AYV Sprout Grant Winners: The Fifth

January 20, 2016

Ya’Shalan Nelson, The Fifth (Hayward, USA)

Pushing to bring light to tragedy and to project how people of colour deal with hate crimes, Bay Area based artist Ya’Shalan Nelson brings forth her latest project entitled “The Fifth”. The story of the film, inspired by Nina Simone’s rendition of Strange Fruit, “pushes audiences to face trauma directly and to engage in conversation on such events as a part of community awareness, cultural development, and de-stigmatizing media outlets.”

The plot consists of two young men who stumble upon a corpse in the woods, a young woman. They relieve her from the unfortunate scene, and proceed to get help. One stays behind and shuffles through her belongings. He tries to piece together a potential identity. “Ultimately, my goal as writer-director is aiming to give her life again.”

During her high school years, she discovered a love for digital media for which she now invests most of her time. “I’m immersed in digital media culture and I believe it’s my destiny to create stories with a purpose, to add to equations in hopes for solutions.”

Her inspiration was further replenished by the initiatives of her classmates in the AYV program. “Seeing other young people fight for their dreams by making art has inspired me to continue with my voice and make art.”

While preparing to host a premiere event in her hometown of Hayward early in the year of 2016 with the cast and crew, Ya’Shalan keeps growing her aspirations. “Hopefully the film is successful domestically and internationally, and everyone involved will form new thoughts and have fresh perspectives on globalization, humanization, and consider their own steps in taking action on behalf of others.”

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