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UT Arlington professor wins acclaim for new short film

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Monday, February 21, 2011

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Media Contact: Bridget Lewis, Office:817-272-3317, Cell:214-577-9094, blewis@uta.edu

ARLINGTON - Ya’Ke Smith picked up a camera when he was 15, and never put it down.

The director and assistant professor of film/video/screenwriting in the UT Arlington College of Liberal Arts is now receiving critical acclaim for his work behind the camera. His latest film, “Katrina’s Son,” recently won the 2011 Black Reel Award for Best Indie Short.

“This group has honored filmmaker Spike Lee and actor Wesley Snipes,” Smith said. “You’re in competition with some pretty well-known people. So this is a huge award.”

Scene from Katrinas Son by Yake Smith

“Katrina’s Son” tells the story of a young boy who loses his grandmother during Hurricane Katrina and travels to San Antonio in search of the mother who abandoned him years earlier. The film will be shown on Wednesday, Feb. 23 and Thursday, Feb. 24, at the Texas Black Film Festival in Dallas.

In addition to the Black Reel Award, “Katrina’s Son” has been a winner in several major film festivals accredited by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Such an accomplishment makes Smith eligible to submit his film for the short film category of the 2012 Oscars.

Beth Wright, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, said the myriad of awards gathered by “Katrina’s Son,” demonstrate national and international recognition of work of exceptional talent, intelligence, and compassion.

“We are fortunate that Professor Smith’s exceptional abilities as a filmmaker are matched by his teaching excellence, and that he is contributing to the education of undergraduate and graduate art student majors,” Wright added.

Smith is currently teaching a graduate film course and directing workshop where UT Arlington students will learn how to direct actors. He also is trying to drum up support for his next film.

Visit www.exodusfilmworks.com to learn more about Smith’s work or to watch a trailer of “Katrina’s Son.” For more information about the College of Liberal Arts, visit uta.edu/libarts/.

The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive undergraduate and graduate research institution of more than 34,000 students in the heart of North Texas. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more.

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