A MAKER PODCAST exclusive interview with filmmaker, photographer and composer, Emmai Alaquiva
“I like to call myself a cinematic poet”
Me, Myself and I
Emmai Alaquiva is an Emmy-Award-winning, self-taught filmmaker, photographer and composer committed to telling human stories from around the globe. Part of the creative renaissance of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Mr. Alaquiva is also CEO of Ya Momz House, Inc. an Emmy Award-winning full-service digital multimedia company. In addition to this, he is Co-founder of Hip-Hop on L.O.C.K., an education program that promotes youth empowerment, community development and self-esteem through the principles of Hip-Hop.
Mr. Alaquiva also curates the interactive art exhibit entitled, Optic Voices. Optic Voices challenges the viewer to question the story/stories inside the curated images. These images are also meant to spark conversions which could potentially lead to a more equitable Pittsburg, and a more inclusive world in general.
Aside from his other creative endeavors, Mr. Alaquiva received a Mid-Atlantic Emmy Award for scoring the documentary, Flyboys: Western Pennsylvania's Tuskeegee Airmen. He also scored WQED’s productions of In Country: A Vietnam Story, Jim Crow Pennsylvania, and Torchbearers.
Whether photographing local heroes and businesses such as local Pittsburgh musician/barber, Nate the Barber, or internationally known musicians such as Black Thought and Wiz Khalifa, Mr. Alaquiva brings his own special autodidactic magic to the images he shares with the public. There is a certain panache with which he captures the color and essence of the individuals he captures for posterity.
Photo Credits: Emmai Alaquiva
A man who wears many hats, both figuratively and literally, Mr. Alaquiva dresses with the greatest of care and attention to detail-from his wooden bowties to his cashmere sweaters. He is a haberdasher’s dream, and believes“being dapper gives off a certain frequency when I enter a room[…]it’s important to me as a film director who uses images to change lives[…]I have to be a director in all aspects of my life[…]it all makes sense in the end[…] but, we are not on a superficial level when it comes to dress.”
Most recently, Mr. Alaquiva applied his meticulous eye toward telling yet another compelling story. Consequently, he received an Emmy nomination for his 2017 film, Ghetto Steps, a documentary about the Holocaust, which was shot in Poland.
Ever the generous, globally-minded creative, on July 3rd, 2016 Mr. Alaquiva posted the following on Instagram:
It’s truly ironic that as I am filming a documentary on the Holocaust in Europe, I hear the news of the passing of Auschwitz Survivor, Elie Wiesel. I took this photo at Auschwitz of a lock that no one has a key for. I immediately thought of the best way for me to "unlock" so many stories of my people and beyond. He very well could have been a victim of this lock. Although we have different concepts of "pens", I am inspired to continue to write my legacy while writing the stories of many. Mr. Wiesel; thank you for your contribution to this life. May you rest well.”
MAKER greatly appreciates the time Mr. Alaquiva allocated to our team and we look forward to having him back on the podcast to discuss his newest project, a documentary on another Pittsburgh son, the late playwright, August Wilson.
Learn more about Mr. Alaquiva’s work here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-Y83Z9nNUY De La Soul, Me Myself and I