A new PSA called “Mentors” juxtaposes two scenarios involving the game of chess: an austere and eerie one, in which the black pieces spill over from the board, and a brighter, more optimistic view of a mentor and chess. ‘a black mentee playing game in daylight. Produced by Commercial Directing Film School and directed by former student Devin Jordan, “Mentors” was created for Holistic Evolution, serving young men of color between the ages of 16 and 24 in Northwest Indiana. Creative Director Dan Advisor of Leo Burnett Detroit lent his services to the project, as did DP Ben Brady, Writer Susan Munro of Hybrid Collective, Aurastan Music Design and Nice Shoes.
âI met (Holistic Evolution founder) Esther Lewis on the web when I was just trying to be an ally in supporting black-owned businesses,â said Brady, whose Filmmaker’s Diversity program has awarded Commercial Directing Bootcamp grants to 15 filmmakers from underserved communities since 2015. âWhen Devin told me he was cutting his teeth helping black businesses affected by the pandemic, this project was obvious. So I produced with Devin at the helm. I am so grateful to be able to help a nonprofit organization that is changing the lives of young men locally. And having the awesome talents of my friends in the industry was like making stone soup. Which may have been the first Ponzi scheme.
âI thank God for His favor in moving Jordan’s heart to support our work on behalf of the men of color in Northwest Indiana,â Lewis said. âThis PSA and its quality established Holistic Evolution as a higher caliber organization, which I never could have done otherwise. Quality tells donors that we are a reputable and trustworthy organization that is worth their investment. Plus, he humanizes colored males. One of the biggest challenges I face in serving this population is the community’s perception of men of color between the ages of 16 and 24. They are portrayed in a negative light in the media, so of course raising funds to engage them in prevention activities like mentoring has proven to be a challenge. This incredible PSA has done a lot to change the narrative and support Holistic Evolution’s efforts.
âAs a black father and director born and raised in Atlanta, I saw with my own eyes how not having a positive male role model can affect young black men,â said Devin Jordan. âWhen I discovered Holistic Evolution, I was immediately on board to help my community, because our children are the future leaders of tomorrow.
For the advisor, the PSA was a chance to honor the mentorship he had received in the past. âHolistic Evolution is an organization that I felt great to work with because I know that in my own life there have been a few people who have helped me get on the right track and set myself and achieve objectives, âhe said. âI still think of these people today. It is very important to give back and I saw it as a small opportunity to do so. Creatively, Councilor took up the challenge of âtalking about violence without showing itâ, which led to the evolution of the chess analogy.
Starr Session, Executive Producer of Hybrid Collective, added, âAs a women-owned, diverse staff publishing company, we are proud to support Holistic Evolution in their efforts to support our young black men in America. “
For Brady, the project served as a guide for his own mentoring efforts for commercial filmmakers. Its alumni of the Commercial Directing Film School have gained commercial representation, attracted the trade press for their work there, and received nominations for the Cannes Young Director Award and other accolades. The Film School of Business Management is now hosting an Alumni Show, and Brady is proud the school produced a spot for a new director in support of a good cause.
âHelping a noble nonprofit organization that mentors at-risk young men, while creating an opportunity for an emerging director? It’s a win-win! âHe said.