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NYU Think-Tank Awards Artel Great Fellowship To Aid Underserved Film Communities

NYU Think-Tank Awards Artel Great Fellowship To Aid Underserved Film Communities

Exciting news from the intersection of cinema, technology, and social justice.

, Chicago-born
filmmaker and Film Independent Spirit Award nominated actor, has been announced
as the 2014 winner of New York University’s Cinema Research Institute (CRI) Fellowship. This highly competitive
prize is international in scope and supports the work of innovators in the film
industry from creative and commercial standpoints. Winners engage in
entrepreneurial explorations of the film business and conduct valuable research
to be leveraged by the film community at large. 

Great’s vision is to initiate new film
distribution strategies that reach artistically underserved populations across
multiple media platforms. He’s been awarded the CRI Fellowship to develop and
launch a groundbreaking venture dubbed Project
 – a transmedia
organization that combines creative community building with cinema, art, music, and technology. The
company assembles multicultural filmmakers, thinkers, and visual artists to
design programming that celebrates audiences who are traditionally neglected by

“The NYU CRI was created to fulfill an
increasingly important role in the film industry – to encourage the exploration of new
models of financing, producing, marketing, and distributing media and
entertainment,” said John Tintori, who along with Tisch School of the Arts’ dean, Mary Schmidt Campbell, philanthropist Richard Vague, and film producer
Ted Hope, founded the CRI as an entertainment think-tank in 2012. Recent winners
of the fellowship include, Josh Penn and Michael Gottwald, producers of the Oscar
nominated film, Beasts of the Southern

Mr. Great’s aim
is to provide multicultural filmgoers with an increased variety of art that better
reflects diverse communities. This CRI Fellow has an accomplished background in
Hollywood as an actor and independent filmmaker, making Project Catalyst that much
more alluring. His roles in the box office hit, Save the Last Dance, Oprah
Winfrey’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, and a Spirit Award nominated
performance, opposite Jeremy Renner in Dahmer, have been described as “multilayered” by the New York Times, “warm, outgoing, direct, funny, and endearing” by the LA
Times and “virtuoso” by the LA Weekly.

Great’s academic achievements are also
notable – graduating high school and matriculating at Columbia College Chicago at age 16,
before leaving to work in Hollywood, later becoming the first African American
valedictorian at the University of California, Los Angeles, (UCLA) Film School,
where he studied screenwriting and directing, graduated summa cum laude, and
earned a Master’s degree in cinema and media studies. He currently lectures on
film history at NYU Tisch, where he is also a PhD candidate in Cinema Studies.

Regarding his fellowship win, Great
remarked, “Working with the CRI provides support to help me use cinema to push
the boundaries of the possible and make a positive contribution. I believe in
critical intervention through creative engagement, so I’ve designed Project Catalyst
as a platform that leverages digital and mobile technologies with theatrical exhibition
in order to address issues of media diversity.” By moving beyond outdated formulas
for film promotion and distribution, Great’s transmedia strategy will empower artists
creating for communities outside the Hollywood mainstream.

“We’ve barely reached the tip of the
iceberg in terms of the possibilities available through the convergence of
cinema, art, and technology. Project Catalyst will meet the needs of passionate,
emerging, communities of color, who yearn to be inspired by new productions of
culture that they can take pride in,” Great said. “The audience is already
there and they’re thirsty for fresh images and stories that emanate from, and
speak to, their experiences.”

We look forward to sharing more
information on Great’s work in the coming months.

Check out the website and Facebook page for details. 

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