We are pleased to share an update on Kevin Brooks, the Communication major at the University of Memphis who received a fellowship from the Sundance Film Festival through the Ignite Fellows Program. His film, Marcus, is one of the top ten films, out of more than fifty submissions, that were entered in the Memphis Film Prize contest, a local film festival in its inaugural year. Filmmakers were asked to submit a short film, five to fifteen minutes in length that must be shot within Shelby County.
Judging for the prize is determined by two groups, the first is a set of celebrity judges from the film industry and the second is the audience members at the festival’s screening dates. Both sets of judges will cast their votes at the festival, where they will watch the films together. All of the top ten films will be screened at Studio on the Square in Memphis on August 12 and 13, and the winner will be announced on August 14 and will receive $10,000.
Brooks’s film, Marcus, “tells the story about a young man who is struggling with the consequences of Karma derived from decisions he has had to make to survive.” Brooks is proud of his work and feels that it brings together the city of Memphis and the University of Memphis. He says, “I filmed most of the film in South Memphis and personally I feel like it touches on some very real issues that young men face in urban settings. Most of the cast and people behind the scenes are University of Memphis alumni or are currently students.”
Brooks’s film is more than just entertainment; it speaks to larger issues that face many people. He elaborates, “I really wanted to show my audience the problems that many people of color face in these urban settings. I made sure to make the film seem as realistic as possible while also adding a layer of artistic visual shots, to better take you inside of the mind of our main character and the psychological conflict that he is dealing with throughout the film. I also feel that this film could resonate with many people because it’s also a story about a man who is looking back at his life and wishing that things would’ve have been different and if he had one more chance to go back, he would’ve went down another path. I feel that is something that many people, regardless of race or gender can identify with.”
This project brings together several majors and degree programs. Asia Sims, a University of Memphis graduate student in Film/TV Production, who plans to graduate in 2017, is the producer of the film. Ricky D. Smith is the main actor and UofM alumnus who graduated in 2014 with a degree in Communication. Scovia Wilson, who graduated in May 2016 with a degree in Public Relations, is also an actor in the film. Brooks and his colleagues are excited to share their work, saying “We really would love if people could come out to watch and support this film. I hope to get the film into more festivals and just get the word out about this piece to as many people as I can.”
Brooks encourages everyone, “Please come support the film and vote at the festival!” A trailer for the film can be found at https://vimeo.com/176649411.