This year, the AXE Collective hosted a wonderful night celebrating new and emerging filmmakers hosted by Mark Duplass and John Legend. The Axe Collective is showcasing the world’s edgiest, most boundary-busting films designed to give aspiring creators resources and platforms to showcase their talents. We sat down with Shema Jones, creator of the short film “A Love Undefined.”
1. What first inspired you to begin your career in film making?
Every since I was a little girl, I was drawn to film and music with a huge appreciation and love of the mediums. I’m sure I inherited the film gene from my Mom (who not only is a film head, but was also an actress and worked behind camera), and the music gene from my Dad (who’s played by ear since a young boy himself and was also a cameraman/producer throughout his life). After being exposed to such classics from, “The Never-ending Story” to “The Color Purple”, I knew I wanted to be an actress and be a part of these worlds of creativity and true storytelling. However, I want to say it wasn’t until I saw “The Bodyguard”, starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner, that I knew for sure I wanted that entire lifestyle, I wanted, no wait, I was GOING to be Rachel Marron (the character Whitney portrayed) haha. Funny, but so true.
I was signed by 10, and ended up working professionally on and off from then to around 19. I even took theatre in Middle School, anything to bring me closer to acting. As I got older, audition to audition, agency to agent, unbooked to booked, I got tired of the hustle and bustle, the ups and downs of “did I get the part”, I knew I had to take my career into my own hands, but at what cost? What was the first step? It wasn’t until many years later, after writing a few scripts of my own and starring in a few shorts, that God dawned on me, “hey, I could do this myself. I can shoot a film.” Hence, “A LOVE UNDEFINED” was born.
2. Where do you draw your inspiration from?
A lot of my inspiration is drawn from my personal life experiences, The Twilight Zone (one of my classic go to’s for inspiration not only in thought, but also the use of minimal tools yet creating a huge impact), my family (their lives, decisions, and overall triumphs), and most importantly, God (my source of life, truth, and understanding).
3. Can you tell us a little bit about what it has been like to be nominated to be part of the AXE Collective?
It’s been a complete honor to now be a part of the AXE Filmmaker Collective and be initiated at the Vanguard Honors at TIFF. It was quite a journey too. Out of nearly 500 submissions, 3 trailers were hand-picked by the incredible Mark Duplass and John Legend to be a part of the AXE Collective, and our “A LOVE UNDEFINED” trailer was one of them. From there we each (the 3 chosen filmmakers) experienced a one-on-one Skype mentor session with Mark, where we literally just meshed and bounced ideas for what’s next to come. It was such an amazing and unforgettable moment. Then we were whisked away on an all-expense paid trip to Toronto for the Vanguard Honors event at TIFF where, long story short, we had breakfast with the head of the AXE North America Division, met one-on-one individually with John, and finally, attended the Vanguard Honors event (the entire place was just immaculate too, in my opinion). We’ve literally been treated like royalty, not just the entire trip, but even before and after the trip. Again, it’s just been such an honor to be a part of this whole experience. AXE has been such great hosts and team players!
4. What are you working on next? Or where can we see your work next?
We get asked a lot, “so, what’s next?”, and I’ve yet to come up with a generic response for it (haaha). However in this case, there is a psychological feature coming down the funnel, that’s been in development for about 3 years now titled, “ALLISON”. After discussing with Mark, it is for sure the next piece in this master puzzle of my career. To follow along, or be up-to-date on what’s happening my twitter/IG handle and film-hub twitter/IG handle are the best routes: @JustShemaBaby and @fiktivFILMS.
5. Any advice for aspiring #CREATORS?
Advice for other #CREATORS and/or filmmakers is this: Believe in and respect yourself and your team. Work harder than you did the day before. And, create great content with the best quality.
Please note, as I say this, it’s advice for myself also. We all need to be reminded or pushed a little further sometimes 😉
Well, I believe that about covers it. If you have any other questions, comments, or thoughts please do not hesitate to contact me. I look forward to hearing from you. And again, thank you for this opportunity to be a part of your site’s content. It’s a pleasure!