Freestyle Dreams features Frankie Perez, a social worker and hip hop artist, who uses both his art and his career to connect with the community he serves. The filmmakers behind the film, Jenna Cavelle, Johnson Thomasson and Derek Sepe, took home our film challenge Honorary Award for Community Building Through Film. We asked the team to share a few thoughts on their collaboration.
On the Creative Process
Jenna: If I can find a personal connection to the story then I know I'll find the emotional through-line that others can connect with. Storytelling is about connecting with others, about touching people's lives. To do this, I start within myself.
Johnson: I look for what excites me, little ingredients, a news article, fashion trend, some small aspect of human behavior, and I try to combine them in a creative stew. Along the way, a theme presents itself to me, something that answers the question “what are you trying to say?” My passion for the material is the fuel and the theme provides direction, and I go for a ride.
On Frankie, the featured talent and inspiration behind their story
Johnson: The dichotomy between Frankie’s art and his social work was a great focus. There was a great tension there, like two magnetic poles. Once we found that, we pushed those poles together and watched lightning strike.
Derek: We wanted to show that there doesn't need to be a separation between the things that we love. Freestyle Dreams shows that two very unlikely career paths can come together to blend into a Bloom Moment–where you combine all your passions to make changes in the lives of others.
On the transformational power of film
Derek: The power that the visual image has on a viewer is incredible and I want to use my gifts as a filmmaker to change the lives of viewers for the better.
Jenna: For me, filmmaking is about being honest, about telling the truth. Especially the part of truth that makes us so uncomfortable that by touching it, we transform and change as human beings. We become better people. If my work can inspire people to change, to be more tolerant, to become better versions of themselves than they were before watching my film, and to act on that change, then I've done my job.
Oftentimes our two most unlikely qualities come together to make us who we are. What is something seemingly at odds in your own life that work together to make a positive combination? Tweet your response @SOW.
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