learned from that mentoring which resonates with you? 
I do have mentors, but am not sure they will feel comfortable with me sharing their names. However, I can say that I’m really grateful to have each of them, especially considering how tough is it to navigate a career in this business. The lessons that resonate the most relate to being a strong and confident director. Being humble but also an assertive leader is key. Also, I’m constantly encouraged to think long term and to focus on developing my voice as an artist. Success really doesn’t happen overnight and it probably shouldn’t anyway.

8) Who is your favorite director and why? 
Spike Lee because of the work he’s released over the length of his career, as well as the doors he continues to open for filmmakers of color.

9) What is your favorite movie? Your favorite television/online program? Your favorite commercial or branded content? 
I really can’t narrow it down to one favorite, but the movies I never get tired of are Goodfellas, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Aladdin, Battle of Algiers, Z, and Crooklyn. My favorite TV show is still Hey Arnold. I’ve never thought about what my favorite commercial is—probably anything put out by Nike or Adidas Originals.

10) Tell us about your background (i.e. where did you grow up? Past jobs?) 
I grew up in Jamaica, Queens to West Indian parents. There are no other artists in my family, so sometimes it’s tough getting people to understand my work life. Before I considered pursuing filmmaking, I thought about becoming a songwriter or composer. I guess I still could do that if I wanted to—life is short and nothing’s off limits.


Jennette Maclachlan
Executive Producer
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