J-School Journals return to Lee Hall Friday

Filmmakers and producers (left to right): Ruelle Fludd, Stanley Danzey, Titilayo Okuwa, Cori Bostic, Simone Williams, Vanessa Lawrence, Kwame Manu
Photo courtesy Alexis Hamilton

Florida A&M University’s School of Journalism & Graphic Communication will present J-School Journals, a biannual documentary series, at 6 p.m. Friday in Lee Hall Auditorium.

The screenings will lay bare issues within the legal system and overall societal issues in the Tallahassee and surrounding community. In addition to the debut of two films written, produced, directed and edited by students, the 2019 Homecoming Special will premiere.

Professor Kenneth Jones, a 23-year faculty member in  SJGC, is the man behind this event. He created a space for broadcast and print journalists, public relations, graphic design and musical performance students to showcase their talents; There will be a musical performance at this year’s J-School Journals.

“A great part of my inspiration was that we were – the students were creating wonderful documentaries, strong documentaries and we did not have a [public] showcase for them,” Jones said. “And I’ve always wanted to – as much as I could, showcase the incredible works of students on our campus to the general public.”

He added, “And so that’s the main inspiration, to showcase … these diamonds in the rough.”

This year’s filmmakers and producers are Stanley Danzey of Jacksonville, Vanessa Lawrence of Daytona, Ruelle Fludd of Miami, Titilayo Okuwa of Orlando, Simone Williams of Clarkston, MI., Kwame Manu of St. Louis and Cori Bostic of Atlanta.

Fludd, a graduating journalism major, has played a key role in the screening twice now, once as a host and now as a producer and videographer.

“Last semester I got my feet wet with J-School Journals by hosting the event. I got a sneak peek into how the class works and it really sparked my interest in taking the class,” Fludd said. “And now only a few months later I’m producing the Homecoming Special and co-producing/editing a 15-minute documentary … It’s been a challenge but the fruits of our labor will show in the next few days.”

The students have been working on these documentaries for most of the semester and Fludd is not the only one looking forward to seeing their work in front of a live audience. Titilayo Okuwa, producer and editor of a premiering specialized film, has aspirations of her own.

“I’m hoping that the audience has something to reflect on and really starts to formulate how they want to be activists in their own right and hold their representatives accountable,” Okuwa said.

J-School Journals has been increasing awareness and encouraging conversations about local issues for more than 14 years and this tradition is expected to carry on. J-School Journals hopes to draw its largest crowd yet at this year’s showcase.