Home » Vick Lee | Inspirational Chicago Filmmaker | Recap

Vick Lee | Inspirational Chicago Filmmaker | Recap

Award-winning filmmaker

by Your Everyday Heroes

Your Everyday Heroes is proud to feature Vick Lee, one of today’s esteemed Black female film directors. From a young age, Lee immersed herself in movies and TV, eventually studying film at Columbia College Chicago. Whether telling stories of love or conflict, Lee’s work always carries a socially conscious message.

In November 2020, she was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer, a disease known for its low survival rate. Despite this, her drive to create and inspire remains strong. Lee’s story is a powerful reminder that time is precious.

Vick Lee is a Chicago-based filmmaker whose socially conscious shorts capture the Black experience in America. For her, filmmaking is a form of activism, portraying both Black struggles and Black love. “I want to see me on film,” she explains to Your Everyday Heroes.

Lee’s passion for the arts began in childhood. “My family and I would have talent shows, dance skits, little plays, and things like that,” she recalls.

Vick Lee becomes a filmmaker

Her interests blossomed further at Columbia College Chicago, where she worked hard to become one of today’s great Black female directors.

Lee’s commitment to Black representation has earned her considerable esteem. Her film “Look What You’ve Done,” which addresses police abuse, won awards at the 2021 Founder’s Choice of Strong Chance Film Festival, 2020 Black Truth Film Festival, and 2019 Founder’s Choice of Cane River Film Festival. Additionally, her romantic drama “The Polyamorist” was an official selection at the 2018 Black Harvest Film Festival, and her latest short, “The Inbox Interviews” (2020), was featured at several festivals, including the South Side Chicago Film Festival.

For Lee, making films is a necessity. “It [film] was something I couldn’t escape. It just kept calling to me,” she says. Filmmaking doesn’t just satisfy her creative urges; it’s also about conquering societal challenges. “I’m doing this because I love it. But while I’m doing it, I also know that there are things that have to be conquered.”

Lee aims to challenge stereotypes within the film community and the notion that filmmaking is a medium reserved for the upper classes. She uses her art to break down barriers and enact change. “Film is my form of activism,” she asserts.

“Everything that I do is done in love and in Blackness… Blackness is a culture, a resilience, a drive.” Through her films, she aims to elevate the status of Black women in a society where they have historically been marginalized.

Lee has sculpted an incredible life and legacy through her artistic gifts. But what happens when such an idyllic life is threatened by forces beyond one’s control?

Vick Lee is diagnosed with cancer

In November 2020, Lee was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer, which means the cancer had spread from her lungs to other parts of her body. Symptoms are severe and the five-year survival rate is just three to seven percent.

Currently, there is no cure for lung cancer, but treatments like radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy can help. The effectiveness of these treatments varies, and they are often used in combination. There are no guarantees.

When faced with a disease like Lee’s, many might break down or question life’s purpose. While Lee has had moments of doubt, she has chosen to keep going and to smile.

Despite her diagnosis, Lee continues to persist. In 2021, she joined the Digital Storytelling Initiative’s Production Institute, a program that makes high-quality digital production training accessible to emerging media makers from South Side communities. The program addresses the lack of affordable, intensive courses available to South Side filmmakers and media artists.

Lee’s story is a testament to resilience, passion, and the power of art to effect change.

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