Local Filmmakers Win Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts Davey Prize | Local cinema | Savannah News, Events, Restaurants, Music
Local filmmakers Kareem McMichael and Chad Penchion received silver at the 17th Annual Davey Awards with their film “MLK JR. BLVD.
The Davey Awards, which are judged and overseen by the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts, are divided into different categories and recognize the best creative work from the best small shops, businesses and businesses around the world. With over 2,000 entries from around the world, only a select few receive an award.
“MLK JR. BLVD” won the Film/Video-Entertainment Silver for Non-Broadcast.
“It’s an honor to have our film recognized with this award,” McMichael said. “We worked very hard on this project and wanted to tell a true and personal story for people.”
Written by Penchion and directed by McMichael, “MLK JR. BLVD” follows the life of a young artist and music lover, De’Andre, whose father, a police officer, is killed in the line of duty.
De’Andre resents his father for working for a system that he feels oppresses people and expresses his distrust of the system through art. With tones of underlying racial tension and stereotyping, the short explores the negative perceptions surrounding race relations and De’Andre’s struggle to find himself.
According to McMichael, the film began as a student project of Penchion when he was a student at SCAD.
“We started working on the film in November 2018,” he said. “We had some production issues along the way, but we got it all together and finished in April 2019. Once filming was done, we finished post-production in about four days. Many hours have been put into this film and I’m really proud of the dedication of the whole team.
McMichael added that in addition to the time and dedication put into the film, he is especially proud of the level of authenticity he feels the team was able to bring to the screen.
“When we all sat down and broke down the script and cinematography, we knew we wanted to capture the reality of what it looks like on most ‘MLK JR. BLVD’s in almost every city, including cities too rural than Statesboro,” McMichael said.
“There’s an aesthetic and we really wanted to capture the essence of that, but also in the film, capture that duality between what Martin Luther King Jr. was and what Malcom X was. different perspectives, they were fighting for the same thing.
In addition to winning a Davey Award, “MLK JR. BLVD” has been seen at over 15 film festivals. The film was also a semi-finalist at Cinefest Los Angeles, a finalist at the Southeast Regional Film Festival in Jacksonville, and won “Best Student Film” at the Charlotte Black Film Festival.
McMichael says he is working on releasing the film through streaming platforms.
“It’s not streaming anywhere yet, but we’re discussing those possibilities. We’re hoping to get it on Amazon Prime and a few other streaming platforms eventually.
To follow McMichael’s release and work, visit kmcmichael.weebly.com or visit his instagram @Karmac_ent1
Editor’s note: Kareem McMichael is a regular Connect Savannah contributor.