‘Ohio Valley Festival of Filmmakers of Color’ Set for Friday

It was his love of filmmaking that prompted Ron Scott Jr. to get the “Ohio Valley Festival of Filmmakers of Color” rolling.

And, in the third such partnership between YWCA Wheeling and Wheeling Heritage, the OVFFC is set for Friday, Feb. 7, at the Wheeling Artisan Center, 1400 Main St.

“[Film] is an art form that many in the valley enjoy, but it doesn’t often get highlighted,” said Scott, the Cultural Diversity and Community Outreach director at the YWCA Wheeling and an amateur filmmaker as well.

“Recently, other area filmmakers decided to label my films and projects as ‘hood movies.’ I decided then that, if given an opportunity, I would try to showcase a group of filmmakers of color to show just how creative and diverse the films can be,” he added.

Scott’s film, “HR & B,” will be featured along with the work of four others.

“My film is a short comedy about men’s insecurities when talking to women,” he said, and noted that the film is not based on his life.

“I just really like looking at interactions between human beings. I find that it’s more often bizarre, funny and intriguing. It’s an idea I had been kicking around, so I thought I’d shoot it.”

Scott believes that exposure to a variety of art forms and culture will help enrich the community and enhance the “understanding and parallels between demographics they don’t often share space with.”

Ron Scott Jr., “HR & B”

Chris Villamagna, program manager at Wheeling Heritage, is happy to be partnering again with the YWCA on an arts event.

“In 2018, Ron Scott approached me about a project he wanted to do. I only had a February date open for the 3rd Floor Gallery, so we decided to do it on the first Friday of the month. Ron coordinated all the participants in the project, and I took care of hanging the exhibition and the opening reception. The ‘Art of Inclusion’ was a show celebrating the local LGBTQIA community,” she said.

The second event, held in February of 2019, was “Hip Hop. A Black Tie Affair,” in which artists were invited to participate in an exhibit that focused on hip hop music and its culture. The exhibit included visual art and video.

“The opening reception showcased the art but also had a looping film of local rap artists performing pieces they had created,” Villamagna said. “So, of course, we decided we needed to do another February collaborative event. Thus, the ‘Ohio Valley Festival for Filmmakers of Color.’

At Friday’s event, each director or creative team will introduce the film prior to its screening. Afterward, the audience can donate to the film of their choice. Movie posters will be on display in the gallery.

The evening will begin at 5 p.m. with mingling and refreshments. The screening of the films will begin at 6:30 p.m.

In addition to Ron Scott Jr., the filmmakers include: Marcellus Cox, Mikaya Green, Shawn Holmes and Miguel Tapia Jr.

Marcellus Cox is an award-winning writer/director from Los Angeles, California. As a true amateur, his style of cinematic storytelling is embossed with dark and edgy themes, is engaging and enlightening, delivering his audience to a place of understanding and compassion for social issues and objectivity. He pushes the boundaries of controversial storytelling, touching on subjects such as race, religion, social and political issues. His work has won over 90 international film awards. He will introduce his film, “I’m Sorry.”

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Marcellus Cox, “I’m Sorry”

Mikaya Green lives in Bridgeport, Ohio, and is a lifelong valley resident. She is a graduate from Brooklyn College in Brooklyn, New York, with a bachelor’s degree in TV, radio and film production. She is a news director at WTRF and a photographer and videographer for Better Together Moments. Her film is titled, “Shirley.”

Mikaya Green, “Shirley”

Shawn Holmes is a film director, producer, editor and screenwriter known worldwide for his debut feature film “Memory Lane.” The film was shot in a garage in Martins Ferry with a production budget of less than $300. It world-premiered at Sci-Fi London, screened at Cannes and Berlinale, and is now available in more than 13 countries. After graduating from The Linsly School, Holmes studied film production at Loyola Marymount University’s School of Film and Television in Los Angeles, California. During his time there, three of his films were honored by MySpace Short Film of the Month. In 2011, Holmes became the youngest nominee in history for the West Virginia Filmmaker of the Year Award. He is the recipient of the American International Film Festival Awards for Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Thriller and the Award of Excellence from The Indy Fest. He is creative director at WTRF.

Shawn Holmes, “Memory Lane”

Ron Scott Jr. was born in Wheeling and has been a lifelong resident. He has always had a love for acting and the stage, but recently caught the bug for film when he got the opportunity to work with his friends Desi Lekanudos, James Wodarcyk and Jeff Madzia at Undependent Films. Together, they produced several independent short films.

Miguel Angel Tapia Jr. is a 25-year-old Latino filmmaker from West Covina, California. He has been directing films for three years now. He acts in, writes and directs most of his own films. The film he submitted, “Crimson” is about an artist letting art consume them when they have nothing or no one else. He believes any creative can relate to the subject.

Miguel Angel Tapia Jr., “Crimson”

“Anyone who attends the OVFFC will be guaranteed to see cinematic works of art done by innovative, creative, independent filmmakers from a variety of different races, cultures and creeds. We have films from the genres of drama, comedy, horror and documentary,” Scott said.

“This is a great opportunity for two Wheeling organizations to work together and bring new work, ideas and talent to the public,” Villamagna said.

“Collaborating with the YWCA, and especially [with] Ron Scott, has been great. As much as we may try, we still lack showcasing diversity in our facility. Ron has great ideas. We have the place. It’s a win-win,” she added.

• Having spent nearly 38 years as reporter, bureau chief, lifestyles editor and managing editor at The Times Leader, and design editor at The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register, Phyllis Sigal now serves as Weelunk’s managing editor. She lives in Wheeling with her husband Bruce Wheeler. Along with their two children, son-in-law and two grandchildren, food, wine, travel, theater and music are close to their hearts.