Culture Spotlight Featuring Brandon J. Shaw
Brandon J. Shaw is an American film, television, and theatre actor who also dabbles in screenwriting. He was won multiple acting awards and screenwriting awards. Currently he is touring various film festivals with his multiple awarding series, “Ingeniuses”. He has studied at various schools such as the Lee Strasberg Institute, William Esper Studio and the Susan Batson studio. He’s New York bred through and through. He and his team are currently developing many projects and he’s constantly on the hunt for new projects to work on.
Tell us about your experience at the Hip Hop Film Festival? This year was extra special because the “Ingeniuses” project that had been workshopped throughout Act Up finally came to the big screen and received an amazing response that won us the Audience Choice Award. Thank you so much to CR, Kim and the rest of the Harlem Film-house for this amazing accomplishment. And seeing my face on the area where they have the movie poster as promotions for the festival made me smile from ear to ear. Manifestation at its best.
Why are stories from the culture important? We need representation, on all fronts. We see so much of the same narratives in our culture and it’s time for more diversity with regards to our storytelling. That’s why I particularly wanted to focus on comedy. Sometimes we need to laugh at our pain in order to heal and move forward as a culture.
What projects are you working on now? “Ingeniuses” is a big priority. Shout-out to the core team; Debra Shaw, Jamal Hodge, Jones Acquah, Dashana Acquah, Karen Tinley and Steve Franchek. I have to give shout-outs to Jamil Moore, Clifton Dunn Larese King, Dèjá Blaise, Aly Mang, Kim Exum, Seryne, Fancy Mars, Reg Thomas, Shaun Rey, Kareem Hayes and Diamond Harding. These are all amazing comedic talents and I am grateful to be working with them. My team, Debra Shaw, Jamal Hodge, Jones Acquah, Karen Tinley and I are currently in the process of finishing up the written portion of season one. We are hoping to find funding to finish at least the first half of season one by spring/summer of 2023 and package that.Next on the ticket is Kareem Hayes/ Inf The Author’s “Necessary Evil“ Short Film coming to the festival circuits in 2023 which will serve as a proof of concept for a much larger project. This was a labor of love getting to bring Kareem’s story into fruition and being directed by my favorite director and mentor, Jamal Hodge. I star alongside more amazing talent such as Jaleesa Capri, Lamar B. Slaughter, Fancy Mars and Dylan Dili. Jamal and I also are working on another series called “Type Cast,” starring Lenny Thomas, from Tyler Perry’s “Ruthless”, Jessica Carillo and Aly Mang, who’s apart of “Ingeniuses”. This series is going be a nice playful shock to the industry. And last, but not least my first leading role in a feature film, “The Big Phish,” written by Kel Spencer, starring alongside Kel Spencer, Sha Peters, from “Money and Violence,“ Julito McCullum, from “The Wire,” and a plethora of other amazing talent. This should be dropping sometime next year (2023).
Why do you think the Harlem Film House and Hip Hop Film Festival are important? Both of these venues are amazing creative spaces to not only build and share ones work, but to also build community with other like-minded individuals who are either in the beginnings of their career to already seasoned creatives. I personally have secured acting jobs from my interactions at Act Up and the festival. I’m grateful for this space because it has allowed me to share my comedic voice which gave me confidence to do what I’m doing now. I wouldn’t have met my two big brothers Jamal Hodge and Kareem Hayes if it wasn’t for this space and I’m forever grateful for that.