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Culture Spotlight Featuring Corey Koepper

Based in Brooklyn, Corey is an independent filmmaker who believes in the power of personal, expressive storytelling to better understand our world and to empathize with those across all walks of life. A graduate of Virginia Tech, his work has a surrealist edge and tends to challenge genre expectations. He is also a promos producer at ABC.

Tell us about your experience at the Hip Hop Film Festival. 2020's Hip Hop Film Festival was an incredible experience because it allowed technology to bring us together, even during a pandemic. My short film, On The Floor, a drama about a queer Soundcloud rapper going through a crisis at his surreal treehouse getaway, screened online during the festival, where I was able to see so many inspiring projects. Furthermore, the Watch Party that the Harlem Film House helped us organize after the festival dates allowed us to have another online screening, this time with an interactive Q&A.

Why are stories from the culture important? Stories from the culture are important because they generate understanding of lives that deserve to be represented on screen, providing a platform for diverse voices at a time when building empathy in our world is one of the most important things we can do.

What projects are you working on now? I am working on a set of feature-length horror screenplays that all delve into social issues, one way or another. The first is set in Appalachia and focuses on the long-term impact of addiction on a community, another is set in a suburb and explores how a terrible act of violence throws a family's life into disarray, and potentially, the public spotlight.

Why do you think the Harlem Film House and Hip Hop Film Festival are important? The Harlem Film House and the HHFF is important because it gives filmmakers of color, LGBTQ filmmakers, and others of various backgrounds around the world the opportunity to showcase their work and engage with a community of diverse artists. This festival's passion for lifting up the voices of black artists and young filmmakers has been outstanding to watch. Thank you to the organizers for providing such a great experience, especially during such a tumultuous year as 2020.

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