Freelance Spotlight: Washington, D.C. Educator – Meleah Campbell Teach [Photography]

BACK TO SCHOOL is here again!  However, the classroom setting looks quite different this year for many young scholars.  Teachers and parents alike are making necessary adjustments in light of the coronavirus pandemic, while officials are making determinations on the safest educational delivery methods.  For this Freelance Spotlight, I’d like to highlight my recent work with an inspiring young educator, Meleah Campbell. This indoor shoot was completed while adhering to all COVID-19 safety guidelines. 

Boasting almost 30k followers on Instagram alone, the UC Davis and Loyola Marymount educated, Teach America alum uses her social media platforms to champion for literacy and the arts.  Ms. Campbell does an amazing job digitally interacting with her preschoolers and I was thankful for the opportunity to work with her on capturing images for sponsored posts.   Here are a few snaps I captured for her paid partnerships with Advancement Courses (a Wiley Learning company) and Lakeshore Learning.

Personally, I am no stranger to distance learning.  I completed high school with an online, Middle States accredited homeschool program, then resumed physical classes for college.  Despite the circumstances prompting the change, I am happy to see more minority families exploring homeschool options and finding alternate methods for educational enrichment.  

Visit Ms. Campbell’s website and Instagram profile.

Daughters of Solanas, Official Selection for Women’s Comedy Film Festival in Atlanta, GA

Daughters of Solanas received placement in another film festival. The dramedy (drama/comedy) short is an official selection for the Women’s Comedy Film Festival. This is part of the Cinema Life Film Festival Collective.

Daughters of Solanas – Women’s Weekend Filmmaker Challenge – Official Selection, Women’s Comedy Film Festival, Atlanta, GA

The event is taking place on Saturday, September 5th in Atlanta, GA (in-person or online). Tickets are available at www.cinemalife.org or at @womenscomedy on Instagram.

Daughters of Solanas was created for the New York / Spring 2019 iteration Women’s Weekend Filmmaker Challenge. The film premiered at the Museum of Moving Image last Spring. As part of the camera crew, Briana M. Andrews shot BTS photo/video and manages the social media accounts for the short. Read previous posts here.

March on Washington: A call for criminal justice reform and racial equality

Here are some of my photographs captured from the August 28, 2020 March on Washington, at the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

“Artists for George Floyd” – March on Washington at National Mall commemorating the 57th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” Speech. Photo by Briana M. Andrews, August 28, 2020.

This past Friday marked the 57th anniversary of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. The March on Washington called for criminal justice reform and racial equality. Amid coronavirus safety protocols, there was a remarkable turnout with well-known speakers addressing the civil rights issues of today.

Jacob Blake Sr. delivers passionate speech at the March on Washington. Vertical cell footage captured by Briana M. Andrews, August 28, 2020.

These times call for unity, strength, resilience and preservation. STAY STRONG!

WINNER: 2020 Clarion Award – Briana M. Andrews Receives Prestigious Association for Women in Communications (AWC) Award for Women in TV and Film Interactive Media / Mini-Documentary.

The Association for Women in Communications (AWC) announced Briana M. Andrews as a WINNER of the 2020 Clarion Award in the Student Wildcard category for her Women in TV and Film, Interactive Media / Mini-Documentary project.  Read Press Release.

Winning a Clarion is a great honor and achievement; this award-winning entry will be recognized during a fall virtual event.  As one of the most prestigious competitions of its kind in the country, the 2020 competition attracted entries from 20 states and two countries, with entries judged by teams of experts from all aspects of the marketing and communications fields.

Clarion Awards Logo - Association for Women in Communications, WOMCOM, Graphic, Image

This interactive media project and short documentary was created during a New Media Practicum course at Rowan University, led by Writing Arts Professor Rachael Shapiro.  Andrews utilized social media as a promotional avenue and culminated with the creation of a short documentary to display individual efforts toward increasing diversity and inclusion in film.  This includes behind-the-scenes footage from the Andrews’ produced To Each, Her Throne web series, and the Daughters of Solanas dramedy short from the New York iteration of the Women’s Weekend Film Challenge.  Find excerpts from the project at www.womenintvandfilm.com.

  • Entry Title: “Women in TV & Film – Interactive Media / Mini-Documentary”
  • Entry Category: Student Wild Card
  • Organization Name(s): Rowan University
  • Entrant’s Name(s): Briana M. Andrews
Screen Capture, Clarion Award, Interactive Media Documentary, Women in TV and Film, Rowan University RTF CCCA, Student Wildcard Category, AWC Membership, Association for Women in Communications

Founded in 1909, the Association for Women in Communications has nearly 1,200 members worldwide. AWC champions the advancement of women across all communications disciplines by recognizing excellence, promoting leadership and positioning its members at the forefront of the evolving communications era. For more than 40 years, the AWC Clarion Awards have recognized small business, large corporate, nonprofit, agency and government communication specialists internationally who demonstrate excellence in clear and concise communications.  For a complete list of Clarion Award winners this year, please visit:  www.womcom.org/clarionwinners

AWC Logo, Association for Women in Communications, WOMCOM, Graphic, Image

“Let Live” Dramedy Short Film: BTS and First Look

Here are a few stills from Let Live, the dramedy short, written and directed by Briana M. Andrews.  A preliminary edit was screened virtually for the Howard University 1st Year Film MFA cohort.  The final cut will include additional sound editing and color correction.  We cannot wait to share it!  Thank you for your continued support.

Movie Poster, Black Cinema, Let Live, Short Film, Little Miss Whiskeys Bar DC, Enoch Jones, Ayana Andrews, Cashaey Serenity, Chris Sakyi
Let Live, featuring Cashaey Serenity, Enoch Jones, Ayana Andrews and Chris Sakyi. Directed by Briana M. Andrews.

Visit the previous post from the last day on set for BTS, shoot dates, locations, and crew member details.

How Badly Did COVID-19 Hit Your Pockets? Here’s My Story.

During these unprecedented times, I certainly hope you are all staying safe.   There has been a lot of talk about testing and surges, along with macro-level economic impact.  On a microeconomic scale, how badly did the novel CoronaVirus hit you? 

How Bad Did COVID-19 Hit You Financially? Blog Post Graphic. Animated Gif. Crying Emoji. Virus Image, IRS, Stimulus Status, Fiat Pop 500c, Car Accident

STIMULUS

COVID-19 struck my wallet hard and fast.  Nonetheless, I am sure that beats testing positive for the virus.  I have not received the $1200 stimulus check and I am honestly not even sure why.  Periodically, I would check the IRS website for status, however I am hit with the perpetual “payment status not available” message.  Somehow, though, the treasury managed to issue $1.4 billion in stimulus funds to over a million dead people.

UNEMPLOYMENT

Amidst curfews, social distancing and mask requirements, freelance opportunities in photography and videography dried up.  I did, however, maintain a conventional position which I assumed would result in eligibility for unemployment.  I filed a claim with the Washington, D.C. Department of Employment Services (DOES) and proceeded to certify weekly.  I even completed and submitted the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) forms; I’ve yet to receive a dime.  Unemployment insurance scammers have been cashing out nationwide, though.

UNEXPECTED EXPENDITURES

My car was left parked throughout most of the pandemic.  Just my luck that I got into a car accident one of my first trips out; t-boned by some idiot, speeding in the rain with no regard for traffic laws.  I wasn’t at fault, and I wasn’t injured.  However, my precious Fefe … Fiat Pop 500c was pretty banged up and left with an inoperable passenger side door.  I call National Continental Insurance, the offending party’s insurance company, and it turns out this is a Special Automobile Insurance Policy (SAIP)I never heard of this before, but apparently, it is a $1/day car insurance for Medicaid recipients that doesn’t cover anything unless the car accident kills you or leaves you in a vegetative state. The death “benefit” is a whopping $10,000.  I can’t imagine someone’s life being valued at such a minuscule amount.  I spoke with the representative who forwarded the denial letter and her reply was classic: “Yeah, that’s just how it is.  Wouldn’t matter if they hit ten Lamborghinis.”  How reassuring.  Here I am, paying through the nose for an insurance policy because of discrimination (ugh) … age, risk factors, statistics, and mysterious underwriter voodoo.  My personal policy has a small under-insured motorist benefit and *fingers crossed*, that will kick in to assist with the cost of repair.

CONCLUSION

I am in a lease and still have to pay rent (w/ WIFI and utilities), still have to eat, still have to pay my cell phone bill, still have to buy toiletries, magically come up with tuition payments etc..  For some people, their biggest concern during this time is not being able to get a haircut and I’m jealous.  Must be nice!  Some people are having an absolute field-day and are not eager to return to work; personally, I cannot wait. 

If you aren’t in dire straits and wish to toss a few coins into my virtual tip jar, FEEL FREE.

Freelance Spotlight: The Genese Martin Foundation (Digital Media Presentation, Audio & Photo Editing)

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of working on a freelance project from The Genese Martin Foundation. This intense, time-sensitive project required expeditious turnaround and serves as a true testament of digital age convenience, as the client was able to transmit files via DropBox during business travel throughout the day. The final product was a MOV file / digital media presentation inclusive of voiceover, background music, sound editing, photo editing, b-roll sourcing, and content storyboarding in a coherent fashion to demonstrate the organization’s purpose. The founder of this non-profit organization has a storied history and uses her experiences in the arts to PAY IT FORWARD. We commend the work this foundation does in the community. Art is the core of all humanity; ART IS LIFE.

Click to learn more about The Genese Martin Foundation.

What is Black Cinema? A Video Story. Film Criticism [Assignment]

Here is an excerpt from one of my Film Criticism assignment submissions.  The final video story is a 10-minute travel through time with b-roll curated from various online sources to corroborate the message.  I explored the meaning of black cinema, the history, cultural significance, theories, challenges, and future.  I highlighted the origins, silent film era, race films, blaxploitation films, the work of pioneer Oscar Michaux, independent cinema, notable challenges, the structure of Hollywood narratives, and the theories of Manthia Diawara, bell hooks and Haile Gerima.  The later describes cinema as a weapon, and “one of the most unexamined, unscrutinzed tool(s) of colonialism” detailing how mass media exploitation prescribes a view of blackness that perpetuates the disenfranchisement of Black Americans. 

What is Black Cinema? Film Criticism. Video Story. Assignment Submission. Screen Capture. Professor Sam Harman. Howard University.
What is Black Cinema? Film Criticism. Video Story. Assignment Submission. Screen Capture. Professor Sam Harman. Howard University.

What is Black Cinema anyway? 

Black Cinema is defined as classification used to describe film which involves the participation and/or representation of black people.  Now, this definition is quite broad and leaves some room for interpretation.  It could mean the film black cast, a black crew, a black director, a black story, or a focus on black audiences.

Alternatively, black cinema has been defined as a film recounting relatable common experiences and containing cultural elements that celebrate Black Cultural Identity.

Film director, Gladstone Yearwood defines black cinema as a body of films produced in the African diaspora which share a common problematic.  These films are a cultural expression of the survival impulse of African American culture and its struggle against marginalization.

Conclusion

Black cinema is not an isolated phenomenon. It has always been linked with social issues in the black community and served as the imagination of our aspirations.  Although challenges remain with funding and access, there is definitely a market for black stories.  It’s interesting to speculate in what direction black cinema would go.

If you would like to view the entire video story, send a message on the contact page or sign-up for mailing list.  I can also forward my voiceover transcript.  Best regards!

1st Year of Film MFA at Howard University Completed, Semester Reflection

What a bummer?!?!  While I am elated the academic year at Howard University has come to a close and I officially completed the first year of my graduate film school experience, something about this still feels incomplete.

When classes started in January, there was no way any of us could have predicted a pandemic would sweep through the nation and change life as we know it.  Classes were migrated to a virtual format, the status of my unfinished film remains in limbo, the film I was scheduled to DP was permanently postponed and my freelance photography / videography gigs were suspended amid curfew and social distancing requirements. Oh, and it gets better … my positions at Live Nation and Landry’s were furloughed as businesses closed. I’ve yet to see a stimulus check or unemployment check and sadly, I’m stuck in a lease in Washington, D.C., one of the most expensive places to live in America.  Putting it mildly, my life sucks right now.

Zoom classes are cute and all, but NOT when you are a film student. The program is collaborative in nature! We want access to equipment; we want to crew shoots. Working on group projects remotely with behemoth sized files and varying degrees of software access and system capability is no fun at all. I would have sat this semester out had I known it would wind up online. With talks of additional COVID phases, the likelihood of next semester being online, no program funding for the film program and graduate assistant positions reportedly slashed … an upcoming gap-year seems imminent.

Howard University Film MFA Graduate School - Spring 2020 Grades
Howard University MFA Film Student – Graduate School, Spring 2020 COVID-19 Grades

Update: Daughters of Solanas Nominated for Best Comedy at Film Festival

Considering the novel CoronaVirus pandemic, screenings and award shows have been postponed or moved to virtual delivery formats.   This hasn’t stopped the momentum for the Daughters of Solanas film which we recently learned was nominated for Best Comedy, alongside fellow Women’s Weekend Film Challenge alum, Pretty Dead.   Both films premiered at the MoMi (Museum of Moving Image) in April 2019. 

Daughters of Solanas is a drama/comedy short created by an all-female cast and crew.  I worked as the BTS / Unit Photographer and established the digital footprint for the film.  Thus far, the film has been selected for the Imagine This Women’s International Film Festival, 2020 Uptown Women’s Festival of New York, 2020 Women’s Comedy Film Festival in Atlanta, Queerly Film Festival and others. 

Poster for Daughters of Solanas Film for Women’s Weekend Film Challenge

Learn more about the festival and nomination by visiting the Instagram account for the Uptown Women’s Film Festival. Read more about the film by clicking here => #DaughtersofSolanas or visiting the IMDB page.