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Riverment, A Film From Florida A&M University's Shayla Racquel, Now Fundraising For Her Newest Film Project (1725 hits)

Writer and Director Shayla Racquel is currently fundraising for her newest film project, Riverment. Riverment is a short fictional film that explores the evolving fight for Black rights in America and it’s generational toll on families. The film discusses the generational differences between the Baby Boomers who participated in the Civil Rights Movement and millennials participating in Black Lives Matter, while also highlighting the post-traumatic stress experienced by those involved in both.

Using the dynamic relationship between a grandmother and a granddaughter, Riverment centers Black women to showcase how women have been, and will continue to be at the forefront of all movements. Set in the present day at the cusp of renewed protests against police brutality, Riverment presents a compelling and timely dialogue from both generations of activists.

Riverment has been recently recognized as a “Projects We Love” on Kickstarter and was highlighted in their newsletter dedicated to projects discussing #BlackLivesMatter. The project has also received the honor of being highlighted as Indiewire’s “Project of the Day,” and went on to be voted as Indiewire’s “Project of the Week.”

As Civil Rights activists, Maureen and her husband Kenneth were no strangers to racial injustices and traumatic experiences during their fight for equal rights. To cope with what they’ve encountered, Maureen spends her time in her favorite place of peace, the riverbank. It is here that Maureen bonds with her granddaughter Tyna, sharing stories about her past. Now 19 years old, Tyna has become a freedom fighter in her own right, tackling inequalities and discrimination occurring on her college campus. When Tyna decides to take her activism outside the proposed safe boundaries of school, Maureen fears for her granddaughter’s safety, and ultimately her sanity.

My grandparents, Evelyn Thompson and Joseph Thompson Sr. were never coy about their experiences growing up in South Carolina during the 50s & 60s. They both owned thriving Black businesses, and my grandfather, once a Black caddie who wasn't allowed to play golf, started a Black golfers club called "Black Jackets" after the integration of golf courses across the South. Many conversations with them about their past experiences sparked my interest in racial issues, however after the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, our conversations drastically changed. This sparked the idea to create Riverment, and to create a piece of art that discuss the trauma African Americans experience simply by living as minorities in America.

Shayla Racquel is the quintessential creative, born and raised in the South but currently living in the city of Washington, DC. Diagnosed with Sickle Cell Disease at birth and having a stroke at the young age of 12, her childhood battle with the disease is what brought her closer to the art of storytelling and the love of filmmaking.

Currently a Master of Fine Arts candidate studying Film and Electronic Media at American University, Riverment will serve as Shayla Racquel’s third film project and thesis film. Her first project was an award winning webseries entitled Quarter Century. The series has two seasons under its belt – the first set in the eclectic city of Washington, D.C. and the second taking place in the heart of New York. In her short film, Life’s Checklist, hesitancy occurs as the reasons for marriage are naturally questioned, but one must determine if they’re getting married for love, or for the sheer reason that marriage is one of life’s goals to complete. The short film was officially selected into seven film festivals and has won four awards, including Phenomenal Women In Film for Best Short Film.

Shayla Racquel bleeds Orange & Green, holding a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Sciences from the illustrious Florida A&M University. Felicific with a unique appreciation for the parallels of art and life, you will know Shayla Racquel when she greets you with “Smiles are contagious so get sick!”

For more information on Riverment, visit www.rivermentfilm.com.

Photo: Riverment, Writer/Director Shayla Racquel
Photo credit: Anna Northrup
Posted By: Reginald Culpepper
Tuesday, August 2nd 2016 at 6:48PM
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