(Featured photo – Shandrea Evans (center) after receiving the audience award for Saturday.)
An Augusta native’s semi-autobiographical short film won an award at a recent Los Angeles film festival.
Shandrea Evans’ film Saturday won the audience award at the Deutsche Bank Frieze Los Angeles Film Award.
About a woman who is homesick after moving to Los Angeles, Saturday shares the story of her connection with a great aunt living in the area. Through that relationship, she discovers her new home and its history through a different lens.
”It’s a love letter,” said Evans, a 2008 graduate of John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School.
It pays tribute to various places including her hometown of Augusta as well as the people who’ve influenced her life and helped her on her journey.
Evans was one of nine Deustche Bank Frieze Film Award fellows who were in the running for the award.
“The fellows share their experiences as young filmmakers and reflect on being mentored by professionals and specialists in the industry during the Ghetto Film School led program, working to develop their scripts and short films responding to this year’s theme of ‘Identity,’” according to the Frieze website.
The film was part of the Frieze Los Angeles art fair Feb. 16-19. Evans received a $2,500 prize. View Saturday here.
Evans introduced to film through Augusta Mini Theatre
Evans’ road to filmmaking started long before she ever went to Davidson. Her first exposure to film festivals came through her involvement with the Augusta Mini Theatre.
“Mrs. Butler was my teacher most of my time there. We went on a field trip to the National Black Theater Festival in Winston-Salem,” she said.
That trip planted the seed of belief. It showed her the career possibilities for creating stories and putting them on film.
Tyrone and Judith Simon-Butler also taught Evans the core of theater and seeing Tyrone Butler put on plays that he’d written also planted another seed within her.
Her time at Davidson also opened up other aspects of dramatic arts.
In Michael Hennessy’s audio-visual class, she watched Star Wars with a critical eye, dissecting it for its filmmaking techniques.
“I’d never experienced anything like that,” she said.
She also attributes Betty Walpert and Heather Davidson, the school’s drama teachers, with providing her the experiences of multiple thespian conferences that solidified her love for and understanding of the dramatic arts.
At the University of Georgia, she studied marketing and advertising and learned the business side of creativity. From UGA, she had the opportunity to study abroad with the Cannes Film Festival.
During her career, she’s held a variety of roles from production assistant on the bottom rung of the ladder to directing, writing and producing. She’s worked on the creative side as well as the business side of the entertainment industry.
Her resume includes experiences ranging from working at NBCUniversal for a few years to being a shadow director for Prentice Penny, executive producer, writer and director of HBO’s Insecure, for an episode of season 4 in 2019 to writing and producing her own films.
In addition to Saturday, she wrote and directed Bloom, which is currently in post-production.
“It’s based on growing up in Augusta,” she said.
It was filmed here in October 2021. She received a Film Impact Georgia grant to produce it.
“I hired cast and crew, about 80% from Augusta,” she said.
Evans wanted to cast professionals in her hometown even though a post on TikTok about the film brought in audition inquiries from other parts of the globe.
She hopes to have the completed film within the next few months and wants to have its premiere in Augusta.
Charmain Z. Brackett is the publisher of Augusta Good News. Reach her at email@example.com. Sign up to have good news delivered to your inbox here.