This month TruJuLo is taking time to honor, celebrate and uplift young people. August 12th is International Youth Day and Fanshen recently spent a week with her nephew Solomon (10) and niece Jaida (13) WITHOUT their parents! This picture is from a trip to Legoland in San Diego. As kids (and adults) ran and jumped and screamed and got soaking wet and giggled and laughed and laughed – it was a strong reminder of young people’s resilience, spirit of creativity, and commitment to joy. To a person (like this fabulous One in the picture), the staff embodied these things as well.
Here are some of our favorite organizations, people and projects sustained by these youthful qualities. Check them out – support them – and allow all that goodness to enter into and remain in your spirit!
OCTOBER 27th-30th, 2022 in Boston, MA:
Scout Film Festival – celebrating filmmakers and visual storytellers worldwide age 24 and younger. This is one of our favorite festivals and there’s really nothing else like it. You’ll see high quality projects on themes that are important to young people today and marvel at these storytellers’ skills and creativity.
FILMMAKER Natalie Jasmine Harris:
We love this young, queer filmmaker (we got to see her previous short film at the Scout Festival) and are proud to support her newest project Grace as Executive Producer. There’s just over one week left in their Kickstarter campaign – you’ll be glad to be able to say ‘you knew and supported Natalie when.’
Great strides are happening for Black, Brown, Asian and Indigenous film and TV writers and directors – but the Artists, Crafts and Technician departments lag behind. Hollywood CPR has been helping to close this gap for 25 years. The non-profit trains students in key, unionized positions. If you know a young person looking to enter the industry in Southern California, this organization is always at the top of everyone’s list for finding talented and knowledgeable crew to hire.WHAT ARE WE UP TO?
Speaking of our commitment to uplifting young people – we’re thrilled to be developing Layla and the Starship Afrotopia with writer Jumai Yusuf. In this animated TV series, Layla – a shy Black Muslim girl – is recruited by the crew of a starship (the Afrotopia) to aide them in their search for a home planet. We met Jumai when Fanshen facilitated a pitching session for Black Muslim writers in partnership with MPAC Hollywood and the Blackhouse Foundation. We love this opportunity to place a Black Muslim girl at the center of a science fiction story with a universal theme: finding home. If you’d like to hear more about the project and/or support, send us an email: email@example.com Learn more about the brilliant Jumai Yusuf here: www.jumaiyusuf.com
Fanshen’s a judge for the student films for this year’s Oscar-qualifying Hollyshorts Film Festival and WOW they are powerful. Short films can appear to be easier to make than features. Making a good one requires all of the skills – energy – funding as many feature films – plus the added challenge of telling a complete story in under 25 minutes. This festival screens the cream of the crop from across the globe. It’s in-person and virtual this year – and we highly recommend you experience at least a block of the shorts that interest you.
We’re not going to lie – this was a tough one. Flash Before the Bang is on hold because our co-star, Troy Kotsur, has been tapped for another project. We’re of course happy for Troy – but we had gotten so close to getting the film into production that we’ll be feeling the sting for a while. This is what we’ve signed up for – putting our love and support behind projects that unfortunately may never get made. We wish we could say it gets easier. But when you adore the project – it just doesn’t. Still: ONWARDS.
Vinnie and I went to Paris in June! We walked 12 miles a day – all over the city. Our hotel was just a couple blocks from the Champs Élysées and just a couple more away from the Arc de Triomphe. We took a boat on the Seine, toured Versailles, ate fancy chocolate from the Galeries Lafayette, snapped photos of Notre Dame, walked all the way up to Sacré Coeur, ate lunch at an amazing Senegalese restaurant, indulged in ice cream shaped like a rose at Amorino, and sat on the Canal Saint-Martin with a baguette and a bottle of wine. It was the perfect start to the summer!
What do ‘GIRLFRIENDS,’ ‘LIVING SINGLE,’ and ‘MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE’ Have in Common?
You may have missed this two-part conversation with Kelly Edwards – and it’s well worth a watch if you want to wrap your head around how writers and executives go through the development and production processes.Click Here for Booking a Consulting or Speaking Engagement