Jamil Walker Smith and Brittany Ballard
Our guests for WAMMFest 2012 were Jamil Walker Smith and Brittany Ballard, who showcased their film “The American Dream.”
THE AMERICAN DREAM centers on Luis, a young man who is rejected from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts and decides to attend LA City College instead. Circumstances that seem to overwhelm his passage into manhood and his development as an artist force him to drop out of LACC and join the Marine Corps with his best friend Ronald. Armed with dreams that extend beyond their block, Luis and Ronald make a movie documenting their last 36 hours before shipping off to Afghanistan. In their darkest hour, they turn on the video camera for the last time and document the final moments of their journey home. They soon realize that their dreams and promises of a new life mean nothing in a place called War.
Brittany Ballard (Producer) is the Manager of FILM FORWARD, a joint initiative between Sundance Institute and The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. She is also serving her seventh year as Director of Programming and Festival Producer for Urbanworld Film Festival, presented by BET (NYC). Before forming little plow films with comrade Jamil Walker Smith, Brittany was Head of Acquisitions at Newmarket Films and Programmer at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Brittany produced the indie feature THE AMERICAN DREAM, currently traveling the international festival circuit (including Santa Barbara and Edinburgh International Film Fests). Brittany and Jamil are co-writing and will co-direct the screen adaptation of Ayelet Waldman’s acclaimed novel, Daughter’s Keeper.
Jamil Walker Smith (Writer, Director, Actor)
I was born in a shoe. My mother is a witch in the pagan tradition, which makes her a priest. My father lived in my head which was hip because he could be anything I wanted him to be. He was the monster in the closet, the bunk bed in my dreams, and then he was dead. I decided at age 6 that I was going to change the world, but when I turned 26 I realized I was passing judgement in thinking the world needed to be changed. Overwhelmed by endless possibilities, I decided to clean my room. It was then that I found and turned off the tape that had been running for so long in my head that I mistook the noise for my breath. I then exhaled, and did what I never thought not to tell myself I wouldn’t do: I started a big band. I made my demons the horn section, Brittany Ballard my base, my story the sheet music, and you, my dear friend reading this, our audience.