By Michael Adkins
The REEL Film Experience Program is awesome. They allow us to speak our true feelings about main important topics and they help build our intellects. They give us opportunities to interview people from all over but especially in our area. We have recently interviewed the Public Relations Director of Cheltenham Mall, Naja Killebrew and an elderly asset to the neighborhood, Susan Cooke. They were both informative and inspiring interviews.
See here for a video clip from Naja Killebrew’s talk about marketing and public relations.
What really influences me now a days is music. I know if I listen to punk rock I am going to be in the “f the world” mood and really isolating myself and if I hear a sad song ill be sad if it is good enough to make me feel in such a manner but most of the time I am very hyper that’s because when I go to sleep listening to party music or a very hype song and it really might sound like weird but it is extremely crazy but it really true and when people ask me do music really influence every day decisions I tell them but they have they have a tendency to look at me like I’m crazy so that’s when I googled (does music really influence the every day choices )well according to a recent studies at it does.
Several REEL Filmmakers wrote a short paper about a filmmaker, entertainer or media issue of their choice. Sam chose to write about Spike Lee after participating in a heated debate in our classroom surrounding Lee and filmmaker Tyler Perry.
Shelton Jackson “Spike” Lee is an American filmmaker that has produces numerous amounts of great films. The films that he has created are some of the greatest films in the history of films and also some are my favorite movies.
Spike Lee’s movies to me always give a wakeup call to us as viewers and us as humans. His movies express his feelings towards several issues and those feelings and ideas speak for many others. His work always has a uniqueness to it that’s hard to see in other movies done by other directors, black or white.
I love his movies because they speak the truth about things that society wants to hide or what society does not want to talk about. The honesty in his projects makes it lovable and that’s why they always make a statement to me. At the same time these movies are entertaining. Some other movies that are honest to society and also make statements are always lacking one aspect from it, which is being entertaining, its almost like these projects are news media and not for entertainment.
One of my favorite movies of all time is “Do the right thing” by Spike Lee. The film tells a tale of bigotry and racial conflict in a multi-ethnic community. The movie is very entertaining and it sends out messages in a very straightforward way and at the same time keeps the viewer’s interest by being entertaining. This movie is one of Spike Lee’s greatest movies and its one of the greatest creations in the movie industry. I love the views that he sees on situations and I love the way he chooses to represent these views in his projects.
There are a lot of different talk going on about the disagreement going on between Tyler Perry and Spike Lee. What I get from this whole dispute is that, Spike Lee has a problem with the shows/projects that Tyler Perry is making. Spike Lee feels as though his shows are brings back the minstrels of black people that excited back in the day in media. Movies like “Birth of a Nation” gave out bad representations of blacks in media and because of movies like this blacks had a presentation that people (whites) saw them as. In a way these movies started and encouraged stereotypes about blacks and also other races. The issue that Tyler Perry has with Spike Lee is the way he went about addressing the issue that he has with his shows/projects. Tyler Perry feels that Spike Lee should have called/contacted him about how he felt about the issue privately so that they both can talk about it and also work together on these projects.
My thought about this issue is that Spike Lee was being honest and he was expressing his opinion, and I don’t see anything wrong with that. I believe that Tyler Perry should be upset at his approach and I agree with him when he said they should have a talk about the issue.
As a filmmaker in progress I will like to make movies like Spike Lee and someday have a chance to talk to him and get some knowledge from him. I will continue to watch his movies and love his projects that he makes.
My favorite filmmaker is Tyler Perry because I like how in his productions he makes them real. He makes the audience believe in what he do. For example, besides the fact that Mr. Perry directs and writes these movies, he also acts in them. He plays a lady named Madea who is always in some kind of trouble.
Tyler Perry does something that is called Typecasting. That means that he takes an actor or actress and make them the same character In every film he makes. For instance, one of the actress he hired is Cassie Davis. She plays an older lady [ just a little older than Madea] name Auntie Ella. She keeps this role because she is good at it and Tyler thinks that having Cassie play Auntie Ella will get more response from the viewers. Some people criticize the things Tyler Perry do because they think some of his films are stereotyped. I do not agree that his films are stereotype because it does not look like what he is doing is wrong. So what ever people are saying is wrong to me.
Tyler Perry is one of the most biggest filmmakers in Atlanta today. I know that he will continue to make great films and he will bring in some new actors and actress. If I could talk to Tyler Perry I would say, “I really like how you make everything you do as Madea seem so real. No one would ever know that was you in that costume. Especially people who have never seen you before.”
I would also ask him to maybe put me in one of his productions.
Today we watched the first two episodes of the MTV Africa drama series Shuga, a program filmed in Kenya that is raising awareness around HIV/AIDS among young people across Africa. After viewing the film, students developed questions for a skype interview with lead actress, Lupita Nyong’o, who is currently pursuing her graduate studies in Acting and Film at Yale University.
In her interview, Nyong’o discussed how starring in Shuga has changed her life. In addition to being an actress, she is now an Ambassador for HIV/AIDS and she has an important message: “know your status.”
See below for response from REEL Filmmakers Victoria, Raquel and Indiya:
What I’ve learned from watching Shuga and interviewing actress Lupita Nyong’o is that in Kenya, HIV/AIDS awareness is very important. I think because of the nationality of it all. African-Americans have a high percentage in HIV/AIDS and because over there in Kenya they don’t have the same resources we do in the States, they it upon themselves to let others know about the disease. I have also learned, or observed that in Kenya, life is very fast pasted. The show SHUGA is a small reflection of the Kenya society, and a lot of things happened in a very small amount of time. It looks like when in Kenya, if you want things done, do them quick. SHUGA is a very good show and it is powerful with an even greater message. (Victoria)
My comments on the show Shuga are that it portrays and shares a valid and vital point about our society today. The show itself is supposed to talk about H.I.V./A.I.D awareness, which it does and in my opinion it’s on point with it. However it also shows the issues that revolve around it as well. For example it shows the problems of drinking alcohol and the consequences that comes after it. Also it shows the problem society has with sexual behaviors for example the main character in the show almost has sex with a owner of a company so she can get in the company herself even though she has a boyfriend who wants to marry her. So to me there is more to it than just H.I.V./A.I.D. awareness it talks about the society we live in that makes the problem spread. (Raquel)
I thought that the film Shuga was very interesting because it had a lot of things going on and everything was clear on what was happening in the movie. When we interviewed one of the actresses, Ms. Lupita I learned that doing Shuga was a big experience for her. I also learned that people in Kenya were very watchful of HIV and aids. And that was another thing the movie was about. (Indiya)
See episode one of Shuga here:
Teens today are considered to be the biggest spenders ever. Media conglomerates direct all marketing and advertising towards teens for them to buy, buy, buy. They even go so far as to hire what they call “cool hunters” to give the media conglomerates feed back on what is “cool” in the eyes of teens today. Teens make the biggest impact on the media market. Whether it is clothes, music, food, or phones, games, and other accessories, if teens think its cool, the media will sell it. According to the movie The Merchants of Cool, the media relies on the “cool kids” of the world to fuel their businesses. To be honest, this is probably the smartest way to make money. Knowing that most teens aren’t holding a household together or saving for a new house, their money has no where to go but into the corporations.
Today we watched The Colour of Beauty, a short documentary about racism in the fashion industry. The film follows a young black woman who is trying to make it as a top model. Along this journey, Filmmaker Elizabeth St. Phillip includes testimony from industry professionals (magazine editors, modeling agents, etc.) who offer their insight on beauty standards and barriers that black and brown women face in the fashion business.
The REEL Filmmakers had a spirited discussion after viewing this film. Ketty and Victoria share their reactions to the film here:
“Today in the fashion industry we see mostly white faces. [According to the film The Colour of Beauty] in [a recent] fashion week 87% of the women were white, 6% were black, 6% Spanish, and 1% Asian women. So for me as a black girl I would have to try really hard if I want to be a top model. If we are all equal why are white women still getting pick over everyone else? The black girls that are chosen in the fashion industry have to have a white girl look. To this is not fair because just cause i’m black and i don’t have the looks of white women should not mean that i could not be chosen to be a model.” (Ketty)
“In response to The Colour of Beauty, directed by Elizabeth St. Phillip, the fashion industry is messed up. I always dreamed about being one of those fashion critics along side those runways at fashion week, but if I can’t see another race besides white, I’m not going to want to see it. I’d rather stay home, or waste my time somewhere else. They said for a black model to ‘make it’ in the fashion industry, they must look like a “white model dipped in chocolate.” Its not racism, its prejudice I guess, its not right. Black girls or even Latinos, or Asian girls shouldn’t be so afraid to get a call back when a white girl can go in and say ‘I got this’. First of all, it’s not fair. It’s not fair to the model or to the audience, maybe sometimes not even to the modeling industry. The fashion industry needs to open their eyes and realize that people, REAL PEOPLE are watching.” (Victoria)
The first production project in the REEL Film Experience Program was a personal narrative. Each student filmmaker was responsible for writing, directing and editing his/her own personal film. Some students chose to incorporate dialogue and actors and others took a documentary style approach.
See below for reflections about the production process from student filmmakers Julian, Abdul, Indiya and James:
My personal film was fun because I really worked hard on it and I wanted it to be kind of a comedy but serious to. My helpers and cast were very fun to be around. This was the first movie that I’ve made. The reelfilm has helped a lot from the cameras .I want this film to inspire people. I never been bullied and hope not be but bulling is a popular topic in the news there’s bullying then there’s cyber-bullying. I want to do a cyber bullying movie on my own time. (Julian)
I really like how my personal film came out. I put a lot of work in it but I do think next time I could be a little more creative and make it a little longer but out of all I think it came out good. I would like to thank my teachers for helping me. Mr. Dwight and Ms. Nuala they were a real help teaching me how to use Final cut pro. (Abdul)
The personal film I made was about me and what I like to do. It was a very fun thing to do but it was a lot of work. This was my first film and I learned a lot from doing it. My film was called, The Reason I am who I am. The process in making the film was hard. I had to first make the film. Next I had to learn how to edit my film. After I was done editing my film the class got to watch me and a couple other films. This was a very successful thing for me. (Indiya)
In this program I am learning how to direct, make and edit films. This week I learned about the three phases of production, pre-production, production, post-production. My video is about African-American stereotypes. (James)
See James’ film here:
When it came to making personal films I thought that it was going to be easy “a walk in the park” but until I realize that it takes a lot to make one and put it all together. Back when I was in Dobbins I had something like that I had to do. It involved a lot of brainstorming to do but I eventual got it. Here at PCAT I found out a lot of things that I didn’t ever know about yet. MY film class at Dobbins did show me that it’s big in the film world and there are so many things that I can do. Every step had its challenge and its downsides. I learn a lot about them and study them very well. Every step and every move I take can give me an advantage or a disadvantage in filming. In PCAT my personal film has my first challenge to do. By doing this I can finally show what I got in my filming career. While making my personal film I came across a few new things that cross my mind and I wanted to take interested in it. This program on the computer called Final cut pro gave me an idea that I had to try. I wanted to try the many parts to my movie as possible but I know I can’t do it all but I gave the best to my film. I use slow motion action, fade in and fade out transitions. Other people my have used other transitions and talk about other in their film but in my personal film I wanted to show what I am and who I was, I wanted everybody to know who I was and what I am. I then came up with a title to finally show what I am. “I called I AM GREATNESS.” (Luis)
Here’s a personal film by Jessica Grose: