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Georgia State University Alum Deanna Griffin’s Cinematographic Mission


Since graduating from Georgia State University in 2020, Deanna Griffin has not waited for permission before she hit the ground running. Her passion projects like Roots in Beauty set her up to  collaborate with Glamour Magazine, Meta, Live Nation Urban, Kate Spade NY, Her Campus Media, DoorDash, We The Culture, and Nickelodeon, among others. Along with three other Atlanta-based cinematographers and photographers, Deanna and friends  founded Colour Co. to offer people of diverse backgrounds a simplified approach to equipment rentals. Deanna’s mission: to tell the stories of underrepresented communities that deserve light shed on them. There’s a lot more than meets the eye, and we’re grateful Deanna took the time to share her thoughts from behind the camera.

iU: Your mission is to tell the stories of underrepresented communities that deserve light shed on them. Whose stories are we missing specifically and what obstacles do they face in telling their stories?

DG: I am interested in highlighting a variety of different stories. I often mention wanting to see more coming-of-age stories for young people of color. There need to be more diverse points of view rather than a cluster of similar versions. Growing up, I never saw specific moments of my life represented, and for the most part, I still don’t. Granted, you should not expect the media to represent your life directly, and that’s not what I am saying, but I would love it if more Late Bloomer stories in the media were not spun into being a “love yourself” storyline. We do love ourselves, and that’s not always the point. I want to see more mental health advocacy projects. They don’t have to go too deep but show a variety of different types of symptoms people deal with. I also want more positive earth news and positive eco/green news — with the media being so doom-filled and negative. They make it hard to hear and find the positives. For example, I love the newer Ikea commercials that are focused on creating a better and cleaner future for future generations. That’s important to highlight and makes you feel good at the end of the day. The stories I want to be associated with must be a part of the change and positive difference in this world. We must be the change we want to see, and it starts with you.

iU: You graduated from Georgia State University in 2020, amidst the pandemic. How has it been starting your career over the past few years? Have there been any unexpected advantages to the timing? If not, how did you overcome the hurdles?

DG: One of my original goals before graduating college in 2020 was to complete my certification at the Georgia Film Academy (GFA) and be placed on a set through GFA to get more production experience. However, due to the pandemic, I had to shift my intentions since productions were shut down. I took the time to reevaluate what I wanted out of a film career and upgraded my portfolio since there was time. During that time, I made my first narrative short film. I produced, wrote, directed, filmed, and edited it. That helped put me on some radars for more narrative projects. I also created more short non-dialogue pieces as self-expression and to grow my visual portfolio as a videographer/upcoming cinematographer at the time.

iU: You and three other Atlanta-based cinematographers and photographers founded Colour Co. to offer people of diverse backgrounds a simplified approach to equipment rentals. What inspired this initiative? What challenges do people face when trying to access equipment?

DG: All four of us have been freelancers or currently are. When specific gigs came up, it would consist of us scrambling to get the proper equipment needed or asking each other to borrow something niche. Sometimes getting the equipment consisted of driving to different parts of town, picking it up, and dropping it off after a long day. The fees associated with renting said equipment would sometimes eat up the budgets. It feels inconvenient at times. Combining your funds as a team and sharing the equipment is easier – mainly because we usually work together. We acknowledged that, as a community, sometimes it takes more work for some of us to own the equipment needed to execute these projects or productions. We want to help fill that gap with what we have learned thus far in our careers.

Courtesy Ideas United – See more here


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