Kimberly Stephens speaks about her journey as an independent filmmaker, challenges along the way, and the stories that she’s excited to tell.
Host: Tomeka M. Winborne
Description: Kimberly Stephens speaks about her journey as an independent filmmaker, challenges along the way, and the stories that she’s excited to tell.
Runtime: 33:24 minutes
ABOUT KIMBERLY STEPHENS
Director / Screenwriter / Producer / Editor/ Actress
Born in Indianapolis, Indiana Ms. Stephens has made great strides in her filmmaking career producing such entertaining short films as In My Shoes, Slipped, and romantic comedies such as Lavender Lane, Seesaw With You and the No/ No Again short flicks series. She also produced the powerful dramas Anyway and Two Days Til Sunday,which explores a young girl’s journey with spirituality after the Charleston church shooting in South Carolina. These are but a handful of the gems produced and directed by this free-spirited producer, writer and director.
Her documentary, MozeL, a celebration of the human spirit and the legacy of giving, was an official selection in the 2010 Heartland Film Festival. Ms. Stephens’s documentary Hunger Avenue, received honors at the 2007 Imax Theater Big Shorts Film Festival and directorial acknowledgement for the short film, 2nd Window 2 The Left in the same Imax Film Festival in 2008.
Ms. Stephens will have her national acting and directing TV debut in the, True First documentary series where she will be portraying the legendary “Stage Coach Mary” Fields, the first African American woman to work for the United States Postal Service. This up andcoming artist will also be showcasing her directing skills and storytelling finesse in the True First episode highlighting the life of phenomenal woman and trailblazer politician ShirleyChisholm, the first black woman elected to the United States Congress and the first woman and black candidatefor a major party’s nomination for President of the United States.
Ms. Stephens is currently developing several projects through her company Knap P Head Productions including the rhyming urban stories series, In the Black, which is an audio collection of radio dramas that will become future short films. Currently in production are the documentary films, The Purse, What’s In The Bag and Who Is Frank Wills? A Closer LookInto Watergate. This aspiring filmmaker recently completed filming the short dramatic series, Savannah Fire, the poetic drama, Where the Green Grass Grows and the politically charged short, The Diner. Ms. Stephens recently founded Kim Spot Studios where future film projects will be produced.
Ms. Stephens decided to share her love of the arts with young people in her community by becoming an educator and through the years has been a Mentor for the Boys & Girls Club of America and the YMCA. She is also a photographer and graphic designer who resides in Indianapolis Indiana.
Ms. Stephens, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.,attended North Central High School and Ivy Tech Community College in Indianapolis. She is a graduate of Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. She has traveled a similar road as the accomplished Indiana native, “Baby Face” Edmonds who also graduated from the same high school and university.
In conversation, NPR’s Ailsa Chang sat down with Angie Thomas, the acclaimed author of The Hate U Give, and the movie’s director George Tillman Jr., to discuss how the book and film connected with their own personal experiences.
The Hate U Give tells the story of a teenage girl, Starr Carter (Amandla Stenberg), who is a part of two worlds: the poor, predominantly black neighborhood where she resides, and the white, affluent prep school that she attends. Her worlds are turned upside down when she witnesses the fatal police shooting of her childhood friend, an unarmed black male teenager. Following the tragic shooting, Starr is drawn towards a life of activism to stand up for her friend, who is called a “thug” and other misinformed names by the media, and to protest the wrongful actions of police brutality.
George Tillman Jr., the director of the film, spoke with Chang about what it was like to base certain scenes from the movie on actual talks he received growing up. He discussed how emotional it was to bring these scenes to life, particularly because he now has a teenage son himself. “This deals with history,” he said. “This deals with survival and how we can continue to stay on this earth without police brutality or being shot or being killed. You know, this is part of the fear of the African-American community.”
Another significant theme in the book is how Starr navigates between her two worlds, and how she feels an internal pressure to erase her blackness while at her fancy prep school with her white classmates. Certainly, many of us can relate to this uneasy pressure growing up or currently in the workplace, and this double life is actually based on author Angie Thomas’s life experiences.
Growing up, Thomas also lived in a mostly black neighborhood while attending a predominantly white, private college in Mississippi. She described her own experiences as a struggle, and practiced the art of code switching. “I would make myself more presentable I thought. I was careful of how I spoke. I was careful of how much emotion I showed,” Thomas said. “And it was a struggle because so often I was silent on things that mattered to me. And I would experience microaggressions from my classmates, and I was silent about them. I never called out the racism.”. READ MORE........