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Local Filmmakers: Representation is Powerful but Costs Money

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Local Filmmakers: Representation is Powerful but Costs Money

New and experienced filmmakers attend a local event in South Los Angeles. (Yesyka Mondejar/UT)

New and experienced filmmakers attend a local event in South Los Angeles. (Yesyka Mondejar/UT)

New and experienced filmmakers attend a local event in South Los Angeles. (Yesyka Mondejar/UT)

New and experienced filmmakers attend a local event in South Los Angeles. (Yesyka Mondejar/UT)

Yesyka Mondejar, Community News Reporter

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JC Thomas’s documentary, in some ways, is a reflection of herself.  

“What inspired me to write this story is that I suffered from depression,” she told an audience of more than 40 people, including amateur and up-and-coming filmmakers, actors and producers. 

The documentary Thomas co-produced with Valaira Sa-Ra, “The Rhythm of Blue,” was recently screened at a small theater in South Los Angeles. Woven Colors, a community group, hosted the event to give filmmakers and people of color a chance to promote, discuss and screen their work. 

One theme that emerged was how people of color and those with few resources have the power to shape more of America’s narratives through film — if they can manage to scrape together the resources required to produce their films. 

 “The Rhythm of Blue” shows women of color accepting a mental illness, seeking help and escaping from the stigma of being called crazy. The documentary ends with this thought: “Healing from depression is a journey, not a destination. One must find their own rhythm to healing.” 

 Another writer, Danielle Boyd, who graduated from New York University, shared her short film, “Love Letter,” about people fighting for their rights. She said the film “brings brown faces to the screen. As a black woman, it is hard to get representation.” 

 She also talked about the struggles of getting this film done. “We don’t have any money. We are on a low budget,” she said. 

 Another movie screened that night, “Fiorella,” is about a Liberian-American teenager hoping to fit in with new friends but she’s led to make a difficult choice between staying true to her Christian beliefs and being loyal to her friends. 

 The movie is co-produced by Hectorlyne Wuor Jarmon, who is the production accountant for the HGTV series, “My Lottery Dream Home,” according to her IMDB profile. 

 She said “Fiorella” was inspired by a true story about a teenager who is sentenced to life in prison because of gun violence: “This story inspired me to write African stories. The biggest challenge in making a film is money.” 

 She advised filmmakers in the audience to save money for post-production – including editing, distribution and marketing – and advised offering work to friends if boundaries can be set to preserve the friendship. 

Community News reporters are enrolled in JOUR 3910 – University Times. They produce stories about under-covered neighborhoods and small cities on the Eastside and South Los Angeles. Please email feedback, corrections and story tips to UTCommunityNews@gmail.com

 

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