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Jury Duty | Kevin Wilson

Kevin Wilson, Jr. is an Oscar Nominated and Student Academy Award Winning Filmmaker based in New York City - and we can't be happier to have him as a new advocate and jury member for 2019!

His first works as a filmmaker came shortly after directing a sold out play as an undergraduate student at North Carolina A&T State University. Since that time, his short films have screened at Film Festivals all over the world including the New York Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival, Cleveland International Film Festival, and HollyShorts Film Festival where he won Best Director.

In 2017, he won the Gold Medal at the 44th Student Academy Awards for his short film, My Nephew Emmett, a 20-minute short film based on the true story of the 1955 murder of Emmett Till. Months later, My Nephew Emmett was nominated for an Oscar for BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM at the 90th Academy Awards. My Nephew Emmett also won Wilson a Directors Guild of America Student Film Award and a BAFTA Student Film Award. It was also the recipient of the Grand Student award at the 2018 PRINDIE Film Festival.

Having just received an M.F.A. in Film Production from NYUs Tisch School of the Arts, he is in development for his debut feature film. 

What attracted you to the PRINDIE: Princeton independent film festival?

As I began traveling with my short film, My Nephew Emmett, I became enamored by regional festivals that weren't necessarily in the same tier as the Sundance, Cannes, or Telluride festivals.  While I am of course a huge fan of those larger festivals, after playing at the Telluride Film Festival and New York Film Festival, I realized that in regional festivals like PRINDIE, I was able to connect with local audiences and true cinephiles in a way that I wasn't able to at the larger festivals due to its enormous size and the amount of press present for some of the more popular films being screened.  While researching PRINDIE, I was impressed with the quality of films they'd selected in the past and in watching those films, I knew that I'd be surrounded by lovers of independent and international cinema right in my back yard in New Jersey.

What is your favorite movie/ what is your favorite type of movie? (action,drama, etc.)

This is always such a difficult question to answer for me because I'm a true cinephile and watch so many movies that it's hard to nail down just one of my favorites.  I'll say that "Do The Right Thing" by Spike Lee was the movie that I studied constantly after I'd decided to become a filmmaker in 2009.  I'm a huge fan of Yorgos Lanthimos because he has such a distinctive voice and does such a strong job of building worlds in his films.  "The Lobster" and "Dogtooth" are my favorites by him.  I usually find that I enjoy movies that have found a way to be both entertaining and unique to its filmmaker's voice and style so I'm watching a lot of Kieslowski, Lanthimos, Wes Anderson, Julie Dash, Soderbergh, Kasi Lemmons, Spielberg, and Robert Zemeckis.  I also watch "Dirty Pretty Things" by Stephen Frears two or three times every month.  I think it's a near perfect movie.  

Besides Film, what are your passions?

My all-time favorite thing to do is to drive cross country with my wife, Meesh and our kids.  We are a traveling family.  After we got married, Meesh and I drove cross-country taking the southern route.  We stopped in New Orleans, Dallas, Amarillo, Grand Canyon, Vegas, and ended in LA.  Then we did it 3 more times on different routes each time.  I learn something new and am inspired each time we do it.  She's probably one of the most inspiring people on earth to me so I always cherish the times I get to get in the car with her and drive with no destination in mind.

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