Alumni Highlights: Go! The Revamp

As we approach CCBFF 2015 (get your tickets now!) it’s important to remember those who came before and have made our festival such a huge success. We’re 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 and appreciate their work.

Today in our Alumni Highlights segment, we have Jared Aja, director of Go! The Revamp which won best music video at CCBFF 2014.


How did being a part of CCBFF impact you and your film?

It was amazing to be chosen by our peers for best music video in 2014. With the co-sign from CCBFF came credibility for our brand A-Town Productions which specializes in offering production services.

Tell us a little about your latest project. Title, summary, etc. What was your inspiration for this project in particular?

The music video is called Go! The Revamp. Jeff Johnson, who is also the lead performer in the song, came up with the concept for this film project. In a post apocalyptic setting, we find a couple being torn apart by the unjust scorn of criminals. We see a man’s wife get kidnapped by a group of thugs, then her husband shows up to confront the ones responsible. A great battle erupts and blood is shed. Da’shade leading the charge is in hot pursuit of finding his wife, and while the battle continues he slips behind the enemy lines and continues his search for her.

What would you say is your greatest resource during the early phases of your creative process?

The internet was the greatest resource I utilized during the pre-production phase. I watched a lot of fighting scenes on YouTube to establish the differences between popular ways of capturing fight sequences. Then, based on the equipment and location we were going to use, I started mapping out my master progression of movement in my head and on paper.

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?

The greatest strength the film festival model has today is granting a platform to artists by showcasing their work to their peers for critique and acknowledgement of growth and development as a filmmaker. The weakest part about the festival model used today would be that the festivals are left up to those who know about them and decide to participate, which leaves a hole in the system for really showcasing the best work being created.

I would like to see festival scouts that go looking for independent artist that may not know how to jump into the festivals and participate. The focus should not just be on showcasing work. It should be showcasing the best work being done at the time. There should always be a chance to push the envelope in storytelling and how to capture these stories visually so that the audience can get a more interactive experience with your film.

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?

That’s easy – the one thing missing for a lot of us filmmakers is respecting the creative value that we bring to the table as an individual. The trick is making others respect your craft and set the table so that monetary value can be traded for your skills and services. It takes a lot of intense focus to bring our skills to the place where what we create can compete with the majors. A lot of us aspiring filmmakers cannot find a way to provide for ourselves and our families by working within the film industry. Many of us are subject to the failing pattern that comes with leaving stability within the workplace to pursue a career in film, only to be let down by the lack of opportunities and job availability within this industry.

The best piece of advice I can give is to study the different ways you, as a freelancer, can raise enough money to provide a comfortable lifestyle while pursuing your passion and working on your craft. If you can conceive it within your mind, and believe that it will happen with all your heart, you will achieve it!  Decide what you want to do and do it…

Favorite director/producer/actor?

Quentin Tarantino

How can people connect with you? Social media, website, etc.

Stay tuned for more stories from our filmmakers! Be sure to join us for opening night August 13th where you can meet some of these creatives and learn about their creative process firsthand!