Young Black Filmmaker, Kevin Brooks: “If we believe in our hearts that we are going to make it, I believe we will”.

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( Project 1324 calls Kevin Brooks, a Skateboarder. Peace-bringer. Meditator. Revolutionary. Revolutionary indeed. Winner of Sundance Ignite 2016 challenge, he was awarded the opportunity to meet with the likes of Ava DuVernay, be mentored by the greats of film directors and be camera operator for Sundance Festival all while doing what he loves. “Myles” is a recent short film Brooks developed that comes at such a crucial time and speaks volumes to its audience. But Brooks is a 22yr old young black male that was able to tell a riveting story of what it means to be Black in society today. I was able to catch up with him in between his writing, creating and developing of some upcoming projects.

Q: What sparked your interest in film?

Kevin Brooks: When I was a kid, at age 6, my dad brought home a video camera and from there I use to go around, record films with my little action figures. Then once I got older, I started going around making stories and learning about how to connect with people through the art of storytelling and film. So I really loved that because you can really make a big impact through this medium.

Q: What motivated you to create the film Myles?

KB: I was just motivated really by a lot of things that are going on in the world. With all the shootings and the Black Lives Matter movement; also thinking about what I went through in high school and even in college. The things I dealt with and the group of friends I was hanging with, I had to realize how I was perceived through society. Even though I went to a private school, I still had to be very conscious and aware of who I was as a person. So all of that went into my writing of Myles. So it was a really personal film, I also wanted to do it because of like I said the Black Lives Matter movement and what the cops are doing to us today. I felt it was very important to get that out there.

Q: Would you consider yourself to be Myles?

KB: I would say over the years concisely developing who I am as a person, that I am Myles to a certain degree.

Q: What filmmakers inspire you?

KB: I really like filmmaker, Wong Kar-wai that did one of my favorite films of all time; In the Mood for Love. I really love Spike Lee, I grew up on him. Do the Right Thing is one of the best films I’ve ever seen. I watched it in film school and it really pushed me to tell stories that mean something, that’s what Spike Lee does.  With every film he makes it about something and impacts the world in that way. So I think that’s important. I admire filmmaker, Barry Jenkins who did Moonlight. He is a filmmaker on my radar now because he is really talented and really smart. I was watching some of his interviews and the way he visually tells a story is so inspiring.

Q: Explain what Sundance Ignite is and what you have been doing while in the program?

KB: Sundance Ignite is a program for upcoming filmmakers in the age group of 18-24. To get into the program you have to do a short film and I did a short film called Keep Pushing and it granted me the opportunity to get into the program. It was one of the five films that were selected from all across the world. That was an amazing experience. So that’s what I did last year in 2016. This year [Sundance] sent me out as a camera operator for the entire festival. I met Ava DuVernay, Common, and I got to interview them. So that was really cool.

Q: What upcoming projects are you working on?

KB: So Sundance helps us all the way, with connects, they read over our scripts along with guidance. So they are really helpful and giving us access to mentorship with other directors that are already in the industry.  They always help by giving advice. As of right now I am just crafting my writing and storytelling ability to be better. I’m currently working on a feature and just honing my writing skills and getting better at telling a complete story.

Q: What advice would you give upcoming filmmakers that look just like you?

KB: The advice I would give is to learn and read as much as you can. We have to keep Pushing as the title of my short film says. But it’s true you have to keep pushing and keep going because there are always going to be obstacles. But if we believe in our hearts that we are going to make it, I believe we will.

View Kevin Brooks DocumentaryMyleshere:

Staff Writer; Amber Ogden

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