Reflections by Leonard Smith III Journal Entry -Today I am reflecting on another day of my journey as a storyteller and documentarian, and I feel deeply grateful for the opportunities and stories I’ve had the privilege to tell.
This morning, I revisited the origins of my passion for untangling history and spinning stories. I marveled at the diverse path I’ve taken – through the complex world of genealogy, the captivating domain of photography, the fast-paced field of multimedia, the beautiful art of storytelling, the careful craft of filmmaking, and the heart-touching music harmonies. Each path has contributed to my development as a storyteller, deepening my understanding of the past and its significant impact on our lives.
I mainly reflected on “A Place Called Desire,” a film with a special place in my heart. More than just a project, this documentary is a heartfelt tribute to the community that nurtured me during my formative years in New Orleans. I put my heart and soul into crafting this film to capture the essence of the lively city and its rich history. The journey of “A Place Called Desire” has been incredible, earning recognition as a finalist for Best Documentary at the San Diego Black Film Festival and receiving the Impact DOCS Award of Recognition, a Silver Telly Award, and a Gold Digital AVA Award. It feels genuinely gratifying to see the film resonate with audiences and earn accolades that confirm the effort and dedication I put into it.
As I reminisce about the film’s success at various festivals, I am reminded of its profound impact on its viewers. It was humbling to win the Best Documentary and Jury Audience Award at the New Orleans Black Film Festival. Seeing the film connect with people who share a bond with the community I love was a powerful testament to the strength of storytelling. The film was also an official selection at the New Orleans Film Festival and the San Francisco Black Film Festival, which broadened its reach and touched the hearts of diverse audiences.
The film’s journey continued beyond film festivals. The Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., New Orleans, nominated “A Place Called Desire” for the 2020 Artie Award, acknowledging its effect on the community. Receiving the Louisiana Heritage Media Award was an honor, further solidifying the film’s role in celebrating the cultural heritage of New Orleans. The film’s highlight was its broadcast on WYES-PBS, bringing the stories of my beloved community to a broad audience.
Reflecting on these achievements, I am reminded of the underlying purpose that drives my work. It’s not about the awards or recognition; it’s about educating, entertaining, and inspiring others to discover and tell their own stories. I believe in the power of storytelling to bridge gaps, foster understanding, and ignite empathy. This mission reverberates in every frame, every scene, and every musical note I use in my productions, mirroring a life committed to stories and their transformative potential.
Today’s reflections reinforce my sense of responsibility and privilege as a storyteller. They inspire me to continue probing history’s complexities, seek out narratives that need to be heard, and empower others to embrace their own stories. I am committed to using my skills, experiences, and passion to make a positive difference in the world through the boundless power of storytelling.
As the day ends, I find comfort in knowing that tomorrow brings new opportunities and new stories waiting to be discovered and shared. I eagerly anticipate the next stage of my journey, where I can continue to unravel the threads of history and weave them into stories that touch hearts, stimulate minds, and shape our collective understanding of our world.
Leonard Smith III