Monique Morton Derouselle is a filmmaker, actress, and educator originally from Shreveport, Louisiana. She is a graduate of Southern University Baton Rouge and California State University Los Angeles where she received her MFA in writing for TV, Film, and Theatre. She also studied improvisation at The Second City Hollywood Training Center. You may have seen her performing with Silverbacks Improv Theatre or on the short lived AOC comedic news show The Lagniappe.
Monique has written, directed, and self produced a few projects to help strengthen her skills as a writer/ director. She won the Bckstry L.A. to L.A. screenwriting competition and the Roadmap Writers Pitch Competition. She was also a finalist in the Create Louisiana French Culture Film Grant and the New Orleans Film Festival Screenplay Competition. Monique has been teaching theatre in the Lafayette Parish School System since 2017.
In November 2020, months after giving birth to her baby girl, Monique was accepted to “Unlock Her Potential” and began a year long mentorship program for women of color. She was blessed to have Stefon Bristol, writer/ director of the Netflix film See You Yesterday, as her mentor. With Stefon’s guidance, Monique is in pre- production on her short film Rising Dawn which she will direct as a proof of concept for a feature. Stefon came on as an executive producer for the project and continued to mentor Monique after the program was completed. Rising Dawn is a Louisiana Project Grants recipient and will shoot in various areas around Lafayette this April. The crowdfunding campaign for Rising Dawn launched February 1st. If you’re interested in learning more about Rising Dawn or donating please visit the Seed & Spark website here: https://seedandspark.com/fund/risingdawn
Tax deductible donations are available through Basin Arts.
Who makes up your art circle?
Everyone I call on for advice, brainstorming, proofreading, encouragement, and collaboration. The established artist who mentor me and the novice artist I mentor, including my students. Also my husband who hears all of my wild ideas first.
How do you expand your art circle?
My friend, Sarah Mikayla Brown calls me a “master networker”. I think I’m just eager to met new people and creatives, especially Black creatives. When I moved to Acadiana in 2013 I didn’t know anyone in the arts and so I HAD to network. I had to go places by myself, strike up random conversations with people, and follow up after exchanging information. It’s hard, but I had to do it in order to gain a community. Every time I made a new friend that opened me up to their circle of friends and slowly I found my art circle. I still have a lot of people to meet so I’m glad this space exists so that I can continue to network and expand my art circle.
What value do you see in having a creative community?
I get inspiration from my arts community, I get validation from my arts community, I get collaboration from my arts community, I get support from my arts community. I value all of that because that’s is the only way you can grow as an artist is to be around other people who understand you and challenge you. The biggest motivator for me is seeing other people producing work and making moves.
How does your artistic approach contribute to your community?
As the great Issa Rae once said “I’m rooting for everybody Black”. My artistic approach is to “root for everybody Black” by showing honest, nuanced depictions of Black folks that’s rarely seen on screen. It doesn’t mean that it always has to be positive and uplifting, but it has to be my truth of what I personally know or have researched about the Black dispora… specifically as it pertains to the south. Black people are not a monolith, but for long we have been seen as such. I strive to change that. I believe that this contributes to my community because it gives Black boys, girls, men, and women much needed representation. With representation you feel seen and you feel like there are other options for you that you might not have known about or considered. Every choice I make is with intention. I think whenever your work is intentional and comes from a place of sincerity, you will contribute to your community.