Inspirational Chicago Filmmaker
Posted: Sep 18, 2022
Your Everyday Heroes is proud to feature one of today’s many esteemed Black female film directors Vick Lee. From an early age, Lee immersed herself in movies and TV, eventually studying film at Columbia College Chicago. Whether telling stories of love or conflict, Lee’s body of work always maintains a socially conscious bend.
In November of 2020, she was unfortunately diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer, a disease notorious for its low survival rate. Despite the severity of her condition, her drive to create and inspire remains unhindered. Inspirational cancer stories like Lee’s never fail to remind us that time is precious.Who Is Vick Lee?
Vick Lee is a Chicago-based filmmaker whose social justice-oriented shorts tell of the Black experience in America. For her, filmmaking is a form of activism, a medium through which she can portray the realities of both Black struggles and Black love: "I want to see me on film," she explains to Your Everyday Heroes.
Since childhood, Lee was immersed in the arts. "My family and I would have talent shows, do dance skits, little plays, and things like that," she tells us.
Her budding interests would finally blossom when she attended Columbia College Chicago. Suddenly among a diverse community of filmmakers and other artists, Lee worked fervently to earn her place as one of today’s many great Black female film directors.
Lee’s passion for Black representation has won her considerable esteem within her community, her film "Look What You’ve Done"—which touches upon issues of police abuse—winning awards at the 2021 Founder’s Choice of Strong Chance Film Festival, 2020 Black Truth Film Festival, and the 2019 Founder’s Choice of Cane River Film Festival. Additionally, her romantic drama "The Polyamorist" was an official selection at the 2018 Black Harvest Film Festival, and her latest short, 2020’s "The Inbox Interviews," was an official selection at a number of film festivals, including the South Side Chicago Film Festival.
For Lee, making films is not something that’s optional: she has to let loose the stories ruminating inside her imagination. "It [film] was something I couldn’t escape. It just kept calling to me," she says. But while filmmaking scratches her artist’s itch, she doesn’t only do it for herself. "I’m doing this because I love it. But while I’m doing it, I also know that there are things that have to be conquered."
What Lee seeks to conquer are the stereotypes ingrained within the film community, the notion that filmmaking is a medium reserved for the upper classes. She views film as more than mere entertainment, using her art to break down these barriers and make change not only in the realm of film, but in the world as a whole. "Film is my form of activism," she says. "Everything that I do is done in love and in Blackness… Blackness is a culture, a resilience, a drive." With her films, she seeks to elevate the status of Black women within a culture in which they have historically been ostracized.
Lee has used her artistic gifts to sculpt an incredible life and legacy. However, what happens when such an idyllic life–which one has worked tirelessly to achieve–is threatened by forces outside of one’s control? Unfortunately, she has been faced with this very predicament.
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