captains log: afrikana film festival 2017

a karynrose bruyning recollection

This weekend the guys ( Stephen Cofield Jr., star of both PERCEPTION and I KNOW THE SUNSET, Skyler James , author of the poem that appears in PERCEPTION which he also co- stars in, and one half of DREAMABLE MUSIC GROUP, and Dominique Perera ) and I left New York for Richmond, Virginia to take part in the Afrikana Film Festival and it was awesome!

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We laughed, we danced, ate good, celebrated both Stephen and Dominique'd birthday, and watched some truly inspiring films, made by some thoughtful and truly talented filmmakers. These were the easy parts.

The not so easy parts came as I sat in galleries and theaters waiting as the people received my films, many of which were seeing them for the first time. The first Christmas In July 1982 film being screened was THE COLORED HOSPITAL, written and directed by my former intern/ assistant, Terrance Daye. I love this film! It's technically sound, visually beautiful, and it's message is pointed and necessary but will these people get it?? Will they love it like I did when I knew that we HAD to produce it and work to get it to the world? I never know the answer to that so I was eager to hear back from the audience when it was time to speak on the panel. The result? They understood it. They dug it. We had a great conversation. Now I'm storming down the street to the next location where PERCEPTION is playing and I've relaxed a bit. Having had to sit in the audience as people watched this film once before ( months after it's first screening) and having someone fuss at me during the talk back ( after receiving and overwhelming round of applause), I walked in steadfast in my belief that this film is a great indication of who I was when I made it and was more than enough for me. I watch the film and listen to the people laugh where I want them to and feel sadness the way I intended and that makes me happy. I'm on the panel with Brittany Sanfoka who's film, CURIOSITY, is so interesting that I forget where I'm at and that I'm to speak at all. Her film is smart and the panel goes amazingly well. I have a special love for the people in this audience. They are lively bunch which always fun. Then I'm zooming to  THE BIJOU THEATER for the PREMIERE which according to Google maps is a 9 minutes away ( and it was but it fell much longer on the count of me wearing all black and the humidity having no love for that ) after having explained that I live in Manhattan so walking is a way of life. I get there in time to peak into see quite a large audience ( larger than the last two I'd seen) and note that they are at about the midpoint of the film. I ask the usher to let me know when the film ended and let her know that I would be outside. This was the first time anyone would see the finished film outside of Artemus Jenkins, Enjoli Moon ( the curator and founder of The Afrikana Film Festival) and I so rather than sit in the theater and be a great big ball of nerves, I generally opt to excuse myself. I step back in just in time to hear the last lines of the film and this amazing applause! The talk back was the kind that as a filmmaker, you hope to get for a new film. the audience seemed to really FEEL my film which is all I ever really wanted. Their question the kind that I'd hoped to be asked as it pertained to this film and I left feeling like it was a success. I got a few blocks from the theater to find a group of women circled around Stephen asking more questions about the film which is always nice.

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Then we heading to do more eating, laughing,and dancing! As I said from the start, The Afrikana Film Festival was awesome and if the reception of I KNOW THE SUNSET in Richmond was any indication of how the films  going to do with audiences, then I'm sure this will be a fun ride.

1 down, 2 to go. Next up, New York City! Details coming soon

Layla Felder is pretty awesome

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Last year Christmas in July 1982 was commissioned to create a profile piece on the amazingly talented Layla Felder for AT&T The Bridge. Layla is the founder of Kids Opera and Art Posse; an organization dedicated to exposing children to the arts with a heavy focus on education and appreciation for Opera. This particular fine art is not one you would immediately expect a teenager to have such passion for, but Layla isn’t you average child.

Sherri Daye Scott shared with me her idea to create a series of pieces on children who were using technology in exceptional ways to explore and promote their passions. We didn’t want to create something bland because after all, these are children we’re highlighting and ideally the audiences you want to inspire and entertain are other children. The one thing I knew would really allow this piece to shine would be giving Layla the space to be herself and the rest would be easy.

We shot the piece at the Cobb Energy Center and were able to get the whole space to ourselves so we could have a little fun Opera-style. This was actually Layla’s first video recorded interview, can you tell? The young lady is a pro already! It was a wonderful overall experience for me because sometimes (most of the time) children are way more fun to work with than adults, and being able to create a piece that focused on a young woman identifying and pursuing her passions so early in life is amazing and inspirational.

Be sure to share this piece with someone who needs to get over his or her case of the Mondays and if short form branded content is something you need, lets talk about it and create something wonderful.

-peace

The Colored Hospital by Terrance Daye

We met him at a sparsely attended talk we gave at Morehouse during the run of the first season of SMOKE and MIRRORS. He was a wide eyed and attentive freshman. Afterwards, he walked up and we chatted a bit. I gave him my email address and didn't think much more about it.  A short while later he sent a " Nice to meet you " email, I politely responded and filed it away. Fast forward over a year and we're in preproduction for season two. I'm emailing scripts to actors and accidentally send them to Terrance. He graciously responds and tells me he'd love assist or at least visit the set. I was embarrassed but took it as a sign and indeed it was.  Terrance was one of the best assistants I've ever had and I was immediately in love with him (as was my crew and they are a tough crowd) .

At dinner one night while we were shooting #DecisionsWhileImpaired, Artemus and I talked with Terrance about what he wanted to do after graduation and joked that maybe he'd come work for Christmas in July 1982 and we'd produce his movies.

Though Terrance isn't quite ready to run full speed with us (he starts grad school in the Fall), he graduated last weekend and it's with pleasure that we call THE COLORED HOSPITAL, written, directed, and edited by Terrance Daye CHRISTMAS IN JULY 1982 production. 

click image below to watch

"Decisions While Impaired" premiere

The process of commandeering and eating a meal with your significant other should always be a relaxing, enjoyable, even fun process, but for whatever reason it can be such an impossible, dreaded task. With this film, we wanted to have a bit of fun capturing all the emotion wrapped up in a situation we all can relate to.  "Decisions While Impaired" in the first in a short film series we are working on, stay tuned and enjoy the film!

ATL Nights and Art

This past saturday I was a part of the launch of a wonderful event put together by Jamaal McKnight of Studio 94. The event was called #bestfootforward; providing another platform for creatives and artists to not only showcase their talents, but link with others in a nice comfortable environment. I'll tell you this much, when you make self-serve alcohol and Red Velvet cupcakes a part of the menu, folks will get comfy real quick! Will Mitchell, who is a local muralist said to me the get together had a totally different feel to it, "kinda like being in Boston or something". I haven't spent much time in Boston, but I can agree that it def had a very welcomed, mellow and unique vibe to the schindiggery. Being around the brick and architecture of the Fairlie-Poplar district had a lot to do with it for sure.

I exhibited a few pieces from my "US" photo series, I kinda forgot to take photos of the uhhhh photos, but that just means you need to come out and see them in person next time. I ain't frame them joints up all purty for you to just look at em online! Modou Jallow also put up work from his photo series he shot in Nicaragua and Debbi Snax had a fye ass chalk mural up to serve as the backdrop for performances and such. Oh yeah, we projected our new film "If You Know the Words, Feel Free on a building! It was lovely night.

"If You Know The Words, Feel Free" film premiere

If you can see these words, I'm thankful you are here, we're doing something right. Although I do enjoy a good written word or two, I just kind of like talking the way I talk. So instead of a description of the film that sounds like a third person PR person wrote it, what I tell you about the film will be from what I've been trying to put in one of the books I have all over the place about my own life. Right now it's all sloppy in a spiral notebook, I've move it to a fancy leatherbound joint later!

"If You Know the Words, Feel Free is a film about life; the various ways it tests, molds and prepares us to live it. Life is something we all experience differently, but it still stands as a song we at some point, all know the words to. It doesn't matter how we know or who taught us. It doesn't matter what octave you choose to sing in, be it nice and easy or double time, a common thread is not hard to find.

This film was made for anyone who has ever had to question themselves and why they're here. Anyone who has ever wondered when things will get better and if you're as good at what you do as everyone seems to think. This film is for those who worry about dying before you find out. This film is for anyone with extreme self doubt but project equal amounts of confidence. To all those who ever wanted to speak loudly but couldn't figure out the words, hopefully this film can be the start of your outline. To all those who are not sure how much further you have to go, don't give up…ever. This film was made to spread love and create understanding of a community and a place; the human community and where you may rest. We all connect thru shared experiences. No matter where you're from, how you grew up or what you're trying to do, everyone finds out that being an adult ain't easy. There are some things you just can't prepare for or be warned about by those who've adulted before you. 

This film features a group of people, artists and creatives inhabiting Atlanta, all hoping to find and define our success and legacy, ranging from painters and graphic designers to musicians and authors. The power of the shared experience that is life and trying to live it the best way you know how is what brought together all the people who helped make this film possible. Now, on this beautiful Friday, October 16th of 2015, we invite everyone who understand this song, feel free to listen, watch and experience. Feel free to share with others. If you know the words, feel free to sing along.

-Artemus Jenkins

"If You Know The Words, Feel Free" Trailer

We're pretty excited about this film, we got a bit experimental with the style and it came out really well. Not like those experiments you hide in the corner for years until you get your life together. This film is about our lives and the lives of many others in so many ways. For now check the trailer out and stay tuned, more info on screenings and all that good stuff coming.

Film will be premiering October 16th!

Last Week...

what a lovely crowd

what a lovely crowd

...was exciting. We spent it finishing a surprise film project that screened last week during AfroPunk. "If You Know The Words Feel Free", its a stylistic change for sure that I lookforward to exploring more. It was received really well. What's it about? I'll have the trailer ready in a bit, here are some photos from the first screening though, we're planning another real soon : )

Smoke and Mirrors Season Deux: Finale

The final episode is here guys, it's been quite a journey for our characters and in real life. People are finally taking webseries more seriously and they should, this ish is hard work! Relationships are too and the series ends as the gates of Cuffing Season open up. Hopefully you all learned some do's and dont's to apply in your own lives. Either way, we are thankful for all the support from the returning fans and the new ones we made. We're looking forward to producing more content since it's clear now you all like us a lil bit. Stay tuned to what we have in store, we're honestly just getting started, thanks alot guys!

Smoke and Mirrors Season Deux: Episode 3

Things start to get pretty interesting when Kia and Laloni are in the same room, which side you on? #TeamKia or #TeamLaloni

Be sure to check out smokeandmirrors.vhx.tv so you can watch the entire series right now! Use this code "LVLESS82" to get the series at the discounted rate of $3 for this week only!

Smoke and Mirrors Screening #tbt

On July 7th, 2015 we had an event celebrating the return of Smoke and Mirrors, screening the first couple of episodes. Of course we wanted people to see what we had been working so hard on, but it really served as an opportunity to get people off their phones, from behind their computer screens and into a physical space. Webseries like Smoke and Mirrors, bring people together from all over the world with common interests and at the heart of it all, films were meant to be watched with others. Afterwards you can talk about how it made you feel, likes, dislikes and develop an experience around what you saw in the 2-3 hours you occupied the space. 

Afterwards we had a very engaging discussion about some of the themes within the series, like sexual expectations between the genders, dealing with your exes past, balancing love as a creative and a few other cool topics. It was a great night filled with great energy and we're very thankful for all the people who helped us make it happen simply by being available. Special thanks to Sean Fahie, Shannon Evans of Studio No. 7, DJ Wally Sparks, Quianah Upton, Miya Bailey, Maurice Garland, Tashiya Umoja, Savanna Keo, Spencer Charles, Zoa, Terron Phillips, Geoffery Dawson, Artie and Divine, Fred and Amber, Ashley Tweed and all you lovely folks who filled that place with your positivity.

Peep the gallery below, you might be in these somewhere : ) Photos were taken by the talented and lovely Zoa , peep more of her work here.

Smoke and Mirrors Season Deux | Episode 2

Sometimes in love, you're going to have to compromise but what happens when the thing you have to compromise is your status? See how Dixon handles a little roll reversal.

Be sure to check out Episode 1 as well and if you'd like to go ahead and see all the episodes visit smokeandmirrors.vhx.tv

 

Smoke and Mirrors Season Deux: Episode 1

Season Deux has arrived, hope we didn't keep you waiting to long. We pick where we left off, with Dixon still figuring out how to get a handle on things and needing every bit of support he can get from a familiar face. It will be a fun and exciting season over the coming weeks and of course you can keep up with the latest here, but if you want to skip ahead and see the season unfold on your time $5 will get you the entire season right here in addition to more exclusive clips and content from what has been our finest work to date.

If you haven't signed up for our email list please do, we will be posting updates weekly about the series and if you just cant wait to see what's next visit smokeandmirrors.vhx.tv

Thanks for the support!

#TBT: On Set

We would all be very lucky to have people in our lives who can smile like this over the simplest things...

I can't say I expected anybody to be as happy as KarynRose was when I told her we had a slate this go round, but it happened as you can see. I honestly think it was a bit of a morale booster in the less fun times of shooting. 

We are officially a week and some change from the season 2 premiere of Smoke and Mirrors so I figured it would be appropriate to share a few photos I was able to grab between shooting, acting and internally being a bit of a nutcase trying to balance it all out. As terrible as that may sound, it’s always fun and there isn’t anything I would rather be doing…guess that makes me a crazy person *kanye shrug*

Be sure to peep the trailer and PREORDER the entire series HERE.


July 15th!

Smoke and Mirror's officially drops July 15th and this time around you can watch all the episodes right when you good ready. Visit our VHX  and pre-order now for $5, with access to this site you can watch all the episodes, behind the scenes, outtakes and more. Thanks for the support, enjoy the official trailer!