Our D.C. Artist of the Week is Shayla Racquel! Racquel is a filmmaker from South California who developed her directing career while studying film at American University in Washington, D.C. While attending American University, Racquel took advantage of The Consortium Program for students in the DMV area to take film courses at Howard University. While at Howard, Racquel learned about the history of Black filmmaking, and she learned how to properly shoot and light Black skin.

Filmmaker, Shayla Racquel. 

Racquel’s first web series, “Quarter Century,” was shot in D.C. Following two seasons of the series, Racquel shot her first short film, “Life’s Checklist” and her second film, “Riverment.”

“Riverment” explores the generational struggles between a grandmother’s experiences during the Civil Rights Movement in the 60s and her granddaughter’s experiences during the Black Lives Matter Movement of the 2000s. “Riverment” was praised for its poignant realism, and it won Racquel a student Emmy from American University. Racquel’s “Quarter Century” won Best Web Series at the American Visions Awards: Media That Matters. Meanwhile, “Life’s Checklist” won several awards including Women in Film Best Short Film at the Orlando Urban Film Festival. 

Racquel draws inspiration for her filmmaking style from Kasi Lemmons, Julie Dash, Gina Prince-Bythewood and Ann Fletcher, to name a few. When creating her films, Racquel focuses on breathing life into her characters so that she can “let them breathe on their own.”

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Shayla Racquel on the set of ABC’s The Wonder Years (2021) Episode 9. 

Now, Racquel shoots films all over the country. She just finished helping on the set of “The Wonder Years” (2021), a popular Black, coming-of-age show on Hulu. You can learn more about Shayla Racquel and her work by visiting her website.

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