With film being one of the most cherished forms of entertainment in the world, Fox Soul created a landmark contest to bring a fresh perspective to the art. Through the “Fox Soul Screening Room HBCU Pitch Contest” launched earlier this year, the network was not disappointed in its search to elevate top HBCU filmmaking talent.
The bold HBCU students who set out to apply had plenty to gain. For one, the grand prize winner would receive a useful $5,000 prize to fund their idea for a short film. However, perhaps the most coveted perk would be the exposure. The contest was created in part with “The Screening Room,” a show on Fox Soul hosted by legendary actress Vivica A. Fox. Now in its second season, the popular show has been showcasing black filmmakers and their short films. Like so many filmmakers featured on the show, the newly crowned winner is much closer to achieving his big screen dreams.
For recent Morehouse College graduate Kameron Bain, winning the contest felt like a long time coming. Years before he ever submitted his application, he was an 11-year-old who felt drawn to acting and film editing. It took him working on a silent film in high school for him to recognize a future in directing. “After that experience and showing my class my final product, I knew that I had that ‘thing’ about my story telling that people really liked,” said Bain.
Bain largely credits his Morehouse experience with helping him to reach a level where he was prepared to compete with the top talent in the contest. As a young black man, the exposure to different people and ideas that he received in college changed his life. He was finally able to unpack political moments happening around him in 2015-2016 such as the highly polarizing election of Donald Trump and rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. Realizing that there was a need for black stories to be told by black filmmakers in the film market, he got to work. “I knew that kids my age didn’t read books as much if they didn’t have the type of access I did at Morehouse so I looked to make political and philosophical statements in my writing to reach more black men,” he said. “My writing grew into some really powerful work.”
When the application for Fox Soul’s inaugural HBCU Pitch Contest were released, Bain submitted a short film concept that he had been working on for a long time. Black Rage is a psychological thriller about a black painter who is told to make his race a larger part of his art if he wants to stay relevant. Perhaps thousands of black artists have been given similar professional advice, causing them to forgo personally meaningful art ideas in lieu of pieces that objectify their race. The finished film would explore how the pressures of masculinity, grief, sexuality, and “unhinged rage” sink their teeth into the main character, and metaphorically black artists at large.
“During COVID, I wrote Black Rage and started to work with a writers room in Atlanta to learn the professional writing process and getting used to hearing the struggles of other film creatives,” he said. His courageous decision to pitch his short was like lighting a fire. He leveraged marketing experience he had from working in the music industry to produce his first professional trailer with creative partners Shaun Mathis and Brandon Obey. Then in his senior year at Morehouse, he created his own streaming platform called Homegrown TV to give Black Rage even more momentum.
Like many great filmmakers, Kameron Bain hopes that his work will have resounding effects. “My long term vision is to bring more diverse stories in unique film genres back to hip hop culture,” he said. All his life, he has drawn inspiration from films like Belly, Friday, Dead Presidents, Thin Line Between Love and Hate and Boys in the Hood as films that truly allowed viewers to see what that culture is like. Yet with his work, he hopes to bridge the gap between that wave of impactful films and what is marketed now. “Over the years we have lost touch with the black artists who make the culture,” he said. “Issa and Donald Glover are working hard to bring it back but, I know they need the young bucks to participate and support too!”
Congratulations are in order for Kameron. We look forward to his developing portfolio of work as well as the 2023 Fox Soul HBCU Pitch Contest!