Thursday, October 11, 2007

Maurice Jamal...Doing GIANT Things

Some people sit around and wait for life to happen. Maurice Jamal has taken the other route, which is to tell life what he wants and then do the things that will lead him towards the goal.

I have known this man for years and he is the classic American success story, with an urban twist.

An unemployed actor, writer and film student, he moved from Oakland California to New York City almost five years ago in pursuit of this dreams. He barely made a living by selling CD's of his hip-hop flavored spoken word and performing across the city. Deeply affected by the sudden death of a friend, who was on Aaliyah's plane when it crashed, Maurice decided that his life had to change course. On his last dollar, he got a job grabbing coffee on the set of a major feature film.
But his creative hunger and endless drive led him too much more. In no time, he went from production assistant to critically acclaimed and award winning feature-film producer and director.

His work has been reviewed in Variety, The Hollywood Reporter. He has been profiled in nationwide magazines and news outlets such as BET, CBS News, Black Enterprise, The Advocate, CLIK, Rockstar Magazine and most recently in GIANT.

In 2004, he founded the UrbanArts Collective, dedicated to developing new films and exploring new media

opportunities for African-American films.

His first film, The Ski Trip is the most successful and widely seen Black gay-themed film ever. It also made history, as the first film of its kind on US television (MTV's Logo Network, 2005). The film won four Best Feature film awards and two Jury prizes on the festival circuit.

His film, Dirty Laundry is the winner of 2006's Blockbuster audience award for Best U.S. Feature at The American Black Film Festival. It represents the first film about black sexuality to have major stars and a national theatrical release.

A modern-day prodigal son story with major twists, Dirty Laundry follows a traditional southern family, dealing with the secrets that are uncovered when the long-lost son (Rockmond Dunbar) suddenly returns home. In the center of the conflict is the mother (Loretta Devine), who's own story holds as much drama and secrecy as her son's.

In 2006, Maurice was named the most influential gay, African-American in film.
Maurice Jamal is currently developing a script with best selling author E. Lynn Harris. He is also executive producing the long-waited film adaptation of James Earl Hardy's novel B-Boy Blues and is producing the landmark documentary, Black or Pink: Sexuality, God and Black America.

While at the festival this year Maurice also hosted the Black LGBT Inside the Directors Studio which is now playing.

Keep going baby boy and I will see you wherever you are.

Much love,

See my interviews with Maurice below from 2006 & 2007.

Film Festival 2007

Film Festival 2006

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