All I have to say in surreal.
For those of you who know, my daughter Mikaela is on a wonderful journey trying to work her way into the entertainment business as an actress.
It’s been a long road and even though she’s secured a few roles and stageplays we are still on the grind to land that big role. (And we’ve got a major project in the works) Working hard and grinding is just the nature of the business. When an opportunity presents itself for her to do a role– it’s a major “get” in this business. Thankfully, Mikaela secured a role in the short film called Miss Identity directed, written and produced by Morehouse student David Fortune. At the same prestigious school filmmaker Spike Lee hails from and where billion dollar actor Samuel L. Jackson prefected his acting chops.
It was an AMAZING event and it was surreal seeing Mikaela on a big screen Check out what I write about the fabulous experience o CocoaFab. I’m SO proud.
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Great black filmmakers and actors like Spike Lee and Samuel L. Jackson are the product of Morehouse College and on Thursday Captain America star Anthony Mackie took time out to inspire 17 young men who made short films as part of the Cinema, Television & Emerging Media Studies (CTEMS) program at the historic school.
At the CTEMS film fest, Mackie viewed 17 short films created by graduating seniors, along with faculty, staff and a rapt audience who were all excited to see the final projects of the up and coming film directors and writers. The filmmakers will submit their films to festivals as well.
Anthony told the students:
I’m very fortunate to do what I do and I know I’m very fortunate to do what I do so therefore I sacrifice more than the average bear….and I tell my friends I am where I am because I am willing to sacrifice… and I challenge each one of you, each one of you graduates… sacrifice,” he said.
“If you want to be a movie star, then you go BE a movie star…you let no one challenge that. You let no one question that. But if you want to be a working actor… if you want to take the time and commitment to spend four months in Poughkeepsie doing a play no one will see… if you want to take the time and commitment to do a Broadway show for people to say ‘You know what, the show was all right; it was directed well but I don’t like YOU’…that’s the type of dedication you have to put into this to be successful.”
Not sure where Anthony was going with that point, since it sounds like shade thrown to Broadway and local actors, but OK.
The shorts were professional films the students created as part of their final project and displayed cinematic likeness to some of the greats like Spike Lee and Martin Scorsese. The topics of the films touched on controversial issues like the ire that comes from seeing young men wearing saggy pants (SAG by filmmaker Corey Boyd) to freeing the minds of young blacks who use the “N” word as a term of endearment (The Emanicipation of a Real Nigga, by filmmaker Sam Robertson.)
Student filmmaker David Fortune created a short called Miss Identity about a young pageant contestant who realized that her own vision of self was misconstrued and it took her answering a pageant question and talking to her “younger self” to realize that she is so much more than what society tells her to be. (I have to note that also featured in the film was my daughter Mikaela Sydney Smith who made her first film debut as the young pageant contestant as a child.) David was accepted to a film school in LA and said he is one of several students chosen to work with Anthony on a project too.
Student filmmaker David Fortune and his crew who produced “Miss Identity” along with Mikaela Smith who co-starred in the film.
The overall mission of the CTEMS program is to provide quality introduction to the intellectual and artistic study of film and television while focusing on the craft of storytelling. When Spike Lee was a film student at Morehouse, (Although the CTEMS program wasn’t created just yet) he made a film called Homecoming for his final project and later started writing She’s Gotta Have It, which became his first feature film. Called The Captone class, these students work as writers, producers, directors and editors of their film project and will submit their work to various film festivals. Spike went on to become one of the most respected film directors of our time and Samuel L Jackson’s movies have made more money than any other actor’s in Hollywood actor — exceeding $7 billion worldwide. The residuals alone earn him about $300,000 a year! Neither star was in the program but Morehouse provided a great film foundation.
We expect to see these young men take Hollywood by storm.
For more info on the project visit Morehouse.edu/CTEMS