“ON YOUR RADAR” IS A WEEKLY GRAD FILM NEWS SEGMENT THAT FEATURES A STUDENT PICKED AT RANDOM.
SONTENISH MYERS IS CURRENTLY A 2ND YEAR STUDENT AT GRAD FILM. WE ASKED HER A FEW QUESTIONS AND HERE’S WHAT SHE HAD TO SAY:
Where do you consider home and what is it like there?
I've been blessed to find a lot of homes away from home. I'm from (Money Earnin') Mount Vernon, New York. I love MV; there is so much talent and goodness of people in my hometown. I'm also Jamaican-American; my dad made sure I went to Jamaica regularly. I’m indebted to him for that. I feel like the "coming of age" part of my life was there. Shooting my second year film in my Jamaican home was a gift and a testament to what family does for one another. My mom is from Maryland, I went to The University of Maryland for undergrad and I love the DMV dynamic and culture. That’s where I learned Go-Go music existed and joined a sorority. I also lived in Asia for a couple years. I miss Beijing and Thailand very often.
I think I find homes in communities and with people. And the kind of connections you can share (temporary or lifelong) with complete strangers. I love human beings and it's my favorite part of being alive.
What or who is inspiring you right now and why?
Octavia, Octavia, Octavia. Octavia Butler (award-winning black female sci-fi author) is life-goals for me in so many ways. I don't even know where to start. She examines life and humanity through sci-fi without leaving the complexities of identity (race/gender/etc.) behind. She exemplifies how with discipline, work ethic, and imagination where your work can take you. She’s of the school that habit is more dependable than inspiration, continued learning is more dependable than talent, and that imagination is inexhaustible. I grew up on sci-fi and fantasy. You could not get me to read anything else. Somewhere along the way I focused more on fictional drama. I love drama, but I think I’m ready to return to my first Love and see where that takes me as a storyteller.
I am inspired day-in and day out by women and people of color and the way we survive; both ordinarily and triumphantly. I want to dedicate myself and my work to unpacking that in every pathway I can find.
What has been your most rewarding experience at NYU Tisch Grad Film so far?
I still can’t believe that I get to walk down these halls and study here. There hasn’t been a day where I don’t learn or get humbled in my 2nd Year at Tisch. Every day I’m learning how to be a more disciplined storyteller, a hungrier writer-director, and a better collaborator. But I think my favorite moments are when our professors put the fire under our asses. They’ll give the most beautiful blend of “get your sh*t together” and “I believe in you”. One of my professors said,“We’re training for the Olympics. You’ve got to take it seriously. Nobody owes you anything. Have your eyes on the prize and the exit prize. If you’re result-oriented you’re going to have a miserable time. You must enjoy the process. I don’t know where you’ll end up. But if you enjoy the process you’re already winning. Dream big but invigorate your dreams. I live my life in the creative process. That is my gift to myself.” That’s what I love about Tisch, faculty is so supportive but they have no problem giving it to you real.