Professional stunt performers Jonathan Yurco (facing camera); Jason Cekanski (back to camera); and E. Ray Goodwin Jr. (standing sideways, to the right of Cekanski), prepare to shoot part of a scene on Feb. 26 for the video “Put the Bunny Back in the Box.” The video, produced by Richard Fike, won first place in the recent Shot 4 Shot Challenge, a national contest sponsored by Stunts Unlimited. The video was directed by Fike, of Madison Village, a professional stunt coordinator and performer who’s also a Stunts Unlimited directory member. Yurco, Cekanski and Goodwin all are northern Ohio residents and members of Stunt Predators USA & SFX, an organization owned and operated by Fike. (Photo courtesy of Richard Fike)
SOURCE: The News-Herald | Bill Debus
March 9, 2022
A Madison Village resident and business owner spearheaded an award-winning performance in a national video competition for elite professional stunt coordinators and performers.
Richard Fike captured first place in the recent Shot 4 Shot Challenge conducted by Stunts Unlimited. Based in Los Angeles, Stunts Unlimited is the oldest and largest professional stunt organization in the United States.
Black History Month is referred to by many as “Black Futures Month,” which the Movement for Black Lives defines as “time to both consider and celebrate our Black radical history and to dream and imagine a world in which we are free and self-determined.” More succinctly, Asheville-based Urban News named it, “about making space for Black people to envision and build the world of our dreams.”
Making space for Black brilliance to emerge is both a personal and collective task. This often gives Black professionals on the rise an unfair “double duty”— they have to push past systemic racism in their various fields in order to succeed, while also choosing whether or not to take additional time and space to mentor others and ensure they can also access their dreams.
And yet—research has shown that Black professionals often spend more of their personal capital mentoring young people and building inclusive spaces, which can take away from their own career objectives. A 2017 study of Black professors, for instance, found “marginalized professors spent twice as much time mentoring, recruiting and ‘serving on various task forces,’” as white male counterparts. Experts in higher education note that additional energy could be spent on “the more career-accelerating work of publishing,” but that these professors are actively choosing to expend their energy building a more inclusive future.
This mentorship is not just Black professionals helping Black youth, but for people across racial identities. This has certainly been my personal experience as a white woman over decades: it was often Black people who reached out proactively offering mentorship and support.
For instance: Majora Carter, fresh off receiving her MacArthur Genius Award, approached me when I was 23 after I gave a talk to say “How can I help?” For years, running a low-budget non-profit, she hosted me in her home whenever I visited New York. She and her husband James made a transformative difference in my early career by sharing not only their couch, but also core lessons in organizational management and movement building.
In the context of my work as an impact investor with a focus on diverse entrepreneurs who are creating systems-level impact, I now often see an argument being made that funding diverse entrepreneurs is a social-change activity in part because these entrepreneurs will make great choices about ultimately giving back to the community with the wealth they build. In some cases this may be mandated structurally into a deal (like a certain percentage of proceeds going back to communities), or it may be an organic practice (like Diishan Imira, founder of Mayvenn, providing equity to employees at all levels simply because he felt it was the right thing to do).
So far, anecdotal data is playing out–there are so many fantastic examples of mid-career Black professionals who proactively take time and money to help the next generation even if it takes away these resources from their primary activity. Below are profiles of four inspiring individuals who show it’s possible to climb, while also extending that hand back to pull up others closer to their dreams.
What She Does
Over the past decade, Charlese Antoinette has established herself as one of the most talented and busy costume designers in the business, with a unique talent of creating characters that are imaginative yet grounded in reality. She’s most recently known for her amazing period looks in Judas and the Black Messiah featuring Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield, for which she received a 2021 Costume Designers Guild Award nomination. The film also received two Academy Awards. Her work has also been seen on TV shows including MACRO/ Netflix Original Raising Dion (Michael B. Jordan), which was number one internationally, as well as Kenya Barris’s Netflix Original sketch comedy show, Astronomy Club.
How She’s Opening Doors for Others
Charlese is unique in how she’s worked to create more opportunities for both her peers, and for future generations. In 2019, Charlese launched the Black Designer Databasewith a mission to support Black designers through the amplification of their work and connect them to new consumers and media opportunities. And then in 2020, she launched DESIGN YOU in partnership with the Boys and Girls Club of Cleveland, Ohio.
Charlese explained, “I started the program while we were shooting Judas and the Black Messiah in Cleveland. We were shooting in an under-resourced neighborhood that was predominantly Black. And I could not see myself doing a film about the Black Panthers and not interfacing with the community that we were shooting in every day. I went to visit the boys and girls club of northeast Ohio with the cast including Daniel Kaluuya and LaKeith Stanfield. After visiting I got inspired and asked the center Director Joseph Greathouse II if I could donate sewing machines and start a sewing lab and program.” She subsequently donated 11 sewing machines in 2019. She added, “Currently we are doing the program on 1st and 3rd Fridays. And on the 3rd Friday of the month I have industry friends come & speak. So the kids get to meet other Black professionals in fashion and costumes, get a mini lesson & ask them questions.” They are still hoping to add more machines to their programs, and seeking a number of related supplies. Additionally, 100% of the proceeds from Charlese’s curated collection on resale platform Dora Maar are available here.
CLEVELAND, Ohio — It was a story that shocked and angered so many, including Jackie Russell.
“You’re used to hearing this about somebody else but not your own family,” said Russell.
Russell’s brother-in-law is Timothy Russell. Russell and Malissa Williams were involved in the September 2012 high-profile police chase that ended with officers firing 137 shots at the vehicle and leaving both dead.
What started as Rocky River native Michael Milano’s journalism graduate school project nearly a decade later is turning pain into education.
“There’s been multiple versions of the film, hundreds of different cuts and because it was such a sensitive subject manner, I really wanted to make sure we got everything right and that’s why it took many years,” said Milano.
Milano’s documentary 137 shots profile the story of the 2012 incident, and Jackie Russell who lived it is an actress in the film.
SOURCE: WEWS News 5 Cleveland | Meg Shaw
February 22, 2022
CLEVELAND — Cleveland and Northeast Ohio have some deep roots in the film industry. According to the annual rankings from the magazine Moviemaker, Cleveland remains one of the best cities in the country to live and work in for those in the industry.
Now a film intensive class is returning to Cuyahoga Community College after a pandemic hiatus to help budding filmmakers get experience.
Led by an actor from the HBO Series “Band of Brothers” and the movie “Hook,” James Madio is helping aspiring industry professionals know the ins and outs of the film industry.
SOURCE: Cleveland.com | John Benson
February 22, 2022
CLEVELAND, Ohio — Alexis Floyd was a talented, arts-loving multi-hyphenate growing up in Northeast Ohio,
It wasn’t uncommon for Floyd to spend her hours after school rehearsing violin for Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra appearances at Severance Hall while eating dinner in the back of the family van before going to Cleveland School of Ballet lessons.
The daughter of a music educator and attorney, the precocious youth was also a competitive figure skater at the Cleveland Skating Club before venturing into musical theater with performances at Cleveland Play House, Dobama Theatre and Cleveland Public Theatre and more.
The students of GCUFFlinks are (left to right): Joshua Kahn, Ina Keys, Zamani Munashe, Cherish Hayes, Hayley Smith, Haley Johnson, Maya Peroune, Anthony Akins, Ximena Gomez and Nia Jones. Photo by Bridget Caswell.
SOURCE: The Land | Nate Paige
February 7, 2022
GCUFFlinks, an educational program launched in 2015 that prepares aspiring young filmmakers and actors from Greater Cleveland for the world stage, is already proving successful for its students with awards, gigs on feature-length films and more.
Under the tutelage of filmmaker–author Konnie Peroune, GCUFFlinks assists youths aged 13-17 to develop a love for storytelling, filmmaking, and other key components of the craft, such as screenwriting, sound and light direction, camera work, and composing. Peroune holds an MFA in film from Columbia University of NYC, and taught Screenwriting at Cleveland State University.
The program is an offshoot of the Greater Cleveland Urban Film Festival (GCUFF) which is now preparing for its 11th year. The mission of the festival is to enrich Black culture through cinema and connect communities by reflecting, sharing, and celebrating the African Diaspora, all while showcasing and educating young filmmakers.
Former Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis stars in “The Hunting,” a locally-produced horror film.
SOURCE: Crain’s Cleveland Business | Joe Scalzo
January 31, 2022
When Mark Andrew Hamer started casting for his new horror film, “The Hunting,” he knew he wanted his cast and crew to have as many Northeast Ohio connections as possible.
He also knew filling one role, in particular, would be a challenge — Matt, a conservative small-town detective who teams up with a wildlife specialist (played by Solon High graduate Joelle Westwood) to investigate a series of mysterious animal attacks.
“It’s a bigger character,” said Hamer, a Youngstown native and former Forty Under 40 honoree from Crain’s Cleveland Business. “It’s a character that has to be more polarizing, and it’s a character that has to be physically dominant.
“So when you start thinking in terms of that, the first thing you think of is ‘athletes.’ And not just athletes, but football players. Then you start looking at, ‘Who is important to Cleveland?’ “
The Browns had already produced one running back who went into acting in Jim Brown.
SOURCE: Crain’s Cleveland Business | Scott Suttell
January 26, 2022
Cleveland is a good place for film professionals to live and work — and it’s getting better, according to the latest ranking from Moviemaker magazine.
The company each year ranks the best big and small cities for people to live if they’re trying to make a living in the movie business. It sets aside the two most obvious places — Los Angeles and New York — and then ranks cities on factors including tax incentives, infrastructure development, access to film-school talent, diversity of settings, and more.
SOURCE: Moviemaker.com | Greg Gilman
January 25, 2022
Before we begin our latest list of the Best Places to Live and Work as a Moviemaker: Some obvious background.
The COVID pandemic continues to rage on two years after the virus landed on American shores, and one of the few silver linings has been a revolution in telecommuting — giving us all more freedom than ever before to live and work where we want, how we want.
The movie industry is no exception. Post-production coordinators are managing workflow between editors and animators from the comfort of their own homes, and the writers’ room may also be a bedroom. Production, however, can’t always be facilitated through Zoom calls. So for on-set crew, producers, and directors, it remains essential to be close to someone yelling “Action!”
Fortunately, there is no shortage of production hubs springing up in cities, big and small, around North America. And a few — like Albuquerque and Atlanta — are even shaping up to rival MovieMaker Best Places to Live and Work as a Moviemaker Hall of Famers Los Angeles and New York. Dozens of other municipalities are nipping at their heels with very attractive tax incentives and infrastructure development, luring more projects to previously overlooked areas.
Let’s dive into the evolving filmmaking landscape across the continent, starting with America’s iconic entertainment capitals. These are the Best Places to Live and Work as a Moviemaker in 2022.