With every New Year comes a fresh group of creators ready to make their mark within the filmmaking world and Gabrielle Shepard is 2018’s soon to be sought after filmmaker. According to her bio via Deadline, Shepard is a writer, director, and producer on the pursuit of fresh and dynamic projects to bring to life as a writer. She graduated as an MFA Film and Television Producing Fellow in the Conservatory of Motion Pictures as Chapman University. Her films have been programmed in noticeable festivals, such as the Cannes Short Film Festival Corner.
Shepard recently released two short films, Queen and Candid, both of which have been creating some buzz. Queen premiered at the Austin Film Festival and will soon be screened at the upcoming Pan African Film Festival. Shepard wrote Candid as part of the AT&T Hello Lab Mentorship program while being under the mentorship of Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer(Hidden Figues, The Help), who also serves as executive producer alongside Mike Jackson and Shepard for the project.
Queen follows an 11-year-old girl who must survive a night on Skid Row with her mother while crossing into adolescence. According to Shepard, “It is a magically raw, gritty and colorful story told through the eyes of Bobby, a budding African American girl experiencing the transitions of life. The heart of the story lies in the perseverance and strength of Bobby and her mother, Gina, to keep moving forward in a challenging situation.” The coming-of-age drama stars Faune Chambers(Epic Movie) and Brooklyn-Bella.
Candid follows an aspiring street photographer who, faced with the memory of her late mother, takes a surreal journey through Atlanta as she reconciles her future and the relationship with her father. “In the story, Ace and her father are opposite extremes of the spectrum,” states Shepard. “In the end, Mom’s appearance shows the delicate beauty that lives somewhere in the middle. Our hearts break sometimes and it hurts. The point of this film is to show that we can search for the little moments that help sew them back together.” Now available for viewing on the new online streaming platform DirectTV Now or the Direct TV channel, Candid stars Alisha Wainwright(Shadowhunters), Persia White(Girlfriends), and Darren Dewitt Henson(Soul Food).
Recently, I had the pleasure of viewing both projects and they are nothing short of magical. From the very beginning, both films grabbed my attention with both main characters. In Queen, Bobby is looking at the mirror and while that might seem like nothing to most people, this wasn’t any typical look at the mirror. With the situation that Bobby’s in, her look in the mirror sort of turns into a look at another version of herself—the girl she wishes to be? Meanwhile, Candid begins with focus on Ace opening up an acceptance letter. Despite just “meeting” her a minute or two into the project, I found myself rooting for Ace to get accepted into the school of her choice.
Photo Credit: Gabrielle Shepard/Candid/Queen