December 10, 2019
Noted Miami Filmmakers Faren Humes and Edson Jean awarded $50,000 each as part of Oolite Arts’ Cinematic Arts Residency
The unique residency enables filmmakers to develop and screen micro-budget feature films – all in Miami.
MIAMI BEACH (Dec. 10, 2019) — Two award-winning Miami indie filmmakers will be Oolite Arts’ newest Cinematic Arts Residents, receiving $50,000 each to fast forward their filmmaking career and create and screen a microbudget feature film.
Faren Humes will use the residency to expand her much-celebrated short film “LIBERTY,” focused on Miami’s Liberty Square housing complex, into a feature narrative film. Edson Jean, whose work has appeared on HBO and Complex Networks, will tell a story, inspired by his mother’s first years in Miami, that centers on an underpaid nursing assistant’s efforts to send money home to her family in Haiti while navigating Miami’s problematic, private care-taking world.
“Not only are these filmmakers products of our city, their stories are rooted in our community, and will bring to the screen narratives audiences are hungry for,” said Dennis Scholl, president and CEO of Oolite Arts. “We hope this Cinematic Arts Residency can be the step these filmmakers need to significantly advance their careers.”
In this unique initiative created in the ethos of the farm to table movement, Humes and Jean are receiving the support they need to shoot, produce and screen their projects from start to finish in Miami. Through the program, Oolite Arts hopes to elevate the city’s internationally-renowned short film community, by helping these filmmakers take the important step of making a microbudget feature that can display their talent and prepare them for large-scale projects.
Humes’ “LIBERTY,” the Jury Award winner for Best Short at the Berlinale’s Generation 14, SXSW and Miami Film Festival, focuses on the main character Milagros, as she grapples with the disappearance of her mother’s memorial just as she is forced to leave Liberty Square so that her long-time neighborhood can be razed to create a new housing complex.
Humes, who was raised and lives in Miami Gardens, got to know the residents of Liberty Square while she worked as a location manager for the Academy Award-winning film “Moonlight.”
“I’m looking forward to capturing how Liberty Square mirrors many communities across the States. I’m very thankful to do so with the support of a local art organization with ties to the community and a demonstrated commitment to independent voices,” Humes said.
Edson Jean, an actor, writer and director, directed eight, 23-minute episodes of the comedy “Grown” for Complex Networks, which centered on the misadventures of two Haitian-American cousins forced to live together in Miami. He also wrote, directed and starred in “The Adventures of Edson Jean,” which aired on HBO and HBOGO.
“I aim for my work to be of service to stories specific to the Caribbean and Latin experiences in Miami,” Jean said. “Telling these stories, I am able to reach out to those who experience them and let them know that they are not alone.”
A national jury of film experts chose Humes and Jean from the applicants because of their extensive experience making short films, their authorship of projects that center on Miami stories, and because their proposed projects embrace the ethos of microbudget filmmaking: the idea that creative stories can be brought to the screen with a lean and inventive approach to production.
Andrew Hevia, producer of the Oscar-winning film “Moonlight,” and Kareem Tabsch, and filmmaker and co-founder of O Cinema, who both helped conceptualize this initiative, will work with the two residents in this program, which is led by Oolite Arts’ Cinematic Arts Manager Jason Fitzroy Jeffers.
The Oolite Arts juror panel included filmmakers Kenny Riches, Chanelle Aponte Pearson and Monica Peña.
In addition, four filmmakers received Special Jury Mentions, and will receive $1,000 toward their film projects. They are Carla Forte, Hansel Porras Garcia, Mark Pulaski and Danny Rosenberg.
The residency is just one aspect of Oolite Arts’ Cinematic Arts program, which seeks to strengthen and elevate Miami’s growing indie film community by becoming the city’s hub for filmmakers, producers and editors to connect, learn and exchange ideas. In addition to the residency, the Cinematic Arts program offers master classes, workshops, film screenings and additional opportunities to help the filmmaking community advance and perfect their craft.
Oolite Arts’ first two Cinematic Arts Residents, Xavier Medina and Monica Sorelle, are now starting the second year of the two-year residency.
To find out more about the Cinematic Arts Program and the two new resident filmmakers, visit oolitearts.org/cinematicarts.
ABOUT OOLITE ARTS
Established in 1984, Oolite Arts advances the knowledge and practice of contemporary visual arts and culture. Oolite Arts creates opportunities for experimentation and encourages the critical exchange of ideas through residencies, exhibitions, public programs, education and outreach. Exhibitions and programs at Oolite Arts are made possible with the support of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council; the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners; the Miami Beach Mayor and City Commissioners; the State of Florida, Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs; the Florida Arts Council; the National Endowment for the Arts; and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. For more information, visit oolitearts.org.
About Faren Humes
Faren Humes’ work has screened at Miami Film Festival, Blackstar Film Festival, New Orleans Film Festival, Pan African Film Festival, Chicago International Film Festival and the Mobile Museum of Art, with recognition from the Directors Guild of America and the Television Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her latest work, “LIBERTY,” is the Jury Award winner for Best Short at the Berlinale’s Generation 14, SXSW and Miami Film Festival. She is the recipient of the Sundance-Knight Fellowship (2016), Film Independent Project Involve Directing Fellowship (2018), Chaz & Robert Ebert Fellowship (2018) and the Borscht Fellowship (2018). She was named one of Miami’s Top 100 Creatives by Miami New Times.
About Edson Jean
Edson Jean is an emerging Haitian-American actor, writer and director. He most recently was nominated for a Streamy and Mipcom award for directing all eight, 23-minute episodes of the comedy “Grown” for Complex Networks. Prior to that, he wrote, directed and starred in “The Adventures of Edson Jean” (2013), which aired on HBO/HBOGO. He currently is touring his first documentary short on the festival circuit and has won top awards in Puerto Rico’s two largest festivals. On the screen, he was most recently seen in “Moonlight,” “War Dogs,” HBO’s “Ballers” and Netflix’s “Bloodline.”
Marika Lynch, [email protected], 305-898-3595
Images available upon request