Ask an Alum: Danielle Deadwyler, a.k.a. Elevate ATL's Didi Xio

Continuing our Ask an Alum series, we talked with ATLFF-selected filmmaker and actress Danielle Deadwyler about what makes Atlanta home, what she has coming up (hint: go to Elevate ATL!) and why she submitted to the festival. Currently showcased in the International Terminal in the Hartsfield-Jackson Airport as part of the Atlanta Film Society's Airport Shorts Program version 3.0 with her short film Su:Per:He:Ro:In:Uh, Deadwyler is the first recipient of the Living Walls Laura Patricia Calle Grant with her project BUST IT OPEN—a multimedia arts installation that champions black feminism.

Q: ATLFF knows you primarily as an actress and narrative short filmmaker. What other genres do you like to work with?
A: I work in dance, experimental video/film, theatre, voiceover, poetry and hiphop (I go by didi xio too) well as film and TV. I'm willing and open and invested in being malleable and collaborative. I invite myself to play in all fields.

Q: What sets Atlanta apart for you as a creative home?
A: Atlanta is home first. That's what sets it apart. You know something, or a place, inside out, then it shifts as Atlanta is right now, and you have to relearn it, or learn as you go. And yet that place still holds history, memory all over you...that is a creative flux right there. It's a place still morphing...other cities are fixed...Atlanta is creatively taking shape, and can be shaped by artists who are present.

Q: Why did you submit your films to ATLFF? 
A: I submitted to ATLFF to gain connection. To reveal work at home. To be a part of a significant festival that could support me with access to information, education, and like minds.

Q: What part of Atlanta (or place in Atlanta) serves as your most reliable or impactful arts incubator?
A: I can't say one place or one part of Atlanta has been most reliable for incubating my arts growth. There have always been multiple hoods and places serving my growth simultaneously. Whether I'm in Little five doing theatre or experimental work, or on Broad St of late performing with Dux or showing performance art work, or downtown learning at C4, or performing at the Southwest Arts Center, or being nurtured as an emerging artist at Spelman's Museum...Atlanta as a whole has invested in the present form of art that I am producing or collaborating to create.

Q: Okay, everyone's favorite question—what are you working on now?
A: I'm currently preparing to present a public performance art multimedia work at ELEVATE ATLANTA Friday October 14. Come check it out! I'm traveling 3.8 miles from the old Club Nikki on Metropolitan Pkwy (old Stewart Ave) to Broad St and Mitchell St, where the ELEVATE event will be held.

Q: If you were an Atlanta neighborhood. which would you be?
A: I'd have to be Capital View...its the neighborhood that birthed me.

We love our filmmakers. We love Atlanta. And there's no such thing as too much of either. Submit your work(s) in any of twelve categories before prices rise with the late deadline—October 28th. Catch Danielle and her work this weekend at Elevate ATL! You'll also find ATLFS-supported works from Josephine Figueroa and the Digital Good Times crew.