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ON YOUR RADAR: Jovan James

Thursday, Apr 7, 2016

Jovan James

“ON YOUR RADAR” IS A WEEKLY GRAD FILM NEWS SEGMENT THAT FEATURES A STUDENT PICKED AT RANDOM.

JOVAN IS CURRENTLY A 2ND YEAR STUDENT AT GRAD FILM.  WE ASKED HIM A FEW QUESTIONS AND HERE’S WHAT HE HAD TO SAY:

 

Where are you from and what is it like there?

I was born and raised in Baltimore, MD.  I moved around quite a bit between neighborhoods, but I came of age in a place called Essex, a place that feels like a small town in the sense that you can almost know everybody through someone else and that some people never leave.  It is an ethnically diverse place that still deals with segregation and racial intolerance to this day.  Economically, it ranges from families who own waterfront property and a boat to single moms just trying to keep their head above water, which describes my upbringing.  However, it is a place with a lot of heart that taught me to make the best of my resources and I am inspired each time I visit.

What or who is inspiring you right now and why? 

It is hard for me to pin down just one influence in my art, but I will always be inspired by the work of Michael Jackson, specifically his drive to be the best while distinctly being himself.  He channeled his pain into great art and shared it with us, he gave up any prospect of a normal life at a young age and never looked back. 

Current filmmakers that really excite me are Ryan Coogler, whose work with Michael B. Jordan in Creed and Fruitvale Station has been so powerful and inspiring to me, and I can't wait for his next project; as well as Justin Simien, whose directorial debut, Dear White People, was such a refreshing and modern take on inter- and intra- racial politics in today's world.

I will always continue to pull life experiences from myself as well as those around me, it will always be my biggest source of inspiration.

What has been your most rewarding experience at NYU Tisch Grad Film so far?

The most rewarding experience I've had so far at Tisch overall is having other artists take an interest in my work and collaborate with me as I develop my artistic voice.  Before I got to Tisch, it was difficult to get attention/useful feedback on my work or to be in an environment where I am challenged and surrounded by likeminded individuals.  Though I am not on the same wavelength as all of my peers, it is nice to feel as if I am part of a community.