By Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J.
For three years, Jack Daniel’s Gentleman Jack beverages has sponsored a short film competition, and recently actor Malik Yoba was in town to showcase the event. The program is called “Real to Reel with Omari Hardwick,” and it’s a national film competition and local screening tour that celebrates and supports emerging Black filmmakers.
The event was held at the Park West in Lincoln Park, and attendees were treated to snacks and signature cocktails and screenings of films from the following filmmakers:
Briana Clearly, with the short film, “Sum of Her Parts.” Briana is a director, screenwriter, and self-published author. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Directing at DePaul University. Her focus as a filmmaker is to capture the nuance and complexities of social issues within the scope of personal relationships.
Sandrel “Sanicole” Young, with the short film, “Training Wheels.” Sandrel is a writer and director born and raised on the South Side of Chicago. She graduated with her film/video degree from Columbia College and has continued to be an active trailblazer in cinema by independently writing, producing, and directing.
Terrence Thompson, with the short film, “Drive Slow.” Terrence is a writer, filmmaker and educator raised on the South Side. A staunch advocate for civil and human rights, Terrence hopes to create work that embodies intersectional ideology through the decolonization of Blackness.
A representative from Jack Daniel’s also discussed how Real to Reel is helping to equip the next generation of filmmakers and elevate thinking around diversity in storytelling. Look out for their work in the future.
Yoba is a veteran actor of “New York Undercover,” “Seven Seconds,” “The Last OG,” “Why Did I Get Married” and “Empire” fame. He currently is cast to appear in “First Wives Club” on Paramount TV, which is based on the 1996 “The First Wives Club.” There has also been talk of a reboot of “New York Undercover.”
Remember: Drink responsibly. Legal drinking age only. Don’t share with anyone underage. For info, visit www.gentlemanjackfilm.com.