This Rising Female Director is Changing the Narrative in TV and Film.
Gray Discusses Growing Up in Haiti, Gender Equality and the Future of Film.
When Des Gray was a child she says she never even imagined being a filmmaker let alone owning a TV. She describes herself as one of the street kids with a belly running around looking into other people’s homes to watch TV through their outside window. “I really come from poverty and there’s nothing glamorous about it. I come from a place where even in 2018 the opportunities to succeed in entertainment is scarce. But I love Haiti and I believe in the infinite possibilities that my country can become,” say the rising director who has been shaking up the monotony through compelling storytelling shot through her lens.
From Future to 2Chainz, Casino, YFN Lucci, Donald and more, Gray is spearheading her role as Haiti’s first female visionary. As the founder of Foreign Made Films she is interrelating, culture, art and storytelling into a medium to give audiences something that they can feel. Something tangible that leaves them with hope for the future. As a director/producer Gray has garnered attention globally shooting music videos and commercials and now she has graduated to shooting full films and documentaries. Still she stays connected to her foundation and core with memories of childhood imprinted indelibly in her mind. For Gray, education was her passport to success and now she flies passed her dreams without boundaries. “Its important to learn your craft and educate yourself independently or at a higher institute.
As an alumnae of both Alabama State University and Full Sail University, Gray’s prowess as a director has enabled her to go beyond film and touch many lives.With the platform that she has developed over the extent of her career, Gray is now in preparation of making a way for Haiti’s youth to make their experiences a reality.
In this over-the-phone interview, we covered an array of subjects, but most importantly we caught a glimpse of the candid side of Haiti’s Visionary, Des Gray.
How did you get started in the entertainment industry?
I started off as a producer, working with different directors in producing videos. Then I transitioned to me as a director. I went to school for Theater Arts, minoring in business industry. So, the production background has always been there, even when I was a kid. It has always been a dream of mine. I’m just a young girl from Haiti with a vision.
What was it like growing up in Haiti?
Growing up in Haiti was bitter-sweet. Growing up in Haiti, my family was very poor. My mother actually had me in a flea market in Haiti. I was one of the kids walking around bare-foot. Just being a child, you really had to learn how to take care of yourself. We didn’t have access to television. I distinctly remember being a kid, walking around with my brother and we’ll say things like “one day, I want to have that car” and just manifesting things right there. I use to always see this light at night time, coming from other people’s houses and I would go peek into their window, and just seeing that light come straight into my eyes. I remember telling my brother, “you know what James, one day I’m going to be that person behind the tv.” I wanted to know what did it take for that person to be behind the tv. I didn’t see a television until I was around the age of 14. I knew from an early age that this is what I’m destined to do.
What is an average day like for you?
I’m a visionary, so I’m always in my head. Thinking about what I can create, what’s the next plan. Always working, always creating new visuals for clients. I actually spend a lot of my time meditating. Outside of me being a director and a producer, I’m very spiritual. I like to center myself, going out in nature and taking it all in. Once I master the art of being a director/producer, the next goal in my life is to be a spiritual-advisor. It’s important for people to have an inner-standing instead of an understanding of the things that we see around us. Words are very powerful. The difference is an inner-standing and understanding is that you’re feeling it from within and I think it’s important for people to be mindful of what they speak into their lives. I also want woman to know their value and start demanding equal pay!
Describe yourself in 3 words
Visionary, spiritual-advisor, love-to-love all
Talk to me about a favorite project that you’ve worked on so far
Right now, I’m working a project that is so good to me. Recently, a legend reached out to me and he’s my favorite artist, and of course he’s Haitian. His name is Wyclef Jean. He heard about me, seen my work and recognized me as Haiti’s first female visionary, so right now I’m working on his whole album. The masterpiece is called “Wyclef Goes Back to School”. It’s about Wyclef being a professor, an advisor. Advising the youth on not getting caught up in this new society of drugs. I’m very honored and blessed to be the director over his whole album.
Talk to me about using your platform as a position of influence
One day, I asked my mom , “hey mom, have you seen any of my work?” and she said “no, I’m not going to watch any of that stuff, you promoting drugs and disrespecting women, you are part of that problem.” Even further, she made me realize that if you’re a director, a visionary, you’re supposed to create a vision that’s going to be worthwhile, not something that’s going to manipulate the youths mind. I had the opportunity to create this video for this artist by the name of Lil Donald, and he had this song called “Do Better”. I decided to take that opportunity to do something different and create something worthwhile. I get emails about that video on how it’s touched people lives. I feel like I was really able to serve my purpose and touch people’s lives as a visionary. That’s my influence, to be able to touch people’s lives.
What is your ultimate goal?
I want to own a visual school in Haiti and it’s going to be called Visual Experience. Just imagine how beautiful it would be for kids to capture what they see on a daily basis. I want to provide the children of Haiti with an opportunity. You can really go to school and create what’s right in front of you.
As a business owner of Foreign Made Films, I just want everyone to know, don’t limit yourself. Be mindful of what you speak out, because that can become you. Don’t let nobody tell you that you can’t become, because you can become anything that you set your mind to. Long as you have God within you, and God around you, you can accomplish anything. Tough times don’t last, only those that are tough do.