From architecture based on the 1924 movie, The Thief of Baghdad, to serving as a backdrop to films, Opa-locka has had a storied history in the film industry. Now, the Opa-locka Community Development Corporation (OLCDC) is bringing film back to Opa-locka by working with emerging filmmakers to cultivate their talent.
With support from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Florida Department of Humanities, the OLCDC’s Thrive Media Residency Program is providing opportunities for local filmmakers to have much-needed space to work, engage with the community, and receive support to build a sustainable creative business.
The project will place three talented local filmmakers in the early stages of their career in a working residency within the THRIVE Innovation District in downtown Opa-locka. The artists can choose between private studio/office space or an open coworking space to work on individual projects, regardless of their stage of production. In addition to space, artists will receive one-on-one business development coaching through OLCDC’s small business team department.
The OLCDC will also offer group business development workshops with other artists who are building their own arts-based businesses.
“As we strengthen our media arts initiative in northwest Miami-Dade, we are passionate about providing emerging black and brown artists with a platform to grow their expertise and expand their audience,” said Nikisha Williams, Chief Operating Officer, Opa-locka Community Development Corporation. “In the past, we’ve heavily focused on visual arts, so we’re excited to branch out into other arts disciplines. And, this residency program is just a first step in building a film community in our region.”
The inaugural class of the residency program includes –
· Dudley Alexis-- an independent filmmaker and visual artist whose passion is bringing to the world little known facts about his native home of Haiti; while also dispelling misconceptions by shedding light on the richness of Haitian culture, and the African Diaspora experience at large. He continues to use his art as a tool for social awareness and change.
· Terency Price-- An artist who emerges from a tradition of mid-twentieth-century street photography, capturing the world around him in evocative portraits and cinematic snapshots. Using his camera to document the people closest to him, strangers he encounters in his daily life, and the sites he inhabits within Miami.
· Keisha Rae Witherspoon—An independent film-maker and creative director of Third Horizon, Keisha Witherspoon is driven by interests in science, speculative fiction, and fantasy, as well as documenting the unseen and unheralded nuances of Diasporic peoples. Her work has landed Third Horizon at Sundance Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, Sheffield Documentary Festival and many more around the world.
Each filmmaker will host free community workshops to present their work or relevant film projects. Stay tuned to our website and social media channels to learn more about upcoming events.