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Rissa Davis Went From Attending Acting Summer Camp To Oscar Consideration

As a native New Yorker, Rissa Davis is a natural born truth seeker, destined to impact the world through storytelling. Using her life experiences as a foundation, and her creativity as a vessel, Davis’ has utilized her voice to speak for the voiceless. And, with over 60 awards and an Oscar consideration under her belt, Davis is proof that turning lemons into lemonade is not only possible but inevitable for those who persevere. 

At just ten years old, Davis unknowingly started her acting career during summers to keep herself occupied. While attending the Hudson Guild Summer Camp as an adolescent, Davis was quickly swept into the realm of dramatic arts and entered a world of imagination. As she reminisced on her memories in the camp, Davis expressed, ‘I went to a sleep away camp called Madison Felicia. My first play was West Side Story, and that’s when I caught the acting bug.’ 

As Davis grew in age, so did her hunger to succeed in Hollywood. Initially falling in love with acting as a hobby, Davis admits that she didn’t start taking the craft seriously until recently. ‘I didn’t start taking it seriously until five years ago. I was booking national commercials and independent films,’ Davis shared.

Creating a film is not an easy nor swift task. Hence why Davis’ attention to detail and ability to curate a masterpiece landed her a spot as an executive producer and actress in two films. One of the films, Interference, which can be watched on Amazon Prime, is centered on racial profiling. Though the film achieved being one of 15 semi-finalists at the NBCUniversal Short Film Festival, no award can overshadow the underlying story’s purpose as a letter to the world on social justice.

Day in and day out, as Davis helped bring the story to life, she recalls what led her to pursuing the script. Davis said, ‘With Interference, what captured me was my role. Playing Officer Williams, I stood up against evil because my character’s co-worker wanted to kill a Black person.’ When asked about her character’s intentions, Davis added, ‘ My character, Officer Williams, was a warrior and stood up for what’s right. She was definitely close to my personality.’ Inspired by the #BlackLivesMatter Movement, Davis reached deep into the emotional experiences associated with being a Black woman in America to navigate her role effortlessly. 

With her credentials as an executive producer and actress, Davis striked again with another masterpiece film, highlighting domestic violence. The aforementioned film, The Four Walls of Charlotte Moreland, won 66 awards and was considered for an Oscar. Despite the commendable accolades that followed the film’s release, the account is based on Davis’ experience with domestic abuse. After learning about the effects of domestic abuse, including agoraphobia - the fear of leaving one's own home or of being in places from which escape is difficult, Davis knew she had a story to tell.

As Davis described the experience of working on The Four Walls of Charlotte Moreland, she said, ‘[My character] Detective Demps helped someone who went through the same thing as her. I love her compassion and how she gave strength to the main character.’

From creating her first film in 2018, Davis has come a long way in filmmaking. Despite audiences appreciating the finished product, Davis admits that she enjoys the process and the various levels that come with crafting a story. As Davis continues to manifest her Oscar award, she aims to give others an escape and the tools to live a better life through her art.

Follow her on instagram @rissadavis

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