Shawn Antoine II is a Harlem bred award winning filmmaker on the rise. The New York City native has quickly built an impressive resume that includes graduating from The University of Rhode Island, working as an apprentice with NBC’s hit show “The Blacklist”, being named “Best New Director” by the Hip-Hop Film Festival and having his latest film “Showtime” be selected for 47 film festivals.
On Tuesday, May 26th “Showtime” will be making it’s national television debut on Magic Johnson’s Aspire TV Network as part of Urban Indie Film Block. I got the chance to speak with Shawn (who happens to be a long time friend) about Showtime, it’s soundtrack, his inspirations and much more. Check out our conversation below.
Shawn’s journey as a film director began 5 years ago with a film titled “The Movement” .
The film highlighted the Black Lives Matter Movement in New York City. Shawn’s directing style is directly influenced by his upbringing in Harlem.
“Harlem in itself is another world, my directing style is creating worlds that exist in the inner city providing a new perspective on things. On Showtime, I show what these kids go through when they leave the train. Bringing people on a new journey that they don’t know much about.”
Shawn however wasn’t always interested in directing. His first love was sports, football in particular. Sports not only pushed Shawn to take on leadership roles that he states correlates to directing but gave him an early start in video editing by hooking up teammates highlight tapes.
Inspired by New York City filmmakers Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee ,& Darren Aronofsky. Shawn took on the mantra “Inform and Inspire” through his films. He has done just that, directing 9 short films and producing 2 having his most recent film “Showtime” be selected for 47 film festivals and earning him Best Director by the Hip Hop Film Festival.
“It feels good a lot of work went into the project and it’s great that a black run film festival was the first to award me on the film”Shawn Antoine on winning Best Director
Showtime was created to tell the story of the tens of thousands of NYC youth that perform on New York City’s public transportation daily.
“People come across tens and thousands of these kids performing a day but don’t really know their stories so I wanted to show what trials and tribulations they go through on a daily basis”.
Airing on Magic Johnson’s Aspire TV Network means a lot to Shawn because it gives black filmmakers a chance to showcase their art which doesn’t happen often.
It’s dope Magic is an idol both as an athlete and entrepreneur. He’s giving black filmmakers a chance to showcase their art which doesn’t happen. For him to partner with Mcdonadls is a blessing. We’re definitely becoming more skilled and more eyes are on everyone looking to see who’s next
One of the things that makes Showtime such a great watch is it’s authenticity. Not only was the film based off of everyday life in New York City, the actors and soundtrack embody the Big Apple to the fullest. The films soundtrack features music from emerging acts such as Sabu Bu Dahbi & Asylum Records signee Hass Irv as well as production from Remi on the Roxx & Rico ReekRhythm Welch.
“I really wanted to make sure the artist came from NYC. The music goes along with the dance form and the music represents the style of the dance”.
ReekRhythm who doubles as a music producer and owner of Harlem based Sonice Branding Company “A Rhythm By ReekRhythm LLC” said it was an honor to provide to Showtime because it genuinely captured the essence of NYC underground urban dance music.
“I fully believe that Litefeet is the next bboy or breaking movement. Not only does it emulate breaking, it derives from the same source (Harlem & The Bronx). Like breaking & bboying litefeet can’t be faked, you know when you see genuine and practiced litefeet when you see and hear it. It’s a distinct sound and emotion.”
Emerging producer and Bronx native Remi On The Rox was also happy to contribute to a film that harps on NYC culture.
“It was a great experience that I was apart of something so cultural for NYC. Growing up in NYC, subway dancing is apart of our commute and I feel that it isn’t spoken about enough or bought into the light . For the most part , everyone likes a good train performance from tourist to native New Yorkers. I’m glad Shawn did a film shedding light on such an unspoken art and I’m honored to collaborate with him on his vision.”
With Showtime airing on such a huge platform more attention & expectations are naturally going to gravitate towards Shawn. In the future we can expect more projects and some short films that will be produced by the filmmaker .
Shouting out Joel Leech the main star who plays Darius as well as everybody that was involved due to the collaborative effort. Shawn also dropped off some advice for directors on the rise:
“Know the story you’re talking about, make sure it’s a story you know. The more you film the more confident you’ll get. Nobody gets it the first time.”
Showtime will be airing this Tuesday May 26th via Aspire TV be sure to check the Aspire TV link below for more details and be sure to check out Shawn’ website below to see what he has in the works.