Working with local non-profits in their cities, the 2013 fellows will lift up lesser-known truths about “game changers” in their community. In addition to being emerging filmmakers, they are “activist storytellers.” They feel very passionate about social issues and are keenly aware of media’s potential to change hearts and minds about what life really looks like for Black men in our society — from fatherhood, justice, employment, and education, to identity, relationships, health, and more.
Although I love filmmaking it wasn’t my first passion.
Although I love filmmaking it wasn’t my first passion. After playing four years of college basketball at Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania, I was fortunate enough to play basketball overseas for four years and one year in Belize, Central America.
When I think of a Game Changer, it’s someone who advocates for positive change in the minority communities through the process of implementing something new, different, and exciting. I would like to tell the stories that rival the current status quo. To show the story of those in Pittsburgh, who hold success as the standard and seek change with determination and passion, would be an honor. More people should know and see these Game Changers for the true heroes that they are.
Brian Cook is a multi-national award-winning journalist for the American Urban Radio Networks. He currently serves as the Web Content Coordinator for AURN.com.
In addition to producing AURN programs, his responsibilities include reporting on breaking news, sports and entertainment stories of national interest in addition to shooting editing and producing video for the web. The twelve-year media veteran has interviewed a “Who’s Who” list of newsmakers including President Barack Obama, the late Senator Ted Kennedy, legendary Motown singers Smokey Robinson and Otis Williams, hip hop artist Common, and many others.
Cook has also reported from a number of national conventions and major events including: The Democratic National Convention, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Groundbreaking Ceremony and Super Bowls XL through XLVII. He is a television sports analyst and reporter for “Championship Chase” on PCNC/WPXI and covers the Pittsburgh Steelers. He covers the entire NFL for radio. A graduate of Clarion University of Pennsylvania and a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, Brian grew up watching long time CBS 60 Minutes anchor Ed Bradley, who became the catalyst for his broadcast career. One of his goals is to use his position as a member of the national media, to help eliminate the negative portrayals of African American males.
Divad Durant is a multi-media artist, community organizer, and educator.
In 2012 he participated in an action called “Three Strikes You’re In”, in partnership with the Yes Men, to bring attention to the alarming numbers of people of color being stopped and frisked by the NYPD in NYC. He is also working on a feature length experimental documentary called “A Bronx Tale” which uses home video, found footage, performative ethnography, and filmic depictions of his home borough to cultivate the multiple imaginations of the Bronx. He is currently a digital media fellow at National Programming Consortium developing “Tweets to a Black Conscious Youth” a multi-platform media project intended to create a supportive community of Black Conscious Youth. When no one is looking, he sings songs, writes rhymes and reads comic books.
Divad’s blog: A Bronx tale
Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi is a film director who graced the screen making his mark in international documentaries.
A graduate of UC Berkeley, he received his MA degree from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Prior to graduation, the Pan-African Film Festival honored Eli with the Student Filmmaker Award for his first solo feature length film, Investos: Hip Hop Cubano. Eli continues to utilized music as a tool to provide insight into culture and socio/political community struggles. In 2010, he released his second film, Home Grown: Hip Life in Ghana. His current production Revolucion Sin Muertos “Revolution Without Death” captures a youth movement in Comuna 13 in Medellin, Colombia, where Hip Hop is utilized to empower a Peace Movement. His dedication to his craft is deeply connected to his commitment to social justice and the belief in the transformative power of film.
Gregory Allen is a movie producer who specializes in training students of all ages in every aspect of the cinema process: screenwriting, cinematography, directing, editing, and exhibition.
Dr. Allen’s School of the Cinematic Arts and the work of his students can be viewed on YouTube at “Hermes18421”. Dr. Allen co-founded The Sprocket Guild at the University of Pittsburgh and Point Park University with Cathy Herber and Daisy Loney. The Sprocket Guild is now a production studio that facilitates creative, critical, and production work in the area of film and video for independent filmmakers from around the nation.
Gregory Scott Williams, Jr. has written and directed several short films, including Sonny’s Blues, the documentary Dance Chile, which was nominated for a DGA African American Student Award for Directing.
Sonny’s Blues, an adaptation of the short story written by James Baldwin, which aired on ABC and CBS; and, most recently, Tar Baby Jane, which screened as a work-in-progress at the 2012 Pittsburgh Reel Q Film Festival and the 2012 Pittsburgh Documentary Salon: Tar Baby Jane has also been awarded grants from The Heinz Endowments, the Pittsburgh Foundation’s Multicultural Arts Initiative and the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council. Greg has also produced a number of independent shorts, notably five deep breaths, which screened at the Sundance Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, New York Film Festival and Los Angeles Film Festival, where it won the Best Narrative Short Award. In addition to filmmaking, Greg is an emerging visual artist and a selection from the exhibition he is currently developing, Secrets: Nudes from the Muslim World, was first shown as a solo show at Mendelson Gallery in Pittsburgh, PA.
Greg attended Morehouse College and majored in English Literature. While at Morehouse, Greg was an UNCF Scholar and studied the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He was also a Merrill Scholar as an undergraduate and studied Creative Writing and English Literature at Hertford College, Oxford University in England. Greg attended New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Film Program. As a graduate student at NYU, Greg received the Lew Wasserman Scholarship. He was also a Tisch School of the Arts Scholar and studied at the FAMU School of Film and Television in Prague, where he received an Excellence in Directing Certificate for his short film Kolos Zloga. Greg also studied screenwritinfilmg in Paris as a Tisch School of the Arts Scholar.
Jemaray “Yara Mej” Pyatt has always had a love and passion for entertainment, social issues and art. Born in the Bronx and raised there and in Harlem, Yara Mej loved TV, theatre and film and got involved with acting and working on television sets at a young age.
He draws inspiration from issues surrounding him and his unique life experiences such as living in various places around the country (Nevada, Minnesota, California). He has been an active member in The Brotherhood/Sistersol, a youth empowerment program, since 1996. This organization is of great importance to him as a young adult and he has worked on projects that focus on improving community issues. Yara Mej continued to learn and develop his skills both as a director and actor while attending Feather River College. Jemaray excelled as a student athlete playing football and earning an Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts.
Throughout the years, Yara Mej has worked with experienced directors soaking up every ounce of information possible, helping him to further improve on his craft. He’s worked as a production assistant, grip, A.C and transcriber for numerous shows and networks, as well as taking on the role of videographer on numerous projects. His work as a director can be seen in independent music videos for Road Scholar, Afro Classics, Fame and recently the promotional clip for Mateo. Yara Mej has also written short films and directed network show pilots. He aspires for his work to leave an impact on the world by producing honest, ground breaking, clean artistic pieces that will be remembered for changing peoples perspectives and a joy to watch. Stay tuned.
Lyric R. Cabral is a photojournalist and emerging documentary filmmaker- she is currently in production on (T)ERROR, her first feature length documentary.
Cabral’s photojournalism, which illumines stories underrepresented in mainstream media, has been recently published through National Geographic UK, The Nation, The Village Voice, The Huffington Post, and Colorlines. Her photography is held in collection at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery, the Studio Museum of Harlem, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among others. She has received artist grants from the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund, Chicken and Egg Pictures, and the Tribeca Film Institute- she was awarded a photojournalism fellowship to study at the International Center of Photography. Cabral currently works as a photojournalist at The Village Voice and as a documentary filmmaking instructor at the Maysles Institute.
Her website is http://www.lyriccabral.com