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Writer/Director Shauntay Cherry Tells Her Story; What's Yours?

Features
by Tambay A. Obenson
August 9, 2013 2:28 PM
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Shauntay Cherry

Recapping... I did this in February of last year (2012), and got a few response, so I figured, a year-and-a-half later, with the site's audience now larger than it was back then, that I'd try it again.

I know that a significant chunk of S&A's audience comprises of actors, actresses, directors, DPs, editors, etc, etc, etc. Some are able to earn a paycheck utilizing their artistic and/or technical skills; others - and I'd say the majority - are what we've labeled the proverbial *starving artists*, working diligently, relentlessly, struggling to climb this incredibly steep hill, trying to reach some pinnacle of success - whether personal or professional. And still others exist somewhere between the former and the latter.

Where do you fall? And, as the title of this post states, what's YOUR story, and would you like to share it with the rest of the world?

Think of it as an extension of the successful S&A Filmmaker Diary series we launched almost 2 years ago. I'm looking for your individual stories of struggle and/or success, regardless of what rung on the ladder you are currently on, after all, not only is S&A just a source for news, its goal is also to become a community of cinema lovers where we can all share/debate/discuss/learn/teach/commiserate/etc.

Here's your chance. You might learn something; you might teach someone something.

What's YOUR story? You can email me (obensont@gmail.com). You can submit your story in any format - written, or even documented on video. I'll post as many of them as I can. Substance and presentation are key for consideration. 

And be sure to attach a photo (large size) for me to include, and if you have samples of your work, include them as well.

It could be a story about a current situation you find yourself in; or it could cover several days, weeks, months, or years of your career. It could be that you just want to vent your frustrations; aspects of, or people in this business that piss you off; aspects of, or people in the industry that encourage you. It doesn't have to be all negative, nor all positive. We're complex people, and so I assume our stories are as well.

In today's post, filmmaker Shauntay Cherry shares her story:

I am Shauntay Cherry, an independent filmmaker from Brooklyn, NY, who is truly striving to make my mark as an African American woman in cinema, currently serving as President of Heart of David Pictures (HODP).

How the Journey Began

My love affair with the arts began early on.  I wrote, directed and produced my first play in the 6th grade for a school assembly.  It was the story of a young inner city kid, who quickly learned the perils of drug dealing, after getting shot in front of his classmates when a deal went bad.  Due to overwhelming reception to the play, writing became a lifestyle and I later went on to study Television, Radio and Film at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Communications.

In 2002, while finishing coursework for a Master’s program at Syracuse University, I embarked upon a research project, studying cinema and sociology.  I found that a large percentage of moviegoers participate in the social activity as an escape from problems and unfavorable circumstances.  As a Christian and writer, I began to explore the idea of producing films that entertain, while providing a level of spiritual counseling to assist with bringing resolution to those problems.  In late 2003, my company, Heart of David Pictures, was born.

About HODP

Heart of David Pictures (HODP) is a film production company that produces spiritually-themed dramas that combine counseling with fine art, taking audiences on an emotional journey of self-discovery. The intent behind our projects is to "reveal the heart of God to the world through films that are raw, real and without the pretense often associated with religion." I began HODP with a clear goal in mind; to "transcend the lines of a niche market and bring the human experience from a spiritual perspective to the mainstream audience".

What We Have Accomplished

Though we have struggled in the area of financing, we have been unrelenting in our pursuit of HODP’s mission.  Under the umbrella of our non-profit company, we were able to use small tax-deductible contributions to finance six short social films that were often used as instructional tools for colleges and churches.  Additionally, our latest project, "Just Another Part of Me" has been the official selection of 7 film festivals nationally.  “Just Another Part of me” is the story of a young woman who fails to realize the impact low self-esteem has on her ability to secure a healthy, loving relationship. Viewable below.

What’s Next?

Our next step is to produce a feature-length film that has a strong story and exceptional production value.  We are currently in pre-production on our latest project, “Silent Cries (of a fatherless son)”.

“SILENT CRIES (of a fatherless son)” is the story of Lex Anthony, an emotionally damaged real estate broker who struggles to love and trust again, while haunted by abandonment issues stemming from his father's abrupt departure at age 5.

How You Can Support Our Vision

Our project is currently fiscally sponsored through the New York Foundation for the Arts.  To make a tax-deductible contribution, please visit www.artspire.org, CLICK “Artist Directory” and search for “Shauntay Cherry” to DONATE.

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