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Donnie Betts, Film Producer/Actor/Advocate, Forges On to Tell the Stories of Marginalized Communities


Donnie Betts, Film Producer/Actor/Advocate, Forges On to Tell the Stories of Marginalized Communities

Among the bustling afternoon traffic of an Aurora coffee shop, I sat typing feverishly to capture even a fraction of the accomplishments of producer and arts advocate, donnie l. betts. When asked why he chooses to spell his name with lowercase letter, betts expressed that his intention is “to honor and respect my elders and ancestors whose shoulders I stand on”.   Even as coffeehouse mayhem erupted around our conversation, he maintained openness and a smile as he detailed the journey that led him to Denver, Colorado nearly thirty years ago. For decades, betts has provided communities across Colorado with cultural experiences through radio, film and live theatre. He is also the owner of No Credits Production, LLC., a film/ video production company, which produced a trailer for the book “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander. Although donnie betts is an inviting and gentle soul, the honesty of his progressive works has been described as deeply moving and at times, “uncomfortable”.

Some of his current documentary projects that most intrigued me included topics such as  childhood abuse and African American jockeys. As one of the Education Program Developers for History Colorado, betts has also scripted and produced performances of “Lincoln Hillsand “Keota”. Currently, donnie l. betts is working to co-produce the one man play, “Mekong Joe” starring Joe Waddell. The production will be presented by the Mizel Museum at The Aurora Fox Studio Theater on August 10-11 and 17-18, 2012. donnie l. betts has committed to leveraging interracial casts to express the minority perspective in a non-stereotypical way that combats the tensions surrounding marginalized experiences in the United States. betts will also direct a regional premier of “The Color Purple” at the Aurora Fox Theatre in spring 2013.

Gregory Hines (left) and donnie l. betts (right) in Five Points Denver

Donnie behind camera: donnie l. betts filming at the 2011 Marvin Booker Memorial and Protest in Denver, Colo.

Tom Wright (left) and donnie l. betts (right) on the set on “Honeydripper”