Culture Spotlight Featuring Emmanuel Martin Di Feliciantonio
Updated: Apr 22
Vaintino is a Paris born New Yorker who lives in Brooklyn since 1995. Along the years, Vaintino wrote plays, short plays, series, screenplays, and directed feature documentaries, feature films, videos, and developed his own personal aesthetic revolving around installations, event, and curated screenings as well as art projects. Lately, he co created The Bed Stuy Theatre group with brother and friend, Kevin Leonard and produced, cast and directed August wilson's "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" in the "August in August" summer series in Fulton park and James Baldwin's "Blues for mister Charlie" at the Black caucus in Albany, both events historical premieres co promoted by Restoration and the counsel for the arts in Bed Stuy. His original play "Chimera" was selected at the new york theatre summerfest at the husson guild theatre in Chelsea. Vaintino also completed a feature film titled "An Afternoon In Monte Carlo" (distributed through amazon Prime .UK and US and on DVD at best buy target Barnes and noble Turner classic) and a feature documentary titled "Shadows In The Box" (hip hop film festival nominated for best documentary category) for his production company www.thegroupnyc.com.
Tell us about your experience at Hip Hop Film Festival? I have been to the festival the past two years. The first year I was selected as a semi finalist in the screenplay competition with "swans in the dark" a crime drama. And the second year I placed three scripts "exit three" "rockaway blues" and "the actor" in the finalists of the act up/final draft competition. "The actor" , a dramedy, made it all the way to the final five. As well as a documentary "Shadows in the box" that was nominated for best documentary . and a short film "Lionel Fantom" that was nominated for best original soundtrack. The hip hop film festival is a great place to cross path with a high energy crowd of movie lovers and participants as It is obvious that this kind of humanly scaled festival is a rarity on the circuit. It feels like a big summer film summit in the heart of historic Harlem. Also it is entrenched in the culture as, for example, in 2018.legendary director Melvin Van Peebles was honored at the closing ceremony. It was a real special treat for cinephiles like myself to meet such a man and an hero to many.
Why are stories from the culture important?
The stories about the culture become the culture itself over time. That’s why by focusing on the creators raised in that time period , the festival nails the circumstances in which art is born . the inspiration becomes the cornerstone of the hip hop film fest . the worldwide appeal is nurtured through the prism of the bearers of the culture. Instead of the topics of the film's alone. In other words, the festival fills a void that is paramount in a cinematic landscape that is too often formatted from the commercial trendy side of the spectrum.
What projects are you working on now? At the moment I am focusing on my company www.thegroupnyc.com with music producer Eric blaze and actor Kevin Leonard putting up different live theatrical performances throughout the city as well as producing art films, feature documentaries, fictions and musical content. With my imprint vaintinofilmworks. And I'm actively looking for financing for my more ambitious projects such as "the actor" , or partners , agent and manager to develop my extensive body of work that I 've been producing for the past three decades.
Why do you think the Harlem film house and Hip Hop Film Festival is important? Grass roots initiatives such as the Harlem film house and the hip hop film festival are of extreme importance because it produces the platform that is often missing for voices that have been suppressed by nefarious politics and habits in the world of film. It generates the kind of energy that is necessary in the building of ones craft. Plus it has a yearly presence through its different workshops and events that is unique in itself. Hip hop film festival is here to stay no doubt about it, and spread its influence worldwide.