WCN Transmedia Group came across this post yesterday and decided it was time to let it rip again. This Producer is on the Fast Track and certainly a inspiration to all that work with her. Look for a new Channel Coming Soon and if you make it to Atlanta you must attend one of Autumn’s Industry Mixers. Next One is May 26th. Check out this interview with Suavv.
Autumn Essie-Bailey Ford was raised by her great Aunt
on her fathers’ side of the family since the age of three-weeks-old. By the age of nine, her father had died from drug abuse and by the age of 12 her mother died of HIV
. Nonetheless, she is on her way to becoming the “It” girl she so passionately desires. As a child she defied the odds, becoming one of the most prestigious producers to emerge from Shaw University
in Raleigh NC
. While taking the film industry by storm, she still finds time to give back to her fellow film dreamers by partnering with Atlanta, Ga.
Peachtree Film Festival
. Where she gets the chance, not only to connect and educate those who share her same passion for film, but to be the positive force in someone else’s life that she wasn’t able to have in her own.
“If anything I don’t have a relationship with my mother at all, never did,” Autumn explains. “When I did see her it was a lot of negativity. As far as me being a little too dark and I look like my father. And I have another sibling by my mother who is very light skinned so she was always treated a lot better than me so I really don’t call that a relationship. It doesn’t faze me. It is what it is.”
We sat down with autumn and dug in a little deeper about her passions, her past, and her future. Trust me, she is well on her way to becoming what she considers, the African American producer version of Donald Trump.
Suavv: How did it feel, as a child, to have people tell you you’ll never be anything?
Bailey: It was very disturbing. I acted out as a child, I was not perfect. I was very bad. I wasn’t robbing people or beating people up but I acted out in school. I guess by me doing that they just figured I’m not going to be nothing but the whole time I always had a plan in the back of my head. Just because I was getting suspended from school and talking out of turn or whatever the case may be I always said I was going to be in the entertainment business, I’m going to be a producer. But, I never told anybody that because they always talked down on me.
Suavv: Knowing that you weren’t able to turn to anyone and express your goals and dreams, how did that affect you as a child? And how does that impact you as an adult with the mentoring you do now?
Bailey: I prayed a lot and gave it to God. That was the only person I could talk too. My aunt, who is now 81 years-old raised me: that’s my mom. She’s done a lot. She was there for me, but with her being older, there were only certain things I could talk to her about. I had cousins and sisters who were close in age but I couldn’t even talk to them. I just started to talk to them. As a child it hurt. It hurt a lot. I would go to bed and cry at night thinking why do I have family like this? Why do I have teachers who don’t believe in me? What did I do wrong? It was always a lot of whys. I guess by having those questions is why I acted out the way I did. What I try and tell the young girls and guys now is no it’s not you. You know who you are because in the back of your mind you are always going to have a plan. Dreams do come true, that’s what I try to tell them. It’s about turning that “why” into “what you can do to better yourself”.
Suavv: That is an amazing way to turn your tragedy into triumph. You took on a lot as a child, did growing up with the barriers that you had, give you any complexes as an adult?
Bailey: It gave me animosity towards black men. I had to go to a HBCU to really realize my self-worth. I really just liked light skinned guys and you had to be White, Puerto Rican, or something for me to even talk to you. I just didn’t want anybody dark like me because if we got married and had babies the baby would have bad hair, you know typical. I had that mindset because that’s what my mother used to put in my head as a child. Once I went to Shaw University and seen the black love and really understood it, I just said I can’t be with anybody other than a black man.
Suavv: Being at an HBCU will do that for you. How did you like your schooling experience?
Bailey: It was a blast. I wouldn’t trade it for nothing. Shaw University is actually one of the oldest black colleges in the south. It helped me so much. I was at a time in my life when everyone was saying “you’re not going to college, ain’t no college going to accept you”. I started believing that, but I applied to Shaw and they accepted me. After that every other school I applied to, which weren’t HBCUs, accepted me also. If I could go back, I’d do it all over again. The experience is mind-blowing. They care about their students, they’re there for you. I could pick up the phone at 2-3 o’clock in the morning and call my professors and they will actually pick up the phone and sit there and talk. It’s like a family. I don’t know what the experience is like at a predominantly White school, but, a HBCU…I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Shaw University made me the women I am.
Suavv: I understand completely. I haven’t been able to find anyone that attended an HBCU say anything different. Okay, let’s get into your career. When did you become involved in film?
Bailey: Ever since high school I used to be out on the stoop with a stick of deodorant having my own little talk show acting like I was Oprah. Just talking and running in everybody’s business as a child. And then I used to work at the TV station at school. Ever since I was nine, I used to love sitting at home watching movies all day. Everyone else was at the skating rink or going bowling but I would be at home watching a classic Bob Hope and Ben Crosby movie or a Shirley Temple movie. I just love movies and that turned into me educating myself and understanding what goes behind how a movie is made.
Suavv: That’s where dreams are made…in the mind first. Now you are in the 5th year of the Peachtree Village International Film Festival. What’s the story behind that?
Bailey: I’m director of panels as well as a producer. We are about education; we bring in different people like Steven Harris from A & E and network executives, we’ve brought in representatives for Kid’N’Play and a couple of other people. Our goal is educating the attendees on the craft, letting them know this is how you take a film and get distribution, this is how you seek funding for a film. We take our time and educate. Each month we do different workshops and hold different classes to inspire people.
Suavv: That’s a tool that is invaluable. You actually have a few projects that you are working on at the moment that should be amazing.
Bailey: I just got the rights to remake the 1972 film that the late Ossie Davis directed called Black Girl. It was also a Broadway stage play by J. E. Franklin. I’m a co-producer on the Florence Ballard bio-pic. Florence is one of the Supremes lead singer with Diana Ross and Mary Wilson. We have Faith Evens who will play the role of Florence. I feel blessed to be a part of that epic film and I thankful for the Executive producers for hiring me. We shall start Pre- Production in Atlanta in late February We are just trying to tell the story from Florence’s eyes and give her time to shine. I’m working on another film called The Preacher Man, Step Sisters, Templeton pride web series and a few other great projects as well.
To learn more about Autumn and her projects visit her at www.pviff.com www.abentertainment05.com