Spotlight: Tulsa Filmmaker Selected to be Mentored by Award-Winning Director
One thing we love at the Cherokee Nation Film Office is to see #MoreNatives in film. We also love success stories.
Kyle Bell (Muscogee), who is a director, camera operator and editor, is paving the way to his own success story.
Kyle Bell editing an Emmy-Award winning show from his home during COVID-19.
Recently, Bell was selected through the Rolex Mentor and Protege Arts Initiative to be mentored by Spike Lee, an American film director, producer, writer, actor and professor. Lee’s production company, 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks, has produced more than 35 films since 1983.
The mentorship program selects young artists and connects them with masters of their trade. Bell was selected for this program and is now the protege of award-winning director Lee. Lee will be advising and guiding Bell in the process of completing his short film “Spirits” and will continue to mentor him for the next two years. Bell hopes completing this short film and having this mentorship will lead him to create a feature film and launch his career to the next level. He plans on staying in Oklahoma and expanding the film industry.
We social distanced a Question and Answer session with Bell, who answered three quick questions on how he got his start in the film industry and what inspires him. We hope this inspires you to get involved in film as well.
Kyle Bell operating a camera on a shoot.
CNFO: How did you get into the film industry?
I first got into the industry through photography. I bought my first camera back in 2014 and started with street, concert and landscape photography, and from there I taught myself how to use the video side of the camera – telling stories that interested me – then it snowballed from there into filmmaking.
What is the most memorable project you’ve worked on and why?
Award winning director Spike Lee who is now mentoring Kyle Bell.
To date, it would be my first short film, “Spirits,” that I just shot back in December. To have an idea, write it and re-write it over a few years, then go into production, post-production and seeing my vision come to life on a big screen is what it’s all about – creating and making stories I want to tell. And so, for me, my first short film (which isn’t released just yet) is very special to me.
If you could work with anyone in film, living or deceased, who would that be?
Andrei Tarkovsky – he’s my favorite director/filmmaker. I can watch his films over and over and always be inspired.