It's okay to not be okay.
Project type: Narrative Short
Project status: Production
Co-Director: Brandi Nicole Payne
Co-Director: Jen West
Director of Photography: Alexxiss Jackson
Production Designer: Lauren Yisrael
Intimacy Coordinator: Camille Monae
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A seemingly happy woman is thrown for a loop after an unexpected run-in leads her to a startling realization.
Joy, a woman who finds baking is her happy place, swirls an assembly line of cupcakes. When her boss tells her there’s a customer who’s ordered one with extra sprinkles, she proudly carries it out to find an adorable 5-yr-old anxiously waiting. Having a way with children, they instantly connect.
The girls’ father comes from the back and Joy turns to see a familiar face that’s an unwelcome blast from the past. A mild panic attack ensues and as she tries to keep calm her mind is flooded with complicated memories, leading her to a startling realization.
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Meet the Filmmakers
Brandi Nicole Payne — Co-Director
Brandi Nicole Payne is an actor, writer and survivor advocate who splits her time between Memphis, Atlanta and LA. An HBO Access Writing Fellow, her work has been featured on television and won multiple awards at film festivals across the country. MUTED, a short film she wrote and produced about media discrepancy when a child of color goes missing, starring Chandra Wilson and Malcolm- Jamal Warner was acquired by HBO, selected for the Ryan Murphy Half Initiative Program and to date has just over 165k views on YouTube via Issa Rae’s #ShortFilmSundays. Brandi followed that up by being awarded the Emergence Filmmaker Grant for her short ALOHA, a film about a new mom dealing with an unexpected pregnancy complication. Since then, she’s starred in the indie feature THE MENTOR, worked in various support staff roles and recently co-wrote her first TV freelance episode for HAPPY FACE (Paramount+). Brandi’s incredibly excited to be making SPIN as a proof of concept for what she hopes will be her first feature. A proud HBCU grad and member of RAINN’s Speakers Bureau, her goal as a writer, filmmaker and actor is to use story to spark discussion, create community and help facilitate healing.
Jen West — Co-Director
When Jen West isn’t traveling the country in her converted school bus, she’s immersed in creating films based on bold female characters, oftentimes from the Deep South. She is known for writing and directing short indie films like Piece of Cake, Crush, Bubble, Little Cabbage, and the St. Paul and the Broken Bones’ music video Call Me (over 1 million views). West also produced The New Orleans Sazerac and Bottomless, which were official selections of the 2016 Emerging Filmmaker Showcase in the American Pavilion as part of the Cannes Film Festival. She is the first filmmaker to have two projects accepted in the same year to the program. West was a Stowe Story Labs 2017 fellow with her feature screenplay Electric Bleau, of which was named a Finalist for the 2018 Park City Table Read My Screenplay competition. She directed the Cucalorus Film Festival’s annual commissioned Blue Velvet performance installation Bus to Lumberton in November of 2019. West was a Cucalorus creative resident in 2016.
Alexxiss Jackson — Director of Photography
Alexxiss Jackson is a Director of Photography and Camera Operator with over 15 years of experience in the industry, as well as an Adjunct Cinematography Professor at Spelman College. She has served as Director of Photography on narrative films, commercials, branded content and music videos, and has lensed for entities such as Vogue Magazine, BET+/Tyler Perry Studios, and Kroger. Her work has been recognized by a number of international bodies across the United States, Canada, Australia, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Spain, the Netherlands, and the UK.
Alexxiss was spotlighted on Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls in March 2018. That year she was also invited to speak at TERMINUS Conference + Festival, where she presented the well-received seminar: “Cinematography: Crafting a Look with Lenses and Filters.” She has appeared on numerous panels, podcasts, radio interviews, etc. to speak about cinematography and what it’s like to be a woman of color in the film industry.
Alexxiss completed the Summer Film Program at the University of Southern California and holds a dual degree in Film/Video Studies and English from the University of Michigan. She is a member of the Society of Camera Operators (SOC), Sporas, and the International Collective of Female Cinematographers (ICFC).
Lauren Yisrael — Production Designer
Lauren Yisrael is an Atlanta based Production Designer and Art Director who loves collaborating with local Indie filmmakers. With a bachelor’s of Construction Management from Kennesaw State University and a background in Energy conservation, she strives to create sustainable designs by utilizing thrifted treasures and repurposing forgotten items. In early 2021, Lauren had the opportunity to Production Design for the short film, Counting Down, a period piece which sheds light on mental health. She was awarded with best production design from the Los Angeles Cinematography Awards (LACA) Film Festival. When she isn’t thrifting, Lauren can be found camping with her Husband, painting nature, or picking wildflowers in the Georgia countryside.
Camille Monae – Intimacy Coordinator
Camille Monae is an Actor, Intimacy Coordinator and Director based in Atlanta, GA. She is a proud member of the inaugural cohort class of Intimacy Coordinators of Colors and trained under Theatrical Intimacy Education and Intimacy Director and Coordinators. She is a native Texan with an MFA in Theatre Production and Design and a Masters of Science in Nonprofit Management. She has been an actor on stage and screen for 20 years and is a fierce advocate for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Arts and for the promotion of safe sets and stages for people of all backgrounds and experiences.
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