Looking to check out some new movies this summer? We've got you covered!
For the second year in a row, NBCUniversal's “Scene in Color Film Series,” sponsored by Target, is showcasing films from three incredibly talented and diverse filmmakers.
The series is focused on highlighting work from the next generation of diverse filmmakers and helping them pave a way for their future. Veteran Hollywood producer Will Packer will be back again as the host and mentor for the program.
NBCUniversal's "Scene in Color Film Series" is sponsored by Target.
This year, three filmmakers are part of the series: Tayo Amos, Jane Chow and Josh Leong.
Tayo Amos is a director and filmmaker from the Bay Area who graduated in 2014 from Stanford. She recently received her MFA in film production from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts.
Her short film “Magnolia Bloom” is a narrative drama based in the 1950s in Las Vegas. The leading character is Joanna Robinson, a Black singer who was planning on performing for an integrated audience. Amos said “little does she realizes that once she gets on that stage, she has to decide what she values more: her career or her passion for justice.”
When asked about her style of filmmaking, Amos said:
“I always approach my filmmaking kind of like with a cinéma verité kind of style, I just feel like that's just kind of who I am as a filmmaker. But I was then excited about the opportunity to bring that kind of documentary, kind of handheld, grittier style to a style of filmmaking that is traditionally very formal and clean and glossy, and just give it that kind of edge and texture. "
The next filmmaker being featured is Jane Chow, who is a 2019 graduate from Loyola Marymount University, with a degree in film and TV production. She is currently a video director at Synthesis.
Her narrative drama, “Sorry for the Inconvenience,” shares the story of a lonely teenage girl in Chinatown in Los Angeles who tries to keep her parents' restaurant up and running during COVID-19, while also still trying to navigate being in high school.
Chow’s choice to feature Chinatown in her film is very near and dear to her heart:
“Chinatown is a place that means a lot to me, because I am actually not American. Although, I sound very American ... I was born and raised in Hong Kong, and I moved here when I was 18. I don't have family here. I also don't have citizenship. So really being in Chinatown was one of the few ways I could always feel like I could find pieces of home, speak Cantonese, eat my favorite foods from childhood and learn about the people who came before me. I really wanted to humanize a small family business that I saw in Chinatown that were just having such a hard time staying afloat during the pandemic.”
Chow said that stylistically, she wanted the film to feel very immersive, like you are spending the day with the characters. She said she wanted it to be rooted in reality but also to be a “celebration of those small, beautiful, everyday moments.”
The third filmmaker being featured is Josh Leong, who graduated in 2021 from NYU Tisch and is a Webby award winner. He also won the "One to Watch Award" at the Asian American International Film Festival in 2020. Leong’s film, “The Other Side,” is a narrative drama based on the Ethiopian abandoned children's crisis, where two brothers may face the reality of never being adopted. Leong based this story off of his own trip to Ethiopia, where he spent time at an orphanage system in Ethiopia.
Leong said “as a filmmaker, I kind of believe that everything that we do has to be grounded."
He continues, "In reality, it has to be grounded, something that we see and relate to, I don't actually want to tell a story unless I have a personal connection to it. I had gone on a missions trip to Ethiopia, and I met a bunch of these boys."
He went on to explain that when he was 18 years old, in Ethiopia, "you graduate from the orphanage and live on the streets. And so the film came about out of a personal conviction. And I couldn't just go home. And forget about all of this, you know, I wanted to go back and write something.”
Mentoring and support for the chosen filmmakers is a top priority of the NBCUniversal's "Scene in Color" series.
The filmmakers selected will work alongside NBCU creative executives to develop a TV pilot script. They will also receive a grant from Target and continued mentorship from producer Will Packer.
“I'm really excited that this opportunity is here and I'm so excited to be a part of it because it feels like an organization is actually investing in me as a creator as opposed to just supporting me,” Amos said.
All three films will be available to watch on Peacock and Rotten Tomatoes beginning May 25, 2022. Chow said that this program is so great because at such an early stage of their careers, they are getting opportunities to distribute their films and “the reason we make films is because we want to share those stories with an audience.”
Peacock is the streaming service for our parent company, NBCUniversal.