Howard Film Students Receive Free Screening of Venus as a Boy and Q&A with Director, Writer and Star Ty Hodges – The Hilltop
Olufemi Kalejaiye, Ty Hodges, Jami Ramberan, the deputy chairman of the Department of Media, Journalism and Film Communication, and Gian Franco at the Thursday screening of Venus as a Boy. Photo courtesy of Darreonna Davis
The Department of Media, Journalism and Cinematographic Communication (MJFC) received a free screening of Venus as a boy September 30. Attendees also struck up a conversation with director, screenwriter and lead actor Ty Hodges after watching the film.
Venus as a boy is the first film from Lost Ones Co., a film production and distribution company owned by Hodges and his partner Gian Franco, and it officially premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on June 14, 2021. It portrays an artist who struggles to identify his purpose in life as he feels lost in the world he finds himself in and unresponsive to the box art dealers put him in as a black painter.
Venus as a boy is a French film, where the director had full creative control and used various cinematic techniques, such as flashing lights and flickering cameras, in scenes to help tell a telling story of the Hodegs’ emotions.
A creative element added to the storytelling to highlight the battle of the self is the shadow work present in the film. Shadow work is the psychoanalytic process of exploring different facets of the self, especially those that are often hidden in the shadows. Throughout the film, as the main character faces different obstacles, there are clips of him in the wilderness, symbolizing his lost spirit and different forms of him: childish and innocent and dark and vicious.
Writing, directing, producing, and starring in this film was Hodges’ own form of shadow work, and he described it as therapeutic after reaching a discouraging point in his career when his series , Popular, was fired by Fox in 2016.
“Imagine being an athlete, you get injured and you can’t play basketball anymore? It’s kind of how I felt in my career, ”Hodges recalls.
Out of his frustration, boredom, and desire to try something new, Hodges bought a guitar and began to compose the music audiences will hear throughout. Venus as a boy. It was from there that Hodges began writing for the film. According to the team at the event, it took about two years to make the film.
The film’s ability to reflect humanity, human interaction, stillness and emotion was admirable for students, such as Jade Dedrick, major in television and film.
Dedrick said, “I also admired that the film shows how non-linear healing, self-discovery, and love (of self and others) are. There will always be ups and downs, but you’re fine as long as you keep moving forward.
Although some classified this film as a drama and romance, Hodges proclaimed that it was about self-love and that his ultimate goal was to show a healing black man on screen.
According to his business partner and the film’s producer and executive producer, Franco, Venus as a boy is “a self-love story disguised as a love story”.
This pre-screening was coordinated by Professor Jami Ramberan, Deputy President of MJFC in partnership with the Marketing Department which hosted the screening in the auditorium of the School of Business. According to Professor Ramberan, it is important for her to introduce MJFC students to independent (independent) filmmakers, such as Hodges.
She said, “We continue to bring independent filmmakers like Ty to the campus to allow students to tell various stories that push the boundaries of mainstream media. These artists often have limited resources, but despite this, are able to successfully produce a film and distribute it. We want to show our students that they can do the same, express themselves using all the tools at their disposal and give young filmmakers the power to act on their art.
According to Franco, this won’t be the last of intimate conversations between their cast, crew, and the audience as they are currently planning an HBCU tour.
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