University of Wisconsin-Platteville alumna Santana Coleman is returning to her alma mater on Thursday, April 13, for a special screening and discussion about producing the Emmy Award-winning film, “When Claude Got Shot.”
“This is a big full-circle moment for me. I did my first documentary at Platteville on campus for an independent study class,” the filmmaker told Madison365.
“I learned how to do a documentary pretty much all on my own. Also with the heavy help of Russell Hill. He allowed me to use his office and edit. He taught me how to edit basically,” Coleman said.
She was able to screen the documentary on campus in Platteville, which is located a little less than an hour and a half west of Madison, as an extra credit opportunity for other students. Later on, she would need to pursue an internship in order to graduate from the university, so she pursued one in film.
“I knew someone who knew someone who knew someone who connected me to a man who owned a production company here in Milwaukee, a documentary production company. It was pretty much the biggest production company we had in Milwaukee, at least at the time,” she said.
This internship landed Coleman a job as an associate producer with the company after graduating where she has worked for the last six years. Most recently, she worked as the co-producer and Impact Campaign Advisor of “When Claude Got Shot.” Directed by Brad Lichtenstein, “When Claude Got Shot” was released last year and was shown at film festivals across the nation.
The film is about Milwaukee shooting survivor Claude Motley, the 15-year-old boy who shot him, and the woman who shot the boy who tried to carjack her a few days later. “When Claude Got Shot” is part personal journey and part legal drama while humanizing victims of gun violence.
“The movie is really about restorative justice, and I talked to Santana a little bit about the takeaway,” co-organizer Sakara Wages said.
Wages, who is pursuing a Ph.D. through the UW-Madison Sandra Rosenbaum School of Social Work, will moderate the discussion with Coleman about the film. She hopes the event will help others understand restorative justice from a Black perspective, demonstrating restoration rather than retribution.
The event is also about highlighting a Black woman’s work in the film industry and her experience as a student at the university. Coleman faced a culture shock, dealt with racist encounters with police officers and felt the loss Black faculty/staff who were once her support system, however, she plans to have an impactful dialogue about gun violence with students who come to see the film.
“I’m looking forward to coming back and talking about that, because I know that as a Black student in Platteville, when you’re from somewhere else and maybe your family experiences gun violence while you’re away at school, that’s a conversation in itself, right?” Coleman said.
The Milwaukee-based filmmaker is also involved with a number of other projects, as well. She teaches filmmaking to youth involved in a court-appointed juvenile program and is the co-creator of the comedy television series, “Black Girl Training.” Coleman is also writing, directing and producing her own short film inspired by the people within her own life.
“It’s a short film titled, ‘The Last Week’ and it is a love story drama about a woman who spends one last week with her boyfriend before he turns himself into prison,” she said.
The film screening and discussion for “When Claude Got Shot” is free and will take place at Richard and Helen Brodbeck Concert Hall of UW-Platteville. The event begins at 6:00 p.m.