According to Seckeita Lewis, who along with her husband Brandon, owns Lewis Taylor Productions, “A good story leads to transformation of some kind.”
This commitment to use film to make an impact was evident in Jerico, the winner of the 2016 Capital City Black Film Festival’s Best Feature Award. The film, which stars Brandon as the title character, illustrates how “bad things happen to funny people.” Jerico takes on the deep and “ridiculous” nature of racism in the Jim Crow south and uses satire to invite people to a necessary conversation about what happened in those days.
Filmgoers in their 80s and 90s found themselves able to discuss topics that had been locked away for decades due to the comedic take that brought several very painful realities to the screen. Jerico has gone on to win many other festival awards and is now available for purchase online and in stores. Jerico’s initial sales earned the film the “Amazon’s Choice” rating shortly after its 2018 release.
Winston has done so much for filmmakers like us
In addition to winning the “crown jewel” award at CCBFF, the Lewis’ cemented a friendship with Winston Williams, the festival’s Executive Director. “Winston has done so much for filmmakers like us. He provides a platform for us to get our work seen by those who otherwise would not.”
More than simply showcasing filmmakers’ work, the Lewis’ are impressed by his evident passion for the work. “I just remember him being so excited. At each of the screenings, I would hear this really big laugh and knee-slapping coming from the back of the theater. It was Winston,” Brandon recalled.
One thing that set Brandon and Seckeita’s experience at CCBFF apart from other film festivals was their access to industry professionals who were on hand to network and personally share information and advice with new filmmakers.
Based in Dallas, Lewis Taylor Productions has leveraged its success to support other up and coming filmmakers. They recently sponsored the Best Narrative and Best Short Film Awards in the Denton Black Film Festival and Seckeita will be one of the panelists at this year’s CCBFF.
Their next major project, “100”, is a film inspired by Brandon’s recent Type II Diabetes diagnosis. Directed by Seckeita, the film allows audiences to be able to witness Brandon live out the physical and emotional challenges that accompany his effort to lose 100 pounds and reclaim his health. He and Seckeita hope that 100 makes it to the screen, filmgoers will see his struggle as an analogy for the obstacles that prevent people from all walks of life from being successful, and make a change.