Alumni Highlights: Law of Sin and Hood Bruthas

CCBFF is wholly dedicated to celebrating the talent, vision, and hard work of independent filmmakers of color across the globe. While an annual event centering around this goal brings us great joy, we also know that it is important to call attention to these creative minds long after the festival is over.

Today we are proud to present our next filmmakers in our Alumni Highlights series: Daniell Nelson – writer and director of Law of Sin – and Jerrell Lee Wesley – writer, director, actor and producer of Hood Bruthas, 1st Place winner for Best Short film.

Name: Daniell Nelson
Film Screened at CCBFF: Law of Sin
Year Screened: 2014
Role in Film: Writer, Director


How did being a part of CCBFF impact you and your film?
I made a lot of contacts, and will be attending the Cannes Film Festival in May 2015 because of it.

What has/is happening with your film since (or before) being a part of CCBFF?
My film is currently available on Amazon Video On Demand.

Tell us a little about your latest project. Title, summary, etc.
My current project is a feature length film, it's currently untitled. What is it about? I don't want to give the plot away, just yet. We already have a distributor in place.

What was your inspiration for this project in particular?
What inspired me were stories from the Bible, even though my films take place in current times.

What would you say is your greatest resource during the early phases of your creative process?
Unsuspecting people just doing them, and being themselves, watching them is what typically gives me an idea for a new project.

The film festival is a longstanding tradition in the industry – for better or worse. Based on your experience, what is the greatest strength and weakness of the current film festival model?
A great strength it's being able to get new ideas out there very quickly, being able to network. Weaknesses some of the festivals are limited to: what types of films they will accept and the number of films they will accept per year, but hey It is what it is...

In this Internet Age, the filmmaker has many options for bringing an idea to market – Youtube, Vimeo, Kickstarter...In your opinion, what's missing in the current landscape for an independent filmmaker to reach their own sense of success?
I personally feel like all the tools for success are there. I just feel like we have to learned how to use them properly.

Favorite director/producer/actor?
I don't actually have a favorite.

Please provide your social media links:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DaniellNelsonsLawofSin


Name: Jerrell Lee Wesley
Film Screened at CCBFF: HOOD BRUTHAS
Year Screened: 2014
Role in Film: Writer, Director, Actor, Producer

How did being a part of CCBFF impact you and your film?
WE WERE GRATEFUL TO BE A PART OF THIS FESTIVAL. IT'S HARD TO GET ACCEPTED INTO ANY FESTIVAL, SO WHEN YOUR WORK IS RECOGNIZED, IT'S TRULY HUMBLING. ALSO, WE WERE HONORED TO BE AWARDED WITH 1ST PLACE IN THE SHORT FILM CATEGORY. IT WAS A GREAT SURPRISE!!!

What has/is happening with your film since (or before) being a part of CCBFF?
HOOD BRUTHAS IS FINISHING UP THE FESTIVAL CIRCUIT. I HAVE WRITTEN A FULL-FEATURE OF THE FILM AND AM IN THE FINAL STAGES OF MY MOST RECENT RE-WRITE. HOPEFULLY, WE CAN FIND FINANCING TO GREENLIGHT THIS PROJECT.

Tell us a little about your latest project. Title, summary, etc.
THE FEATURE IS TITLED "HOOD". IT IS BASICALLY AN EXTENSION, AS WELL AS BACK STORY, OF THE MAIN CHARACTER. YOU GET TO SEE WHY TRE IS WHO HE IS AND WHERE HE COMES FROM.

What was your inspiration for this project in particular?
HAHAHA! FUNNY THING IS--MY IDEA WAS ORIGINALLY GOING TO BE VERY SIMPLE--I WAS GOING TO USE A FLIP CAM AND POST A 3-5 MINUTE SKETCH ON YOUTUBE CALLED "HOOD N****Z". IN THAT IDEA AS WELL AS "HOOD BRUTHAS", I WANTED TO TOUCH ON ISSUES REGARDING PERCEPTION (SELF AND OTHERS), STEREOTYPES, SELF-IDENTITY, ACCEPTANCE, AND VALIDATION. I WANTED TO DISPLAY THE POWER ONE MAY OR MAY NOT FEEL BY THE PERCEPTION OF WEARING A HOODIE, AS WELL AS WHAT OTHERS MAY OR MAY NOT FEEL WHEN SEEING SOMEONE IN A HOODIE. SOON AFTER I HAD MY IDEA, TRAYVON MARTIN WAS KILLED!!!!

What would you say is your greatest resource during the early phases of your creative process?
HONESTLY, MY OWN PERSONAL EXPERIENCES. THEN I BEGAN TO READ A FEW BOOKS ON SELF-IDENTITY. LAST, I JUST ASKED MANY PEOPLE WHAT THEY THOUGHT ABOUT THE
DIFFERENT ISSUES I TRIED TO TOUCH ON IN THE FILM.

The film festival is a longstanding tradition in the industry – for better or worse. Based on your experience, what is the greatest strength and weakness of the current film festival model?
STRENGTHS ARE THAT THE FESTIVALS ALLOW MANY UNKNOWNS TO SHOWCASE THEIR WORK, WHICH IS A BEAUTIFUL THING. WEAKNESSES: IT CAN BECOME PRETTY EXPENSIVE...DEPENDING ON THE NUMBER OF FESTIVALS YOU ENTER YOUR FILM INTO. BUT IT’S UNDERSTOOD THAT IT REQUIRES FUNDING TO MAKE THESE THINGS POSSIBLE.

In this Internet Age, the filmmaker has many options for bringing an idea to market – Youtube, Vimeo, Kickstarter...In your opinion, what's missing in the current landscape for an independent filmmaker to reach their own sense of success?
IN THIS DAY AND AGE, THOUGH THERE MAY BE MANY OBSTACLES, I DON'T SEE ANY REASON WHY A FILMMAKER CANNOT REACH A CERTAIN SENSE OF SUCCESS. I BELIEVE IF YOU HAVE A GREAT IDEA, A GREAT TEAM AND GREAT WORK ETHIC, YOU WILL SUCCEED TO SOME DEGREE.

Favorite director/producer/actor?
(NO PARTICULAR ORDER) JOHN SINGLETON, SPIKE LEE, up and coming RYAN COOGLER, STEVEN SPIELBERG

ACTOR: DENZEL WASHINGTON

Please provide your social media links:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/HoodBruthas
Twitter: @HoodBruthas