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  • Writer's pictureTaylor Armstead

Culture Spotlight Featuring Tyrel Hunt

Tyrel Hunt is an award-winning writer/director from Jamaica Queens, NewYork. He is best known for his film April Again, a multi-layered drama shot in his hometown. The film won "BestFeatureFilm" and "BestoftheFest" at The People's Film Festival, and the Audience Award for Best Feature Film for at Baltimore International Black Film Festival. His next film "The Sound of Southside" is coming soon.

Tell us about your experience at the Hip Hop Film Festival. I had a fantastic time at Hip Hop Film Festival. Our screening was full of film lovers who I was able to connect and network with. The entire festival had a family-like vibe that made me feel welcomed immediately. The quality of the films was really strong as well. I felt honored to be amongst the dope artists that were presented. I wish that I could've made it to more events and screenings, but from the several I did go to, I can truly say that it was an awesome experience. Winning Best Feature Film was icing on the cake!

Why are “stories from the culture” worthy of a platform? Stories from the culture are worthy of a platform because the world needs it. Us filmmakers are like modern-day griots, preserving and passing along stories that amplify our culture and way of life. Good films help reaffirm us, get us through tough times and simply provide much-needed entertainment. It's super important that we tell our own stories because for a long time, our stories have been exploited and monetized without us. It's up to us artists to fight to preserve and create art with an authenticity that can only come from a primary source.

Why do you think the Harlem Film House and Hip Hop Film Festival are important? Hip Hop Film Festival and Harlem Film House are super important because they give a voice and a platform to folks from the culture who are fighting to get on. They provide resources, an audience, and an opportunity to people like me. At Hip Hop Film Festival, I was able to meet and chat with the founder CR Capers, obtain press, meet filmmakers, and leave with two awards which will surely help add legitimacy to my film. I'm deeply appreciative of these orgs!

What projects are you working on now? Right now, I'm working on the roll-out for my film The Sound of Southside. I'm producing a ton of content, trailers etc, to get this thing out into the world. Also, I have another novel in the works. The Sound of Southside actually started with me adapting my own novel, so I'm excited to see what becomes of this next project. You can keep up with me on instagram @countthebasquiat_.

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