Professor honored at Tallahassee film festival

The Tallahassee Film Society celebrated its 2005 showcase by honoring Black Cinema filmmakers, writers and actors. This year TFS highlighted local independent film artists.

Kenneth Jones, a professor of broadcast journalism at Florida A & M University is one of the featured guests at this year’s event. As the TFS highlights the works of Black film, one of Jones’ most recent productions, “Love and Fate,” will be on exhibition at this year’s festivity.

“Love and Fate,” is a love story that takes place at a home for the mentally ill. When the character Isaiah falls for Claudia, he struggles to accept the love she has for the patient’s that has become somewhat of a surrogate family to her.

This movie has managed to travel beyond the perimeter of Tallahassee and into television networks such as Starz and Encore where the regional production has been shown to audiences abroad.

On Feb. 4, Jones’ film will be rolled from its reel and projected onto the silver screen at the R. A. Gray Building Auditorium 500 Bronough Street at 7 p.m.

Jones’ love for the camera began when he was a 5th grader at Pineview Elementary, where his guidance counselor asked him and his classmates ‘what did they want to be when they got older?’ Jones smiles, then says, “I was anxious to answer. I said I wanted to be a writer and a director.”

Professor Jones, indeed grew up, and his unrelenting ardor for writing provided for him the path to FAMU where he studied as a broadcast journalism student in 1988. As he trekked up the Hill in pursuit of accomplishing a childhood dream, his niche for writing produced volumes of romantic love stories and poems dealing with the throes of a young man’s love.

With writing beckoning to him from a distant childhood, coupled with his intense desire to master the art and science of broadcast journalism-he toyed with the idea of creating his very own feature film.

In 1991, Jones was one of twenty-four students meticulously selected to attend the Florida State University Film School. There, he excelled with a Master’s of Fine Arts (MFA) degree and had produced his apprentice film, “The Clearing,” that would soon enough serve as a plateau for his other works such as “Alpha and Omega,” “Psychedelic Shack” and “Love and Fate.” “Rosewood,” the first docudrama of the movie was produced by Jones before it was made into a major motion film in 1998.

Though Jones has garnered regional, national and international credits as an independent film producer, he believes that the TFS will greater expose the surrounding community at large to independent black films and create an interest in people to make creative works of their own. Passionately, he views teaching as his motivating catalyst to succeed both personally and professionally for his lens-focused-students. “It’s a privilege to teach, especially at Historically Black Universities and Colleges. It’s important to bring professional skills back to the training ground. The student’s skills have to be shaped. I’m not teaching my students to become successful and be done with it-the goal is to pass the knowledge on- bring that professional knowledge back to the new student’s of the broadcast journalism program.”

In his office, he digs through his book bag with one hand, reaches for a pen resting on top of his desktop calendar and conducts business with a phone cradled between his ear and raised right shoulder-all apart of the process of dividing his deeply demanded attention.

He breathes, introspection settles over him as the smile pinned to the corners of his lips and up into his cheeks dissipate, “I love to teach,” he continues “I love my students-our students. I see so much talent everyday…from the time they enter through those doors (Tucker Hall third floor) fresh out of high school, I see talent but, I teach my students that talent alone is not enough. My goal for my students is not to get a good job but get a very good job in broadcast journalism.”

He speaks with a father’s instruction concerning wisdom and life’s education from his experiences.

“Once a student has gotten past high school-college, then becomes the massaging discipline of gaining the professional skills of their crafts.”

Jones gives no thought to apprehension when he says, “I don’t want my students to waste their talents. There are a lot of talented people in the grave who cannot implement those talents and dreams.”

As a professor, a father, a mentor, an independent filmmaker, writer, director and producer; he continues to shoot from his camera-for the stars. He peers off into space or perhaps, an ideal future film. He’s returned from space with this affirmation, “If I shoot for the stars I may land on the moon. However, if ‘I’ don’t shoot for the stars, I may never know where ‘I ‘ may have landed and that’s what I expect for my student’s to do – that’s all I’ve ever known: Aiming high.

Contact Jarrell Douse at