Sending out a HUGE thanks to Everyone who rallied behind EPIPHANY Inc. this year. Watching our films, attending in-person appearances and just sending us love through social media or the old school personal touch has meant the world to us. Whenever we feel the world turning upside down, there are friends, family and fans who share how much something with which we’ve put in years of effort affects their lives at just the right moment. That’s the beauty of art, education and activism. It’s the only way we know how to be free. Have a wonderful holiday season, Everyone!
On Tues, October 16, 2018 join #kweliTV for National Boss’s Day with #TITLEVIIFilm! See the film that won Best Lead Actress and Best Supporting Actress at this year's #ISeeYouAwards. But we’re not your typical story of the world’s most benevolent boss. The twist? TITLE VII is the story of CEO Hillary Kelsey who runs a lurid, toxic workplace that stems from her personal crisis of a life filled with same-race discrimination. Her agenda unfolds as a roller coaster ride of office shenanigans that turn deadly—all in a day’s work. Watch TITLE VII and Tweet live with me, the filmmaker! It's an international streaming event! See you this Tuesday! Please share. #FireTheBoss! #TITLEVII NatlBossDay
When writer Mel Hopkins requested an interview for an article she wanted to write on an indie filmmaker’s interest in Cryptocurrency and the life of risk, I thought let’s do it. Did I also mention she had the idea to pitch it to Ebony Magazine as well? News that I was in the September issue of “The Ebony” was exciting enough. It was true joy to see the smiles of family, friends and strangers, congratulating me for being recognized by such an institution. It was quite fun. My grandparents in East St. Louis would’ve loved it had they been alive to see it. I’m sure they’re celebrating with us in spirit. Thanks again, Mel!
#FemaleFilmmakerFriday #FilmmakerFridays We have our #TITLEVIIFilm debut today on #kweliTV! TITLE VII may now be seen on one of the hottest new streaming channels featuring the global Black community. kweliTV streams award-winning films and CEO DeShuna Moore Spencer is defying the odds. She launched this channel with a dream and now our films come right to your screens through RokuTV, Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Google Play, Chromecast, iOS devices and more! And the first seven days of your trial period are free! Check us out, and leave a comment for #TITLEVIIFilm! We appreciate your support of this incredible platform.
kweliTV. Our culture. Curated.
Please click on our link HERE and join our kweliTV family!
Thrilled that the first narrative feature from EPIPHANY Inc. is now available for a pre-order rental on Vimeo! TITLE VII will start streaming Friday, June 1 at 1pmEST, and we’re excited! We invite all to watch and enjoy!
Well, not all.
Our film is for Mature Audiences Only. So please, no children and no viewing while on a break at your work station. TITLE VII covers issues that relate to #JusticeOnTheJob through lurid tales and behavior in a most intriguing but perverse workplace. The last thing we want is for our risqué 72-minute story of a tumultuous day at work compromise your job. Screen with care!
Here's our link: http://Vimeo.com/ondemand/titlevii
Just a warning: It’s been our experience with our film festival tour that seeing our film once is not enough, and that’s cool with us!
For those who supported us during our IndieGogo campaign, you have a special private link. Please email me directly for access. We couldn't have done this without you!
We love when you get excited about movies and fill the theaters, and help them break box office records. With #TITLEVIIFilm we don’t have a Hollywood marketing machine. We have you.
If you help us spread the word to ten of your friends and ask them to do the same, we can make history with our sales too! And that means the world to us. Will you help share our news?
Thanks so much for your support! Enjoy TITLE VII! Looking forward to your review!
We're looking for a sponsor. Know anyone? People will probably be talking #Oscars all week. Let's continue that spirit when it comes to the power of film. My next project--a film short (drama)--will tackle the criminal justice system through the story of one man who still experiences PTSD after being exonerated. He's incredibly engaging, but has stopped making public appearances because he is still not used to his freedom after decades behind bars. I told him then maybe the best part about this film is that it will get his story out there without the personal trauma that comes with it. He agreed, but said what would be even better is if what happened to him behind bars never happened again to another human being. Corporate sponsorship is tax-deductible with EPIPHANY Inc. Please share. Let's make a difference.
A young woman just asked me the following question for her upcoming article:
How quick are you to defend people you know who have been accused of harassment? What do you say to women or men who do defend people they know?
It's a very good question. As she clearly reveals, #MeToo cannot ignore all sides of this complex issue. I immediately recalled a situation where I was compelled to believe the male in question first and foremost, ride-or-die. Here is my response:
Harassment comes in many forms. Knowledge that it will most likely exist in a multitude of workspaces and wear many, unsuspecting faces is key. I have stepped up to defend a young man accused of rape before because he confided in me his story that was about to come to light and wanted to make me aware of how much he was prepared to profess his innocence and would work to make things right. The first thing I noticed is that he may be fighting this alone. I told him immediately I was on his side. I had not known him that long, but I’ve known abusers, molesters and monsters and he was not that person. When he then told me what he was up against with the accuser I knew he had a case—we had a case if he needed me to be vocal about it. She was clearly up to no good and I was embarrassed and appalled by her behavior. You’re talking about a young man—and in this case, a young man of color—and his future. He does not have the luxury of being presumed innocent. Luckily for him, he had strength in knowing that a few of his superiors, such as myself and another colleague, had his back. He went on to a supervisory position, fully aware that even though he has years ahead of him he now sees how easy it is for him to become a target.
Now let’s take this example into a situation where the young man could have already been in a supervisory role and the young woman was a solid worker of exemplary character. If I do not have a bias—which is very important in all of these cases coming to light—I start with the facts from both sides. And then I examine any history of the behavior coupled with the culture of the workplace or industry. Usually before too much time has passed, I now have a gut feeling as to who is in the wrong and in the right. And if I can prove someone is lying, manipulating the truth or threatening the weaker party, I must warn that person this hits very close to home as I was a very young victim—a preteen—of a predator. I do not take any of this lightly and it is never okay to enforce a degree of silence of an act so vile. If we’re going to defend someone we know who has been accused, we have to put ourselves in the shoes of both parties, and ultimately—and swiftly—give our full support to right over wrong, no matter the relationship to the accused.
Peter Z. Jones. Sunrise: October 22, 1970. Sunset: January 1, 2018.
I'll miss you.
Caught the last moments of the St. Nicholas Nativity Scene before it went out to pasture. Here are the #ThreeKings whom we celebrate all weekend. The feast of the #Epiphany is complete. My company is named EPIPHANY Inc. after a conversation with my friend Ruby. I told her I have to name my film company. I want audiences and the industry to know all inspiration they seek has already been given to us. It’s all around. Ruby said, “So call your company Epiphany.” There, we had it. Formed, September 1999. Thank you, Ruby. #FeastOfTheEpiphany
I hope each and every one of you are having an amazing start to this holiday season.
I'm launching an app--Black Film Pirate--early next year that I hope will accomplish two things:
1) Finally address the age-old theory that "Black Films don't sell overseas," and,
2) Establish a growing catalogue of films from people of color or films prominently featuring characters of color.
This crowdfunding of film titles is something I've been looking forward to for a long time. This app will fill a gap I feel it's time to fill. Hope we can do this together and you'll recommend the below links to your friends and communities?
The FB Evite is up for Black Film Pirate here: https://www.facebook.com/events/493912224335667/.
The Eventbrite (for people off FB and beyond) is listed here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/black-film-pirate-lets-set-sail-tickets-40717598433.
Information is key and Black Film Pirate is set up to aggregate and distribute a one-of-a-kind catalogue, share behind-the-scenes strategies for indie filmmaking, and offer financing tips for indies and more.
We start with building a powerful list that establishes a film library like no other.
It just takes a five-minute survey that may be found here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfZyvVHFoKU4mQV7LJbtw7Wu3zSyG7l0FFPXomUhXDYowrnLg/viewform?c=0&w=1.
Will you become a pirate with us, fill out the form, share our e-vites and share our vision? Let me know and let's see this through! My hope is to make it go global, so I could really use your help if you're traveling in circles abroad as well. Let's do this! Thanks so much! Happy Holidays!
Am I thankful?
After all of you whose thoughts and support--near and far--powered me through, yes. I'm very very thankful.
Have a Wonderful Thanksgiving, Everyone!
Throughout my entire film career one Hollywood myth has been a constant in the dialogue concerning films by and about people of color. That stops now. Stay tuned....
HUGE congrats to kweliTV where I have the privilege of having six short docs on the channel. As of this week, kweliTV has launched out of Beta and Black female CEO DeShuna Moore Spencer is the indie filmmaker's dream distributor!
Please join the service known as "the Black Netflix" and see top global content from the African Diaspora. kweliTV is for all audiences, and is one of the few streaming services to compensate filmmakers fairly, promptly and with much respect (so filmmakers, check her out, and submit!!).
For your convenience, kweliTV is available online and through a number of apps.
Kweli means truth in Swahili so the mission is to curate content that is a true reflection of the black experience. The channel shares the African Diaspora experience through undiscovered documentaries, films, web shows, children’s programming, news and more from North America, Europe, Latin America, The Caribbean and Africa. Ninety-eight percent of films have been official selections at film festivals and more than 65% are award-winning.
kweliTV currently has nearly 200 titles on the platform that equals to more than 7,000 viewing hours and will be adding five new titles on the platform every Wednesday. More than 50 new titles will be added between September and Christmas. A sample: The Thorn Of The Rose (O Espinho Da Rosa) – Portugal; Black and Cuba – Cuba; Vivre – Barbados; Last Night – USA; The Flying Stars – Sierra Leone ; Catface – London; Accra Power – Ghana; Out of Darkness – USA.; and many more.
In addition to award-winning films and documentaries, the platform will be releasing four “kweliOriginals” in Fall 2017:
#WokeWebSeries - The live, weekly 30-minute show will give an on the ground report on news affecting black people around the world—from police brutality incidents, new legislation, protests, policies, petitions, etc. The one issue, solution-based show will be hosted by activist journalists, Dr. Avis Jones-DeWeever, a diversity coach and media commentator, and Janaye Ingram, an activist and lead organizer of the Women’s March on Washington. Dr. Jones-DeWeever and Ingram will tackle issues affecting black lives by interviewing community organizers and leaders across the globe.
60-seconds of Comedy - Enter the lives of the world’s up and coming comedians of African descent giving you 60 seconds of pure vlog hilarity. Can a comedian make you laugh in just 60 seconds?
#BlackRundown - A fast-paced, short-form daily countdown show that will highlight the top five most important news stories impacting the entire African diaspora.
Meet the Filmmaker - A one-on-one interview with upcoming and prolific independent filmmakers of color across the globe.
Other launch features include: Roku and Apple TV apps for subscribers as well as integration with Chromecast and Apple Airplay; a Live TV stream of some of kweliTV’s best shows and award-winning films for free on the platform; Member discounts and perks; and Weekly subscriber contests.
From kweliTV Founder/CEO DeShuna Spencer: “When you have people who like me overwhelmingly absent from leadership roles in newsrooms and film studios, you end up with scenarios in which black women being three times more likely to be viewed sexually on the screen according to research or a major news network allowing a former law enforcement officer to say that black people are naturally 'prone to criminality' and go on unchecked by a journalist. Media perception matters. I'm so excited to show what a true reflection of the global black experience really looks like through our dope films, documentaries and shows.”
Subscription plans include: $49.99 a year, $5.99 a month or $3.99 per 24-hour rental. Subscription include a 7-day free trial.
kweliTV slogan: Our Culture. Curated. Join now here: www.kweli.tv. Go, DeShuna and kweliTV! Yay!
Summer is winding to a close and it has been a busy, fulfilling, challenging, ultimately gratifying three months for EPIPHANY Inc. and our projects. Our first narrative feature, TITLE VII, is an official entry of 12 film festivals and on the slate of two screening series, book projects have the final chapter in sight and I'm off to a new teaching position at Hofstra University, for which I couldn't be more grateful--and excited. For a number of you who know me, you are already familiar with my Midwestern roots and my undergraduate days at University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) where I was one of the few Communication Majors among talented pre-med, architecture and engineering students. I had such good company there. And now a few of my friends from almost 30 years ago will be in attendance of my TITLE VII Chicago premiere for the famed Black Harvest Film Festival at Gene Siskel Film Center. Talk about coming full circle--it probably won't hit me until I get to hug those Chicago professionals who I spent time with as young idealists riding the gusts of winter winds into the concrete buildings for class. You guys had my back the whole time. Nostalgia hit with today's feature article on my work in the history Chicago Defender newspaper (thank you, Gina B. for the interview!) and I was overwhelmed with joy when the Chicago Sun-Times labeled our film "the bizarrely toned TITLE VII." I'm honored to be noticed! And as for "bizarre," we'll take it! We went down a bold road with our film on same-race discrimination. And as this country is in the midst of an ill wind, we all are learning that nothing about racial hate paints a pretty picture. It never did. It never will. Thank you for the education, Chicago. See you at the movies!
My friend and talented actor, Ariel Estrada from my latest film TITLE VII, schooled us all on the neverending (why is this still coming up?) question posed by a Black female producer on Facebook under the hashtag #ProducerFrustrations. Here is a recap:
"#ProducerFrustrations: Every time I am casting for something I can find 3,000 white women but like (2) black women, (1) latina actress, and ZERO Asian women!!!!
There are TONS and TONS of talented Actors of Color who are impeccably trained, and hungry for work (me included!). When producers and casting directors bemoan the seeming dearth of actors of color I ask "where are you looking, and how are you looking for them"?
Invariably, they answer the usual channels, that is, expecting the actors to show up and/or submit. This is not a case of "if we build it they will come." Unfortunately, the reality of most open calls is that we, as POCs are SO BURNED by them, that we don't really believe you when you say that you are casting a particular role race specific, and that instead, the default race for any character is white. And even if you ARE specific, again, you can't depend on an open call. As actors of color, we've learned for the most part that they are a complete waste of time. I can't speak for anyone else, but I generally get cast by direct contact (or contact with our agent/manager) from the director/casting director.
Believe me: we are just as frustrated as you are. Yet the reality of how power works in this industry is that THERE IS ONLY SO MUCH AN ACTOR, ESPECIALLY AN ACTOR OF COLOR, CAN DO TO REACH YOU. So the responsibility lies primarily with the producers and casting directors TO COMMIT TO THE MORE DIFFICULT PROCESS OF REACHING OUT TO ACTORS OF COLOR. And I say difficult only because there ARE less of us, but not because we're that hard to find.
If you are truly committed to using Actors of Color, THEN YOU MUST ACTIVELY SEARCH AND ASK THEM OR THEIR REPRESENTATION DIRECTLY. It's not that we're hard to find, it's often that people aren't looking in the right place, and then throw up their hands in despair, "there aren't any actors of color"!
Start with any of the theatre companies of color, and ACTIVELY REACHING OUT TO THEIR ARTISTIC DIRECTORS:
Billie Holiday Theatre, Inc.
Black Spectrum Theatre Company
Blackboard Reading Series
Harlem Repertory Theatre
IMPACT Repertory Theatre
Juneteenth Legacy Theatre
Take Wing And Soar Productions, Inc.
Liberation Theatre Company
The Movement Theatre Company
The National Black Theater
The New Black Fest
New Federal Theatre
New Heritage Theatre Group
The Negro Ensemble Company
Shades of Truth Theatre
Theater Loft: Ujima Theatre Company
We So Hapa
National Asian Artists Project, Inc.
Ma-Yi Theater Company
National Asian American Theatre Company (NAATCO)
Pan Asian Rep
Rising Circle Theater Collective
Hypokrit Theatre Company
Pregones / PRTT
Thalia Spanish Theatre
Teatro Círculo NYC
La Cooperativa of NYC Latinx Theatre Artists
AGENTS/MANAGERS THAT SPECIFICALLY HANDLE AOCS OR HAVE A GOOD HISTORY OF TAKING ON AOCS
First, read this article:
Ken Park Management (Asian primarily)
Annette E. Alvarez of Multi-Ethnic Talent & Promotion, Inc.
Take 3 Talent Agency
Makalina Abalos (Asian primarily)
KPA Talent Management/Production (Hispanic primarily)
3 Arts Entertainment
Bravo, Ariel!! 'Nuff said!
So excited to present my #FilmAFeatureIn8Days seminar twice in the next few weeks in Manhattan and Newark, NJ! One session is already sold out! Please click here for the session on May 6! I'm happy to present this workshop again and again. A microbudget feature is the calling card to be an industry player these days--if not Hollywood, a promising career as an indie filmmaker. Can you have a career solely as an indie filmmaker? It takes a heck of a lot of work, but it's possible! I did not have too many references to filming a feature in a few hours excess of a week when we set out to film TITLE VII, but we did it! And you can do it too!
This seminar is a #TITLEVIIFilm Case Study. Workshop highlights:
*Planning your microbudget
*Financing your microbudget
*Attracting heavy hitters to your microbudget
*Filming your microbudget in eight days
*Taking your microbudget to market
*Leveraging your next career move by investing in your microbudget
Follow our hashtag, #FilmAFeatureIn8Days, and you'll see tips online and more! See you at the movies! Your movie!
Happy Spring, Everyone! And thank you for making the Spring, Summer and Fall season a very special one for EPIPHANY Inc. with multiple screenings of #TITLEVIIFilm! Our TITLE VII NJ Premiere is here! The Women in Media - Newark Film Festival is FREE and all info about our April 6 NJ Premiere may be found on our event page by clicking here. Seating is first come, first served. Even cooler news? As of this post TITLE VII is expected to grace the screens of at least seven film festivals. Yep, we had our preview at Urbanworld last year, our world premiere at the recent Hollywood Black Film Festival (February), and with NJ and four more acceptance letters we're on a roll--from Harlem to Brooklyn to Martha's Vineyard and more! Please visit our event pages by clicking here, RSVP and share. We're also encouraging audiences to visit our page on Rotten Tomatoes after screening the film. Click here to submit your reviews! Special shoutout to intern Justin Bramwell who put together some really fun memes to share on our social media. We're excited to release our little-film-that-could to the world! See you at the movies!
Chicava HoneyChild and Fidel Vicioso as Hillary Kelsey and Darryl Montgomery in TITLE VII.
As I channel Oprah for a moment (haha) our nonprofit coding academy, Hack4Hope in St. Louis, is "one of my most favorite things!" Our students are introduced to coding as a career option and we have the honor of connecting the booming tech industry in St. Louis to its youngest potential candidates in the field! We like when corporate citizens take notice of students from all neighborhoods. That's what it's all about! Hack4Hope's lead partners are Educational Exchange Corps and ITEN. We meet monthly for six months with our partner Claim Academy with donated laptops from MasterCard (thank you, MasterCard!). And we're thrilled to welcome our latest sponsor BIM Object who is establishing some pretty firm roots in our fair city. So thrilled to have their support and confidence. What do the students experience with Hack4Hope? An annual hackathon, fun ice-breakers to encourage fellowship, coding instruction focusing this year on Python and the fundamentals of writing strong essays. Did we mention we're a nonprofit? We aim for introducing 50 students per year to incredible opportunities to improve their lives and the lives of their families through technology. Join us as a volunteer or a donor by clicking on Hack4Hope.org. As always, please spread our news and just drop an email to say "hello"! See you online! Photos by Kirsten Petty.
On the first Monday of 2017 I was privileged to help launch #BlerdDating, created by ChilltownTV's Leesa Dean. We're a Monday night Twitter chat with confessions (Twitter Story-style), memes, celebrity guests and a whole lot of laughs. In fact, a very special #BlerdDating Valentine's Day episode brought R&B Superstar and Grammy-winner Anthony Hamilton to the show and what can we say? This Monday night date is the most exciting of my life! We're having so much fun. To date we have more than 40 million Twitter impressions and our sharing of #BadDates has reached across the globe. #Blerds who date (this includes married #Blerds) are supercool. Who knew? We'll keep bringing you gems every week. Check us out on Twitter at 9pmEST by searching #BlerdDating, then join us on FaceBook for the AfterParty that gets pretty wild! Need more info about the world's first Twitter Stories/Chat-Mashup phenomenon? Just check us out at BlerdDating.com. We're having a ball and want you to join us! See you Monday nights!