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.”
“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
In addition to the Black Reel Award,
“Katrina’s Son” has been a winner in several major film festivals accredited by
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.
The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.