“Art isn’t really art until it’s experienced,” said Halimah Muhammad, a senior fashion merchandise major and a digital media productions minor at Kent State University. She and Bobbi Broome, a senior psychology major and Pan-African studies and digital media productions minor, recently submitted their short films into the Girls Impact the World Film Festival, an opportunity for high school and undergraduate students to create films addressing global women’s issues.
Each female dedicated their films to a specific issue women face today. Halimah’s film “Chosen” and Bobbi’s film “Make Me Divine” both touch on the topics of self-love, womanhood, and beauty. In an interview, both Halimah and Bobbi talked more in-depth about their films and what inspired the creation of them.
Mariah Hicks: What would you say your films are about?
Bobbi Broome: I would describe it as my own personal narrative, going through the progressions of trying to see myself in media and trying to be comfortable with the way that I looked because it’s not like I saw myself on TV. I thought that I was the outcast, so it’s just really my personal narrative of my journey of learning about my body and beauty standards and everything encompassing the beauty world.
Halimah Muhammad: I would say “Chosen” is really a young woman’s search to uncover the truth about love, womanhood and what it truly means to be beautiful. It encompasses her grappling with what she’s been told it means and her striving to uncover and create her own definition for herself.
MH: What inspired you both to create your films?
BB: It was Halimah, because I wouldn’t have even found out about the festival without Halimah. Working on Halimah’s film, helping her with it, I was like, ‘this is so cool, I need to make my own.’ So I literally went home the night after we finished filming with Halimah, and I wrote the whole thing in like 20 minutes. I felt really inspired to just submit it because I had already wrote it and put all this effort into it. I feel like it was a lot of encouragement not only from Halimah, but from everybody else that was a part of the process.
HM: It started out as just something I had been writing throughout high school and college, and I had just been kind of compiling it in a certain area. I didn’t know what it was supposed to become. As I had my frustrations, my ups, my downs just trying to figure what the purpose of the film was out for myself, I was just adding it there and then eventually I had reached a point this past summer where I was like, ‘OK, it’s ready to become something,’ but I still didn’t know what. In the back of my mind I had remembered the Girls Impact The World Film Festival because I had knew about it when I was a senior in high school, and I really wanted to do it. I was passionate about it, but I just didn’t feel like I had the skills or I was ready to, so I ended up not doing it. So I thought about that and thought oh shoot wait, what if it was a film? And it kind of came together like that, and I had to figure out how to write a script, figure out how to do everything with it, so that’s where it began.
Both Halimah and Bobbi held a film screening and panel on March 6 where people gathered to view the films and discuss the issues that were touched on. The two students wanted to create conversation around their films.
“We thought that with the things we brought up in the film, it would be really exciting and empowering to be able to bring together other women, other girls around campus, other creatives, other filmmakers, just in one place so that we can experience it all together and be able to have a dialogue about what’s being brought up based on how the audience interprets it,” Halimah said. “And also just have a sharing of energy in that regards.”
Aside from creating the films for the film festival, both Halimah and Bobbi hope their films continue to shed light on some of the issues women face today, sparking conversation and creating change one step at a time.