Kansas City Director Honesty Edwards, Creative Producer of the Digital Drama Series Bronx SIU, Talks Season I and the Progress for Women in Film in an Interview

Photo credit @honestye

Kansas City Missouri Producer and Director Honesty Edwards is creative, free-spirited and passionate about film. However, she admits as a woman in film, “you have to earn your respect,”  in a recent interview with She’s Our Rock.com.

Edwards is currently Creative Producer of the Digital Drama Series Bronx SIU (TV Series 2018– ), which recently received Emmy buzz for the impending 46th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards on May 5th 2019.

Edwards congratulated series leads Brian White as (Jimmy Blue) and Shanti Lowry (Yolanda Rodriguez), who played roles as detectives, and the entire Bronx SIU cast and crew on Instagram January 25th.

In an interview, Honesty talks about her unique experience filming Bronx SIU in New York and LA.

Photo credit: @honestye

She’s Our Rock: Tell me about the filming for the Bronx SIU

Honesty:  Yes…yes… so I am the Creative Producer for season I

She’s Our Rock: Oh okay!

Honesty: And I’m so excited because we just had four of our actors get nominated for Pre-Emmys.

She’s Our Rock: Wow, congratulations!

Honesty: You wouldn’t have imagined! That was the hardest project that I have ever worked on…in New York. I was out there in your hood in New York.

She’s Our Rock: (Laughs) Oh, that’s why you were in New York?

Honesty: In December, I was working on a spinoff. That was a really tough project!

She’s Our Rock: So what is it about?

Honesty: It’s basically the same rhythm as Blue Bloods and CSI: Miami…you know. Basically, who did it? Someone ends up murdered at the top of the episode. Then we go into who did it…how, why. And I think that is the first action genre that I was a part of.

Honesty: I pretty much cast the supporting actors…about 90% of the supporting  actors. So I will tell you this. I have so much respect for Casting Directors. That is not an easy job!  We were shooting in two different cities in New York and LA….Then casting in New York and LA. There was a big hurricane that threw the production off for three or four days. When you have that many people in that many locations across the country, it really can cause a lot of damage.

She’s Our Rock: Wow, so I could understand how that could’ve thrown everything off.

Photo credit @honestye

Edwards got the opportunity to work with some reputable actresses such as Golden Brooks, Melissa Desousa, Kiki Hayne, KD Aubert in the UMC Series Ladies of the Law, which is directed by Dan Garcia and Honesty Edwards. Ladies of the Law is comedy about the “examination of love, life, and litigation” by four women running their own personal injury law firm in Inglewood, California.

She’s Our Rock: Did you direct Ladies of Law?

Honesty: I wrote and directed one episode, episode three. And then, I co-wrote and co-directed episode five and episode six.

She’s Our Rock: Tell me about that?

Honesty: Yes…basically, I got a call, and I was asked to write with about four other writers. And they asked, ‘can you start shooting in one or two weeks?’ And when this happens, you know you have to start working immediately. Within about a week, we wrote 6 episodes. (laughs) It’s just the name of the game.

Honesty was one of the only female writers for the show. The difference between the male writer’s and women writer’s representation of how women think intrigued her. So in episode 5 and 6, which she co-directed and co-wrote, she was able to implement some of her own ideas and add a little female flair to the work.

Photo credit: @honestye

She’s Our Rock: So what is your directing style?

Honesty: I don’t know if I have a particular style. Each project is different. Just like a song, each project has its own vibe. I’m kind of more creative when I go with the flow. Actors give me different vibes as well. If there’s a new director, sometimes the actors challenge me a bit. But when they see how genuine I am and hard-working, they’ll loosen up a bit.

Surprisingly, women have been open-minded and welcoming. It’s been all love! I’ve gotten so many words of encouragement, love and support.

Advice to Up-and-Coming Women in Film

When opportunity arrives, take advantage – that’s pretty much how the talent sums it up – even if you’re not feeling the most confidence.

Honesty got some of her biggest opportunities when she least expected it. Her advice to women in film is “you should be ready so you don’t have to get ready.” 

She remembers getting projects on a whim without the time to prepare for them. Barely reading through the scripts, she had to rely on her creative instincts.

 “I’ve been writing for years. I’ve been on the scene. I know good story telling, so I just had to figure it out,” says Edwards.

The Gender Inequality in Film

The gender inequality in film has been a long-debated topic. According to BBC News, “the movies that made the most money in 2018 – such as Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, Incredibles 2 – were all directed by men.” And only a 4% of the films that did well in the past decade have been directed by women.

Photo credit: @honestye

Edwards feels confident about women’s progress in film and speaks openly about what she recognizes as a transition for woman filmmakers.

“I think that it’s time,” said the lovely spirit. “You can’t take anything away from those men directors. They are great directors! But I’m feeling a wave of this energy where women are really coming to the forefront. We have Lena Waithe and Issa Rae.”

“Of course, because I am a women of color, I am attracted to other women of color that are doing things,” she added.  “Like Lena is popular right now, and I really enjoy watching her success story! These women are creative in different ways and are breaking down doors for other women in general. I really think that we are going to start seeing a lot more women directors,” she said.

Photo credit: honestye

Edwards noted other powerful and talented women directors making change such as award-winning writer, director, and producer Shonda Rhimes who has vocalized support for gender equality for filmmakers and called for more leadership roles in the industry for women.

“So I am super excited,” she said. “These women are just amazing. I think that these women have sacrificed to open doors for people like us. It’s hard to get into these circles. It is hard to get people to respect you — especially as a women….you have to do double the work, feel double the pain, double the tears, and double the sacrifice. More so as a woman of color,” she said.

It was no easy path for Honesty. She described her own struggles when beginning as a producer while struggling to be respected by crew members. But according to Edwards, respect is earned!

“If I’m not being respected, what am I projecting? Go and find how to earn your respect. Be responsible with it?”

In the end, it is all a learning experience to Edwards who feels it makes her a better human being and a better film maker.

Currently Edwards is working on her own film called the Odd Man’s Journey.

Stay tuned for more of Honesty Edwards in the future!

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