PRO-TV Alum Jamal Hodge’s The Kind Ones Heads to Cannes


by Sade Falebita | March 23, 2016

Major kudos to former PRO-TV student Jamal Hodge whose film, The Kind Ones, was accepted into the 69th Cannes Film Festival! Internationally known as one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world, the week-long event taking place May 11-22, 2016 is an opportunity for filmmakers to show their projects to a massive audience and network with some of the biggest players in the industry.

A thriller originally inspired by the gentrification of Brooklyn and set with an eerie tone influenced by his brother’s secluded home in the country, the short is about a teacher at a school of color who decides to take action after discovering that one of her students is a victim of abuse. “While it is a work of fiction and meant for bowel loosening entertainment, those searching for something deeper will look past the bleak facade to discover symbolism etched in American history,” says Hodge.

Hodge is no stranger to international audiences. Reflecting on his journey as a young filmmaker, he still remembers the first time he picked up a “real camera” as a student at DCTV and worked on award-winning documentaries such as An African-American in Russia, a film detailing his experience as a black teen in Siberia, as well as the critically acclaimed Bullets in the Hood, a young man’s tale about gun violence in Bed-Stuy. “It [trip to Russia] changed me by opening up my world in terms of my global perspective realizing a person is global not racial,” says Hodge. Since then he has written, directed, produced and edited a number of documentaries and short films that have received recognition from international film festivals such as the San Francisco Film Festival and the Tribeca/Urban Visionaries Film Festival.

“The film industry is about momentum and this is a great way to start,” says Hodge. Nevertheless he admits that celebration over the news didn’t start until a few days after hearing about his acceptance, mainly because for a man who literally does it all, there's nothing like a 100-hour work week and lack of sleep that would cause him to read a message from his producer saying, "Congratulations, we got into Cannes," and subsequently, go back to sleep. When his immediate confusion subsided and the reality of his accomplishment settled, he actually couldn’t sleep. Hodge's current mood: excited, ultra-confident and ready. After years of teaching, shooting, and analyzing the work of the greats, he describes his "ability to fail forward" as the ultimate reason for his success.

With plans already set in motion for his next round of projects, audiences can soon expect to see a new cycle of films from Hodge that will feature female leads and highlight issues of gun violence, racism, suicide and child abuse.

Jamal, congratulations on being recognized for all of your hard work! We wish you well on your filmmaking journey.