Culture Spotlight Featuring Jamal Hodge
Jamal Hodge is a multi-award winning filmmaker and writer. Since May of 2016, Jamal Hodge's films have been an official selection in over 90 Film Festivals, and have won 30+awards including Best Director at The Hip Hop Film Festival, Best Short Film at The People’s Film Festival, And the Audience Choice Award at Blackstar Film Festival. In 2005 a documentary film he shot 'BULLETS IN THE HOOD' won the Sundance Audience Choice Award. Also in 2018 he directed the first season of Investigation Discovery Channel's 'Primal Instinct' and came on as a Producer on the Animated feature film 'Pierre The Pigeon Hawk' starring Nick Cannon, Whoopi Goldberg, and Howie Mandel.
As a writer, his short screenplay 'Mourning Meal' won 5 awards (including best short screenplay at NYC Horror Film Festival 2018) and was featured as a finalist in 7 writing competitions including (Shriekfest, Crimson Screen, Nightmares Film Festival). While his feature film Screenplay ‘The Kind Ones’ has been a finalist at Shriekfest and Crimson Screen in 2019. Jamal's horror poetry has been featured in SPACE AND TIME MAGAZINE, And he's been the featured writer in April 2019 at ACT UP! at Harlem's National Black Theatre. In 2020 he is gearing up to launch a Sci-fi Novel series, and a book of poetry edited by 5-time Stoker award winner Linda Addison.
Motivated by his accomplishments, Hodge has blossomed to take his talents to the next level. Jamal's tone of work, or what he calls, "Inspirational Darkness", can be described as a melding of genres. The Psychological Horror, Thriller, and Inspirational genres are Jamal's usual forte of film making. His mission is to add value to people’s lives through his unique brand of cinema. He’s excited to continue to grow outstanding partnerships to create memorable and impactful cinematic experiences for audiences across the world.
Tell us about your experience at the Hip Hop Film Festival?
My experience at the Hip Hop Film Festival has been phenomenal. The place is a living testimony to black excellence and far spanding urban culture. I screened my film Knockout Game in 2018 and it won the Audience Choice Award. In 2019 My film A Happy Divorce brought me the Best Director Award. To be honest I haven't found a better cultural fest that treats every artist with a sense of value while offering us so many ways to better our craft such as Act Up! We Watch and others. CR Capers is truly a force for the culture that deserves our support.
Why are stories from the culture important?
Because Hip Hop is the culture that shapes the world and the voice of its artists shapes identity, culture, and politics. It also is the voice of the marginalized, those society has stepped on but could not break. People who live closest to objective reality and use adversity to fuel dreams that are so personal that they become the most universal.
What projects are you working on now?
A few things. Actually a lot. I have 2 Television series in development (Ingeniuses, Red Road) 1 web series, and 2 films (Necessary Evil based on the legendary urban novel by Kareem Hayes, And The Angriest Man In The World, a film about overcoming generational anger in the face of mortality.)
My poetry novella Life According To Death drops this year, I'm producing an Animated feature film called 'Pierre The Pigeon Hawk' starring Nick Cannon, Whoopi Goldberg, and Keenan Thompson. And my short film A Happy Divorce is finishing its festival run, while my new film Mourning Meal is starting its festival run next. I got a lot on my plate but I'm always down to help create value for others as a consultant or a producer on their films or series.
Why do you think the Harlem film house and Hip Hop Film Festival is important?
I stated it earlier in question one, but what CR Capers and company has built at the Harlem Film House is revolutionary in our community, a one-stop-shop for learning, exposure, workshops, and opportunity. It's been a tremendous resource for me and a great community to belong to.I've been to Cannes, Tribeca, Martha's Vineyard and the Hip Hop Film Festival has a vibe that's just as elite as those exceptional festivals, except its root in the culture I know and love and the films presented here speak to me in a deeper way. Do yourself a favor if you are a filmmaker of color and submit your films, or better yet, sign up to become a member it's worth it.