Straight Talk: The Power of the Story

KushAsher gives the students of Alpha Boys School a lesson in lighting

Filmmakers: the Artisans of time…. Possessing an inconceivable ability to collect the remnants of our realities and craft them into the moving stories we have come to know. They tap into our emotions, they awaken our dreams, and they leave us believing in the power of the story. A power that filmmaker Mykal Cushnie (KushAsher) believes exists in the youths of today.

At the Alpha Boys’ Academy in Kingston, Jamaica, Cushnie gave an introduction to filmmaking workshop at a monthly series organized by the Charles Hyatt Foundation called ‘Straight Talk.’ The series had featured talks by influential figures such as Tony Rebel and Oliver Samuels.

Protoje at Straight Talk

Thanks to the contribution of film equipment by Fareye Films, the youth got an introduction to the some of the film machinery which they would get a chance to use later. But first, a candid conversation with revolutionary author Dutty Bookman and renowned Reggae artist Protoje. Dutty’s motivational address not only introduced filmmaking as “a tool that you can be used to do anything you want to do in order to tell your story,” but also spoke specifically to the responsibilities of young people in ensuring that these stories are always being told.

Dutty Bookman at Straight Talk

Cushnie emphasized importance of understanding the power these stories can have in shaping our culture, our personal lives and the lives of everyone we touch. He hinted at the need for meaningful stories in Jamaica’s film industry.

“So, the responsibility is really going to be on the next generation of people coming out – youths like you, who have very interesting, dynamic stories. It’s for you to start using the tools that are available to you to start telling your stories,” Cushnie told them.

Mykal "kushAsher" Cushnie

He sees this workshop as only the first step on the journey to empowering and uplifting Jamaican youths so that they can actually See their own potential. He believes that storytelling is a continuous process; one that leaves the filmmaker constantly learning and reinventing stories. “I think one of the privileges of being a filmmaker is the opportunity to remain a perpetual student,” said Cushnie, as he closed a very successful workshop with a class of eager Jamaican youth…the future!

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