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WNBA Star Tina Charles Debuts New Film ‘Game Changer’

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Skilled basketball participant Tina Charles isn’t any stranger to the highlight as a two-time Olympic gold medal winner in basketball and member of the WNBA’s Washington Mystics, but it surely’s movie that has afforded the 2010 #1 draft choose the chance to inform poignant and highly effective tales about on a regular basis all-stars and recreation changers. In 2019, Charles launched a documentary project about her music business father, titled Charlie’s Records, which made its debut to a sold-out crowd on the Tribeca Movie Competition that yr.

Along with her newest work, Charles put the world on discover—she’s obtained a imaginative and prescient and a voice, and she or he’s hellbent on sharing it via movie, one documentary at a time.

In Sport Changer, Charles follows the journey of Tanya DePass, a lifelong Chicagoan who takes on the skilled gaming world to struggle for higher illustration of African People and girls within the business. DePass is on a mission to make gaming higher and extra inclusive for everybody, together with folks like herself, and in telling her story, Charles hopes to obviously display why illustration in sometimes white areas issues, in addition to encourage others to struggle for the causes that may really result in progressive change on the earth. 

Sport Changers is one among 4 quick movies chosen to be a part of the 2021 Queen Collective, a expertise growth program launched by Procter & Gamble in partnership with Queen Latifah and Tribeca Studios to mentor and information numerous ladies filmmakers who’ve a contemporary perspective on the storytelling that examines humanity and optimistic social modifications. This yr’s spherical of movies will likely be featured on BET and BET Her as a part of the Juneteenth celebration.

BET.com spoke with Charles about what motivates and evokes her to pursue numerous movie tasks, why variety is so necessary, and the recommendation that she acquired that actually modified the best way she makes movies.

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BET.com: What do you discover most fun or interesting about being a movie director?

Tina Charles: What I discover most interesting is simply the method and what it takes to make a movie. And that is one thing that I really like, being part of the method after which the ultimate course of. Being an athlete, being within the WNBA, getting up and going to the gymnasium early so as so that you can work laborious, to change into nice…these are all of the issues that I utilized to filmmaking. I really like the truth that I will be behind the scenes and nonetheless have an important impression on how a narrative is advised. And so, for me personally, that’s the enjoyment that I get. It’s seeing one thing come collectively, particularly with nonfiction with the ability to inform anyone else’s story and provides them a platform and permit them to be seen.

BET.com: For you, is there any distinction between being acknowledged as a director and as a Black feminine director?   

Tina Charles: For me personally, the African American feminine administrators who got here earlier than me are the explanation why I’ve the alternatives that I’ve right now. You wish to get to an area the place you’re only a director and it does not must be excellent like, ‘Oh, this can be a Black lady that made this movie.’

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BET.com: Black ladies like Issa Rae (HBO’s Awkward Black Woman) and Michaela Coel (HBO’s I Could Destroy You) are actually altering the sport of filmmaking. What do you consider is the most important impediment for girls desirous to make their mark in movie, and what recommendation are you able to provide for girls making an attempt to beat these obstacles?

Tina Charles: Simply having entry and with the ability to erase the stigma that variety means much less high quality. I believe that is the most important impediment. Minorities have to have the ability to see themselves doing these items to allow them to consider that they are often there sooner or later. Simply have a look at Issa Rae, and what she’s been capable of do, being a trailblazer, that is what gave me hope. Yeah, I am recognized for being a WNBA player, however this can be a lane that I can get it in. I imply, Issa didn’t make her first movie till she was 32, 33, in order that positively gave me hope, simply being 32 myself.

BET.com: Have you ever gotten any recommendation from anybody else within the business that has modified the sport for you?

Tina Charles: I must say my producer, Veronique Bernard, who can also be a movie instructor at Hunter School in New York. She advised me that you simply make a movie 3 times—you make it earlier than you really do your taking pictures, you make it while you’re taking pictures it and really placing it collectively, after which you’ve submit. She was simply letting me know that it is a course of and that is one thing that I’ve taken with me ever since she stated it to me. That is the primary movie that I used to be capable of work alongside her, with Sport Changer, and I am very grateful to have had her with me.  

BET.com: Let’s discuss Sport Changer. What was your inspiration for the movie and why did you’re feeling that it was necessary to tackle the subject material of variety in gaming?

Tina Charles. I grew up enjoying video video games. I began at an early age, however I didn’t see myself as a superhero. After doing a little analysis and discovering Tanya DePass and what she displays and represents within the gaming business, simply pushing for equality, pushing for illustration, being a job participant, developer, guide—that did wonders for me. I stated, what? Her story must be advised as a result of she is breaking limitations. She is getting entry, and she or he obtained sick and bored with not seeing herself in video video games. She’s not somebody who simply stated one thing about it; she took motion. And I am all about taking motion in issues that I wish to advocate for and alter.

Her story is simply unbelievable. What we’re seeing now, the reflection of Black characters, all of it begins along with her. The entry that she will get via her nonprofit, I Need More Diverse Games, it permits the youth and minority folks of shade, LGBTQ people to have entry to the biggest recreation growth convention. It’s necessary for them to have the ability to see themselves and consider that they too will be recreation builders and alter the panorama. Tanya DePass is simply very particular.

BET.com: What’s the message or the takeaway that you really want folks to depart with as soon as they’ve considered the movie?

Tina Charles: That variety doesn’t imply much less high quality. There are different tales that should be advised. We’ll hold seeing video video games the place there is a white superhero, Black ladies solely mirrored as prostitutes, Black characters who’re solely seen as both a thug, a villain or an athlete, however Tanya is altering that panorama.

To ensure that these tales to alter, the people who find themselves making the tales have to alter, after which it’s important to give alternative and entry. And in order that’s precisely what Tanya is doing in her video video games with how Black characters are represented.

BET.com: Is there something that you simply’ve discovered about your self as a filmmaker via the making of this documentary?

Tina Charles: I must say that I can face something. I do not suppose that there is something that I can not overcome if I put my thoughts to it and if I’ve the best folks round me. And simply being humble within the course of. I did not go to highschool for movie, however I’ve a love for telling tales. I’ve a love for placing issues collectively. I really like giving others a platform for his or her tales to be advised and doing movie permits me to just do that for another person.

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