We had the good fortune of connecting with Chanaye Jackson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chanaye, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Atlantis Filmworks is primarily a production and production services company based in Atlanta. There is also some consulting done for smaller companies and their workers to generally look better on camera, especially because of the large work from home (WFH) workforce. The production services side helps producers or creators execute their idea. At Atlantis, we like to say that creators and producers need to come with an idea and a budget and we can help with the rest, including crew, equipment, payroll, insurance, and all the other things that are really hard about being in the production business. Atlantis Filmworks has been around for about three years and owned by two partners. where Chanaye comes from the corporate world with a degree in public health and spent most of her time working with health teams ensuring better patient care. On the other hand, Ty has been very successful working in production in a variety of roles for a long-time, including as a producer and director, both in Atlanta and outside of it. Ty had been approached several times leading up to the formation of the company from different client-friends who needed help getting a production completed, typically from start to finish. He had always helped out with really specific needs and then was asked to just “make it happen” for one specific production. By that time, Ty had met me and we paired up on a couple of projects together previously, and easily decided that this production was worth it. That production was completed in very little time – about 2 days – and Atlantis had its first legs. Creating a business that sat on top of the services we provide only made logical sense, especially having a business helps to protect personal assets and provides legitimacy for clients/customers, especially for those that want to come back repeatedly.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Ty is going to take this one. It wasn’t easy. but I started at the age of 12 watching every movie from BlockBuster that I possibly could. I was curious about different types of film started with the French New Wave and I studied August Wilson, David Mamet, Arthur Miller, who are all playwrights. Then rounded out all of those of with film directors, including Mike Nichols, Andrei Tarkovsky, and Kenji Mizoguchi. While they all have amazing talent, I realized I wanted to make my art as black as possible reflecting the multi-faceted and true black experiences, while keeping the essence of what I learned from them. Unfortunately, this wasn’t easy, being Black while doing this sort of art isn’t easy and you have to break through several barriers to get to be this successful. About 10 years ago I came back into the film industry, and I made sure to have every job from Production Assistant to Executive Producer, and this helped me get clarity on how to do the work I am most proud of. I’m most proud of myself for being able to mix genres and techniques to tell a good story on the screen. I didn’t have to go to film school to learn it and I taught myself.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Atlanta is an interesting city with a lot of different places to hang out and take someone for a visit, especially not the super-touristy type. Both of us love the art scene in Atlanta – opera, musicals, sculpture, photography exhibits. So we would definitely plan a friend’s visit around art. And, if it is “festival” season, definitely heading out to music and food. The festivals are so different and unique, I’m looking forward to the Grilled Cheese Festival. As the sort of outdoorsy type, heading up to Amicalola Falls in North Georgia. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
On my side, I definitely need to say thank you to Mrs. Juarez, my second-grade elementary school teacher. Ty thanks Professor Bernard D. Headley, a brilliant man who we met in Jamaica who wrote the book, The Atlanta Youth Murders and the Politics of Race.
Other: This is Ty – Look for the Summer 2021 launch of my new YouTube channel, Auteur Noir, where I discuss and breakdown films by Black film directors, like Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Birth of a Nation (Nate Parker), and Straight out of Brooklyn.