Meet Savanah Leaf, the American-British, Olympian and Film Director – the type of female hustler who inspired the establishment of RONIEBOND. With the release of her latest film “The Ayes Have It” around the corner, we caught up with the Artist and all-round hustler to discuss her work and tips for success.
How does a woman like yourself go from playing volleyball at the 2012 Olympics to Directing the video for Mabel’s “Finder’s Keepers” in 2017?
I’ve enjoyed the arts for as long as I can remember. I used to draw and take photographs growing up. So then when I was playing professionally, and got injured, I decided to pursue my artistic side a bit.
Between my professional seasons I took up film and then decided to continue this career in film. Its been a whirlwind, and definitely a huge switch. But if you think about the essence of both sport and film, both require you to work in a team to entertain. And if you’re lucky you inspire a few people along the way.
Being an athlete requires a certain mindset. More than any sort of physical aspect of sports, you are constantly testing how mentally tough you are.
How do you feel like your background as a sportswoman has helped you as an artist?
Being an athlete requires a certain mindset. More than any sort of physical aspect of sports, you are constantly testing how mentally tough you are. Coaches and teammates push you to the limit, and you have to be there for yourself and fight to make it. That sort of mentality is what is required in any career in the world. And then to take it a step further, if you ever have seen me play you will know I have a particular style. I like to entertain. I like to switch up my styles and make a variety of plays. I like to bring out the best in my teammates, and I like seeing them succeed. But I also love to be given the ball when the team is in a tough position or time in the game.
I think all of that relates to directing. Its about working in a team, bringing out the best in your teammates, making something creative and entertaining, and also having a bit of fight in you, and making decisions at critical times.
View the teaser for the Ayes Have It here.
What primarily inspired you to want to get into the art of film making? Have you always been creative? Or was there something you saw that made you think, ‘this is it’?
When I was younger someone bought me this collection of Michael Jackson’s music videos. That’s when I was hooked. I was obsessed with music videos from then on. Constantly watching MTV. But I always loved MJ’s videos — I must have watched that DVD 500 times. And since then I’ve wanted to create films and music videos that reflect that sort of inspirational storytelling where you combine beautiful imagery and incredible sound.
How do you feel like music videos differ from other film mediums? What interests you most about music videos?
When music videos are done well, they have this ability to tell a short story (abstract or through typical narrative means) complimented by timeless sounds.
I mean, if you think about some recent quality music videos — like Jay-Z’s recent videos — great artists from different worlds work together to create a piece that elevates their individual work. A song by itself is amazing. But sometimes can be so metaphorical that audiences don’t really understand the depth of what the musician is saying. I haven’t made that yet — but I hope to in the future.
What are you listening to right now? Top 5 tracks.
J. Cole – Neighbors
Sade – By Your Side – cottonbelly remix
Patti Smith – Horses
Kendrick – Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst
Frank Ocean – Moon River
And what are you most excited for in 2018, in music and media and also for yourself, what are you working on?
For 2018, its another year. I’m just excited to see new things. What are people going to do with the opportunities that will arise.
For myself, I’m excited to release my recent work that isn’t out yet, and then I’m excited about finding new collaborators. I’m hoping that the work I’m about to release will lead me to meet some like-minded artists that want to work with me.