Why Astin Rocks.

Photo by Poet Williams

Astin Rocks. A writer, performance artist and award winning filmmaker who got her first taste of film as a kid watching Disney movies and wanting to remake them so that the characters looked more like her. Growing up, she dreamed of writing books and performing poetry like Maya Angelou. However, when a fifth grade classmate asked Astin Rocks why she wanted to write books when no one wants to read, Rocks decided that it was only right that “people see the story.” Upon graduating from film school, Rocks wasn’t sure what she was going to do, but knew that she had just two ways of communicating her voice and her stories – through poetry and filmmaking. And so, her journey into film began with shooting videos for many recorded poems.

Photo by Poet Williams


Along the way, Rocks found that “consistency and upward mobility are the biggest hurdles,” as she got “thousands” of compliments on her work ethic, but far and few between second hires or referrals.” Instead of waiting to be hired, she created her own film. However, the downside was that work was unsteady in the field that she loved. “After graduating film school, you realize how little you actually know about the process or the actual industry, mostly, how to choose a lane and stick to it (if you don’t want to work in camera or G&E),” so finding her footing as an entry level filmmaker was “tough.”


Undeterred, Rocks premiered her film Letters from a Transient in 2015 to critical acclaim and accolades from the media outlets. Her experimental drama Vocabulary of the Mysteries premiered in 2014 playing festivals through 2016. Vocabulary and won over five awards at festival, including Best Experimental at Crossroads Film Festival and Audience Favorite at both Brooklyn and BlackStar Film Festivals.

Photo by Cat Leatherwood

“Letters from a Transient takes a haunting looking at black women’s struggles.”

– ForHarriet Shine


To make things easier for filmmakers and creative artists like herself, Rocks believes that “a mindset has to change. A welcomeness for new.” She thinks women could create more support for each other in the form of screenings, Q&A sessions, talks with seasoned and new filmmakers, workshops and even awards and ceremonies that are created for and by women. But of course, “if you’ve got a story to tell, you’ve got the tools. No reason to wait on anyone to permit you to create. So create!” Rocks says, “Build a team and if you have someone in mind that you want to work with, ask! You’d be surprised how many people reach back!”


Rocks’ latest project”Love Soliloquy” is an audio/visual collaboration with producer Loki Antiphony. Together they are the band “Clouds and Crayons.” Love Soliloquy is making the festival circuit and is on sale on DVD. For updates on her filmmaking journey or to join her newsletter, check out her website whyastinrocks.com or follow her @Whyastinrocks on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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