Soul Food Junkies
A documentary film about food, family, and tradition.
I'm looking forward to going to the SXSW Film Festival next week. I'll be on a panel with my Central Islip homegirl and fellow filmmaker Yance Ford, and filmmaker Marshall Curry. The topic is: Doc Distribution: Get up to Speed with PBS Indies, 11 am - 12 pm, Intercontinental Stephen F. Austin, 701 N Congress Ave, Capital Ballroom B.
I've been on this doc grind for a while now. I made my very first documentary film as a senior in college. It was called Moving Memories: The Black Senior Video Yearbook. My first camera was a Canonvision 8 mm E250. The film took me 6 months to make with $350 given to me by Northeastern University's Journalism Department. I premiered it in my campus' library to a standing room only audience. As a result of that experience, I fell in love with the documentary filmmaking process. My first film after college was a doc called I Am A Man: Black Masculinity in America. I completed it in 1997. It took 5 years to make. It's a pretty obscure film funded by the Echoing Green foundation and the National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC). Shot it myself, with additional shooting by my college professor, the late Andrew Jones, who also edited it. NBPC submitted it to PBS for a national broadcast, but it was rejected because it didn't meet their technical standards. I applied to film schools to learn more about doc filmmaking. New York University and Stanford University. I got rejected by both. Stanford, twice. After those rejections, I took a step back from doc filmmaking and accepted job doing public relations to help pay the bills. I learned quickly that I had no passion for PR. I came to grips with the fact that my true passion was making documentaries. I quit my job after one year, moved from Boston back home to Long Island, and connected with Harlem-based, award-winning documentary filmmaker Stanley Nelson. Nelson graciously invited me to be a production assistant for his production team. He mentored me, taught me how to make a film the right way, showed me how to direct a shoot, how treat production crew, and how to interview subjects. He showed me what the documentary filmmaking process was supposed to look like. I studied Nelson's game. I watched every doc he and Lewis Erskine suggested that I watch. I washed dishes, made copies, and got lunch and coffee for the crew. I showed up on time and did what I was asked. I humbled myself, and committed to learning the craft of filmmaking. I took a filmmaking course at Third World Newsreel in Manhattan. I paid my dues. I decided it was time to jump back into the fray, and locked myself in a room for two weeks, and wrote a treatment for Hip-Hip: Beyond Beats and Rhymes. Funders rejected the proposal 13 times. It took six years for me to eventually raise the money, shoot it, and get the film done. Sabrina Gordon masterfully edited the film. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2006, and broadcast nationally on PBS Independent Lens in 2007. It had a huge national community engagement campaign, and it is still being shown all over the world, to this day. That film put me on the map, and changed my life. Soul Food Junkies was my next feature length film. It took me 5 years to raise the money and complete that film. Edited by the gifted Sonia Gonzalez-Martinez, it premiered at the American Black Film Festival and won the CNN Best Documentary Film award, Best Documentary at the Urbanworld Film Festival, and several other festivals. In New York City, it premiered at Lincoln Center, fulfilling a career dream of mine. Like all of my films, I wanted Soul Food Junkies to make a difference in people's lives. I wanted the film to inspire people, particularly black people, to live healthier lifestyles and demand higher quality food in their grocery stores – I receive emails and tweets saying that the film is doing just that. Nowadays, I can barely watch my first two films, Moving Memories or I Am A Man. I cringe when I watch them. But I adore them because they represent my journey to become a working documentary filmmaker. Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes and Soul Food Junkies remain my favorites, and I believe I have it in me to make better films. My goal is to take my filmmaking skills to the highest level with the current doc I am working on, Hazing: How Badly Do You Want In? I want this to be my best film, and I want to to take it to the highest level cinematically, and aesthetically. I want to the story telling to be exceptional and gripping from start to finish. Those are my goals. They won't be easy to achieve, but they are goals well worth striving to meet. This doc game is not easy, but I love it.
Indie Film Alert! Check out this trailer for Rachelle Salnave upcoming film La Belle Vie: The Good Life! Share widely to help her spread the word about her film!! #supportindiefilm #indiefilmsrock https://vimeo.com/95882229
Byron Hurt will show a clip from Soul Food Junkies and will offer remarks at the retirement reception for Representative Henry A. Waxman.
For the Good Men Project, anti-sexist activist Byron Hurt will talk about preventing gender violence with co-hosts Marie Roker-Jones (senior editor of The Good Men Project) and Dr. Vibe. Who: Byron Hurt, Marie Roker-Jones, Dr. Vibe of The Dr. Vibe Show What topic: Gender violence prevention Date: Tuesday, October 7, 2014 Start Time: 9pm EST End Time: 9:30pm EST Where: www.plus.google.com/events/caa8347emvqbt9p946opi7iu0ns This is a live streaming Google Hangout event and everyone is welcome to join in! »» Follow the participants on Twitter: www.twitter.com/byronhurt www.twitter.com/goodmenproject
Hurt speaks to students about gender violence prevention at the University of Wyoming.
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