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PROFILE

Barry Jenkins Guest
Barry Jenkins

filmmaker

Academy Award winner BARRY JENKINS was born and raised in Miami, FL. A Florida State University graduate, Jenkins’ feature film debut, MEDICINE FOR MELANCHOLY, was hailed as one of the best films of 2009 byThe New York Timesand received several Independent Spirit and Gotham Award nominations.

Jenkins along with playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney received an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for his second feature MOONLIGHT, which won Best Picture at both the Oscars and the Golden Globes (Drama). As well as earning eight Academy Award nominations, ten Broadcast Critics Choice Awards nominations, six Golden Globe nominations and four BAFTA nominations, MOONLIGHT won Best Picture and Director at the Gotham Awards and Best International Film by the British Independent Film Awards. In addition to NYFCC and NBR awarding Jenkins Best Director and LAFCA naming him Best Director and the film Best Picture, Jenkins is the recipient of a DGA Best Director nomination and the winner of the WGA Award for Best Original Screenplay.

Jenkins directed an episode in the first season of the Netflix Original Series DEAR WHITE PEOPLE. Upcoming projects include the feature film adaptation of James Baldwin’s novel IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK for Annapurna and an adaptation of National Book Award winner Colson Whitehead’s THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD for Amazon, both of which he will pen and direct. He’s also writing a script for a coming of age drama based on the life of the first American Female Olympic boxing champ Clarissa “T-Rex” Shields.

Jenkins, who currently resides in Los Angeles, is a curator at the Telluride Film Festival and a United States Artists Smith Fellow.

FROM Barry Jenkins

The Business

Barry Jenkins and Adele Romanski: Moonlight The new movie Moonlight tells the story of Chiron, who grows up black, poor and gay in Miami. Early in the film, when classmates chase him into an abandoned building, he falls under the protection of Juan, played by Mahershala Ali. Like all the characters in Moonlight, Juan is complicated. He's a drug dealer who takes an interest in Chiron, and is able to serve as a parent figure when his mother, played by Naomie Harris, cannot. Later we see Chiron as a high-schooler and then as a young adult, trying to make his way in a world that is unwilling accept him. Three different actors portray Chiron at the various stages of his life. This is the second movie for writer-director Barry Jenkins. He made his first film, Medicine for Melancholy, on a $15,000 production budget with a loan from a friend. Eight years passed before Jenkins was back with Moonlight. Producer Adele Romanski and Jenkins went to film school together at Florida State. When we sat down with them, Jenkins told us that growing up in the same poverty-stricken Miami neighborhood as his main character, he had no thought of becoming a filmmaker. He explains what made him pursue filmmaking, how he encountered the play he eventually adapted to become Moonlight, and how a tough-love phone call from Romanski kicked the process into gear. Moonlight premiered to rave reviews at Telluride and is now in the awards race. Jenkins told us he had no idea how the film would be received since for most people, the world portrayed in the film is a "world apart" from most people's experiences, but he's been "consistently amazed at how much people are seeing of themselves in the film."

22 MIN, 18 SEC Nov 14, 2016

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