Tommie Ingram, the Chicago-native behind the new film Trespassers, opens up about working in a male-dominant industry and explains that there may be a light at the end of the tunnel.
Ingram started out as a full-time photographer before she made the transition to being a filmmaker.
Since then, her career has started to flourish and she has already paired up with the likes of actress Jane Fonda, recording artists Usher, Brandy, Cee Lo Green and T.I., actress Wendy Raquel Robinson and more.
She said she got a taste for the industry after she worked for media personality Michael Baisden on a few documentaries.
After that, she never looked back.
During a recent interview with Rolling Out, Ingram said there are challenges she has to face but that there is still hope for more diversity in the business.
“There are many challenges that Black women and women in general face in this industry,” Ingram said. “I’ve seen extremely talented women get passed up for a director’s role or a producer role on several occasions. I guess that good ole boys’ clubs exist in all sectors of business.”
According to Ingram, actress Angela Bassett is helping to change that.
“On the flip side of that coin, I do see light at the end of the tunnel with such instances as Angela Bassett directing Whitney Houston’s life story,” she added. “Like everything else, this is a male-dominated industry. Black female directors are like needles in the haystack.”
According to Ingram, nearly half of all film school graduates are female, but only about 5 percent of them are currently working in the film industry as directors.
“Independent films and online media such as web series shouldn’t be our only outlet to showcase our talents,” she said. “I can only remain hopeful that things will change progressively in blockbuster cinema.”
As for her new film Trespassers, it touches on a sensitive subject that has been making major headlines lately.
“ Trespassers is a short film about a pastor who takes advantage of young unsuspecting boys,” she told Rolling Out. “Unfortunately, it happens all the time and ends with the same result; [the accused pastors] always end up right back in the pulpit within a few months. They’re recycled with no treatment it seems.”
Back in 2010, five Georgia men accused the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church pastor, Eddie Long, of sexually assaulting them when they were teens.
All the victims settled out of court and Long continues to deny the allegations to this day.
While the film is not based on him, Ingram explained he certainly was considered during the writing process.
“We went down the list of minsters – sinisters as I call them – and Bishop Eddie Long was among others on that list,” she said. “This vicious cycle didn’t start, nor will it end, with him as it happens all the time. I’m not surprised that he’s back in the news doing the same thing while preaching to the congregation.”
The film was created for Atlanta’s 48 Hour Film Festival and was released on YouTube on July 31.