Specifically, the film, spoken in both English and Spanish, humorously highlights the difficulties of creating in a sea of criticism. Studio executives disagree with Zoe’s script due to its slow pace and lack of celebrity power. Sharp, based in Los Angeles, says she’s been in similar situations over the years, resulting in both frustrating and awe-inspiring experiences that come from seeking validation.
“There is no such thing as a perfect scenario,” he said. “Feedback can be good, but at the same time an artist has to create his vision. You can’t always be so consumed with what other people think. An artist must learn to trust his vision. At the end of the day, a script is just a gateway to your vision. People were discounting my scripts left and right. No one would help. For the most part, every bit of feedback Zoe gets in the film comes from lines straight out of rejection letters I saved.”
During one of Zoe’s sessions at the studio, Sharp’s fellow indie director/actor Jacques Titus of St. Paris plays three performers at once: Bob, Rob and Tom. His comedic turn adds to the absurdity surrounding Zoe’s circumstance.
“I was experimenting with creating three distinctly different characters and shooting them in lock-frame, basically playing the other two versions of myself,” explained Titus, a Graham High School graduate whose drama “Two Yellow Lines” came out last year. fall. “This is very difficult and requires you to know everyone’s dialogue, the pacing of each character’s performance and the reactions to each. When Jenn’s movie called for three separate characters, I felt like I was ready to pull it off. ‘Una Great Movie’ is as indie as it gets. It goes against the rules of Hollywood and shows a voice that is often choked.”
“The island changed my soul”
In 2016, Sharp began production on her film on the picturesque island of Isla Holbox, located north of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, about two hours north of Cancun. She visited the island in 1999 and fell so in love with the people and the environment that she moved there in 2000 and eventually wrote her first screenplay. Over the next 14 years, her travels to the island fueled her passion to finally commit to developing, writing, editing and shooting what would become ‘Una Great Movie’.
“I spent my life savings, spent my credit cards,” he recalls. “With no green light from the studios, I made this film. Almost all the actors on the island are local, my friends for the last 17 years. In 1999 I set foot on the island. The island changed my soul and I knew I had to make a film there. Seventeen years later I succeeded and made the film happen by any means necessary.”
Reflecting on her upbringing, Sharp, who says she “declared at age 6” that she wanted to be an actress, is grateful to have been inspired by the arts in her youth. She performs with the Yellow Springs Youth Orchestra under the direction of Shirley Mullins and participates in many school projects under the direction of Becky Brunsman. He is also a Muse Machine alumnus, most notably appearing in the 1989 production of “The Wiz” as Wiz-ette and the 1991 production of “Oklahoma!” as Sylvie as well as Ado Annie understudy.
“I had a really great background in the arts,” she said. “I played violin and clarinet at school, which kept me creative. I feel so lucky to be from a small town that had such a great music program.”
After graduating from Yellow Springs High School and receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drama from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Sharp realized she would have to forge her own path.
“Once I graduated, there were no places for me as a black woman,” she said. “I could be Halle Berry or the ghetto girl. So in 2000, I wrote my first short film and I wrote it to act, but I ended up directing it and I never went back to directing. I realized I belong behind the camera.”
“I try to keep the truth in art”
In addition to her film endeavors, Sharp, whose directorial credits include “I’m Through with White Girls” and “Solitary Worlds,” encourages the next generation of filmmakers. He emphasizes authenticity and originality as he teaches directing, producing and production design at the New York Film Academy.
“I try to keep the truth in the art, which is my goal as a teacher,” she said. “I want to keep people honest and creative – not just following formulas.”
Sharp is pleased with the release of “Una Great Movie,” but warns that there is still a lot of work to be done in Hollywood to show the breadth of the Black perspective.
“Hollywood is making more black films, but they’re making biographies and revisiting history,” he noted. “We are fighting for justice, but we are still being kept in boxes. I want to see black people outside the boxes. Have you ever seen a movie where a black woman travels to Mexico? The film opens the door for me to (recognize) black people who travel and black people can swim. It’s important for everyone to see black people as people doing human things. We just happen to be a different color than the people who usually do. And that’s diversity – and that’s how we evolve.”
“Una Great Movie” is also available on Google Play and YouTube Movies. For more information, visit http://www.unagreatmovie.com.
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