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Finding Purpose in the Art of Filmmaking



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Choosing a political science major was a pretty easy decision for Lawrence, or “Law” Watford.
“I love politics. I love talking about politics,” says Law. There was just one problem. “There’s not really a career for a political scientist. You don’t graduate and be like ‘Yes, I’m a political scientist’ you know,” says Law. “What else could I do? I guess I can teach social studies.”

Then, in his senior year at Hampton University, he got his answer. “I saw The Matrix and I was so enamored. The creativity behind it, the philosophical nature of the questions it was asking, spiritual questions it was asking,” says Law. “That fascinated me, and I was like, ‘I want to do that.’”

After considering a number of film schools, Law chose Regent University - the only Christian University in the country offering a Master’s in Film. In his first days there he knew he was on the right track as a whole new world opened up to him.

“Then once we picked up the camera, I was like ‘Wow!’ These little Sony cameras at the time, and I remember the smell, I remember the sound, I remember what it’s like when you turn the camera on, I was like, ‘This is awesome,’” says Law. “And it’s just—the mind just started turning ideas, ideas, ideas.”

“There was a sense of freeness. So, at any given time if I had something that I was burning to do, I can get a camera and do it,” says Law. “They definitely provided that kind of environment.”

And for a young man deeply rooted in his faith, Regent allowed him to explore more than just an exciting career.

“I enjoyed the challenge of integrating my faith with the art,” says Law. “Like you know when you find something, it’s like, ‘Wow!’ Like that feels refreshing because it was something you were missing you didn’t know you were missing, you know. That’s what I discovered.”

After graduating in 2004, Law moved back to his hometown, New York City. He jumped right into the industry, landing freelance gigs on major film and television productions such as Law and order, Revolutionary Road, and Mission Impossible 3. He says his time at Regent prepared him both professionally and spiritually to be a witness to God’s love in such a challenging, secular industry.

“How do we create stories and-and-and-share—not just the Gospel, but something deeper, the thing that’s beyond the words,” says Law.

Then, after some twelve years in the industry, now married and a father of three, Law again questioned what the future held.

“I was on the verge of—I don’t know if I would have ever really given up, but I felt like ‘Okay, God is this it?’” says Law. “Like ‘Am I just destined to try to beat the bushes for freelance work? Because nothing was working out. I’d done a film two years prior to that called The Savior & The Samaritan. I thought it was a brilliant sort of discussion—nobody saw it,” laughs Law. “Nobody seemed to care.”

About that time, Law heard from an old friend who asked him to direct a short film, called Flipped—a story dealing with social justice and racial reconciliation—issues close to Law’s heart.

“He wanted to address the feeling of the day in the life of a Black teenager, but in a way that inverted the scenario so that the White teen is a minority in a Black environment and to create and tell the same story—take that—take the viewer on that same journey and to see, does it feel different like when you see those events play out,” says Law.

Flipped premiered in 2019 and has even screened at the iconic Chinese Theatre in L.A. Law has gone on to write, produce, and direct other films highlighting social justice issues, hoping his stories and characters offer audiences new perspectives.

“How do they resolve their differences; how do they dissolve the walls that are-are in between them?” says Law.” “And I think with regards to our faith, like that’s what the faith is about. It’s about reaching beyond ourselves, you know, and reaching out to humanity as a whole with this message of love, compassion, grace, mercy, and forgiveness.”

In 2021, he was named one of Essence magazine’s “7 Independent Black Filmmakers to Watch.” As he communicates through the language of film, Law continues to find his greatest source of inspiration in Jesus Christ.

“That’s the one consistent thing, I think, that’s held since Regent. I always felt that God wants me to communicate His heart, His nature,” says Law. “The overall message of Christ was really simple; love your brother, love one another, take on the burdens of one another,” says Law. “That’s still the goal, to communicate the heart of Christ, the nature of Christ, and dissolve the things that separate us.”

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