Q+A: UNT Junior Wins $100K in Disney’s ‘Next Visionary Filmmaker’ Contest

As part of her award, Ciara Boniface attended the movie premiere and met A Wrinkle In Time director Ava DuVernay, and the film's cast, including Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon.

Ciara Boniface with Oprah Winfrey

Dallas Innovates Q+A (Images: Istockphoto)Ciara Boniface was recently named the world’s “Next Visionary Filmmaker,” chosen by the makers of Disney’s film, A Wrinkle In Time.

The 19-year-old junior in University of North Texas’s Media Arts program bested 1,200 filmmakers who entered the contest. 

She won a Nissan Leaf and $100,000 toward her next film project after submitting a short video of what makes her a warrior.

“Being a warrior means more than to keep going and be strong,” she said in the video. “It means to overcome and face and accept what makes you, you.”

She also attended the movie premiere and met A Wrinkle In Time director Ava DuVernay and the film’s cast, including Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon. One of the highlights was when DuVernay told Boniface she’d seen her work on social media.

“That really gave me a chill,” Boniface said in a release from UNT. “I didn’t think she would remember me. She told me to keep going and keep shooting. She said she picked me. It was really great.”

Ciara Boniface, left.

Ciara Boniface, left, with A Wrinkle In Time director Ava DuVernay.

Boniface is director and writer of the award-winning short film “Dirty Money.” She also recently wrapped filming on her latest short film, “Skintight,” which she plans to release this summer.

She spoke to Dallas Innovates about the award, her career aspirations, and how she sees herself as a filmmaker.

What drew you to this contest?

What drew me to the contest was just the fact that I believed in myself that I could possibly get it and that it was by the makers of A Wrinkle in Time, directed by Ava [DuVernay] who is a big inspiration of mine.

You mentioned that Ava is someone you admire. Is there anyone else in the film industry that you view as an inspiration?

I really admire David Fincher. I’ve seen a lot of his work, and it’s cool to me how he has his own style in all his films like “Fight Club” and “Gone Girl.” Also, I like Steve McQueen’s work because he’s very in-tune with feelings through film. I like his style and how he puts together all of his work.

“I would always say I was a visionary because I tinker with a lot of color and meaning behind the shots that I take …”

How would you describe yourself as a filmmaker?

I always used to describe myself as a visionary, so that’s something that drew me to the contest as well. I would always say I was a visionary because I tinker with a lot of color and meaning behind the shots that I take — to draw on a feeling rather than it just looking visually appealing.

You just wrapped filming on your latest project, “Skintight.” Can you tell me a little bit about that?

It was a good experience and a learning experience as well as with each directing opportunity I have. It turned out really great, I had a good crew, good cast, and that just motivated me to push the boundaries with everything. I think that film really challenged me as a director and pushed my creativity.

“I think that film really challenged me as a director and pushed my creativity.”

As far as career aspirations, what do you see yourself doing in the next five or 10 years?

I see myself being mainly a director in the film industry and hopefully producing films as well. I’d also like to do cinematography for some of my films, instead of just directing them. My main goal is to keep pushing out good content and hopefully reaching a larger audience with the films that I make.

GALLERY

Photos courtesy of Ciara Boniface

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