Journalism Student's Documentary Set to Screen in Three Film Festivals

Film poster, above, and filmmaker Obed Lamy, below.

Film poster, above, and filmmaker Obed Lamy, below.

A Promising Voice, created by Obed Lamy, a Fulbright Scholar and graduate student in the School of Journalism and Strategic Media, will screen at three film festivals this fall.

The first, Arkansas Cinema Society, is scheduled for Oct. 1-4 at a drive-in theater in Little Rock. Lamy's film will also be screened virtually at Black Bear Film Festival and the Fayetteville Film Festival in November. All screenings will be free of charge.

The Fayetteville Film Festival screening will take place during the "Student Documentary Shorts" block from a video streaming link that will be on the Fayetteville Film Festival website. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Lamy and the other student filmmakers. More information and the festival schedule will be available Oct. 1.

The documentary chronicles the journey of Department of Music alumnus Dekarius Dawson as an African American first-generation student on a predominantly white University of Arkansas campus.

In a feature Lamy wrote about Dawson and the film this summer for Arkansas Soul, Dawson recounts the culture shock he experienced when arriving on campus.

''How do you handle being the only black student in a class where the topic of discussion of the day would be civil rights? I was the stereotype they would discuss,'' Dawson said. The weight of responsibility laid on his shoulders to ''educate people about my race'' was enormous, he added. 

The film originated as a larger story about the experiences of Black students on campus. And Lamy said he had no clue how timely the film would become when the project began in fall 2019.

"Obed identified the subject, produced and shot the film all within a few weeks' time, pre-COVID, and before the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and other victims of systemic racism and police brutality catapulted the world into a new Civil Rights movement," said Colleen Thurston, assistant professor in the School of Journalism and Strategic Media and Lamy's faculty advisor.

"What Obed has accomplished here is to present a story of adversity, injustice, racism and ignorance in a hopeful light and demonstrate that it truly is possible for one person to make a difference," Thurston said. "In these times, when racial injustice is at the forefront of our minds, sharing the stories of change makers like Dekarius provides hope for a more just and equitable society, campus and America."

Lamy said he hopes the film will implore audiences to look beyond the numbers, and to learn what it takes to make a college campus more diverse and inclusive.

"Growing up in Haiti, the question of race is not so central in the everyday discussion, and the Black experience is different from that of people of color in American society. It was intentional for me to portray a personal story that inspires others and offers insights on what it takes to make college campuses more inclusive and diverse," Lamy said.

View the trailer of the film on Vimeo.

About the School of Journalism and Strategic Media: The School of Journalism and Strategic Media is dedicated to excellence in teaching, research and media discourse. Students in our journalism degree programs receive instruction, guidance and access to hands-on experience from our seasoned, award-winning faculty and staff. Areas of study include news editorial and reporting, broadcast, public relations, advertising and digital media. @uarkjournalism

About the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences: The Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences is the largest and most academically diverse unit on campus with three schools, 16 departments and 43 academic programs and research centers. The college provides the majority of the core curriculum for all University of Arkansas students.


Niketa Reed, teaching assistant professor
School of Journalism and Strategic Media


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