(February 6, 2014)
Alumnus builds on talents, wins best screenplay
SHREVEPORT, LA — Joey Kent '81, recently took home the Best Screenplay award for the feature screenplay Unwed at the Los Angeles Cinema Festival of Hollywood.
Joey Kent at the Beverly Hills Film Festival
Based on a true story, Unwed is a portrait of adoption in the 1960s that follows the journey of a single mother pressured to give her child up to avoid alienation from her community and family. Thirty years later, the mother searches for her son and even despite the anguish and loneliness experiences the transcendence of God's love.
The award winning screenwriter grew up in Shreveport, graduated from Captain Shreve High School, and made his way to Centenary as a sophomore.
"It was fabulous," said Kent. "I never wanted to leave...One of my best friends went to Centenary and kept telling me, 'I'm living it up (at Centenary).' So I said, 'Man, count me in.' I was there the next semester...Centenary has always been a family for me."
Kent was first introduced to the film industry when a filmmaking friend of his was granted $25,000 and ten days to make a movie. Kent offered his restaurant, the Blind Tiger on Texas Street in Shreveport, as part of the backdrop for the film and helped build sets within the space. After the film was complete, Kent's friend and colleagues sold it overseas and generated a return of more than one million dollars.
"From that moment on I thought if they could do that, then I need to try," said Kent.
He and his friend eventually ended up in Nashville and produced nearly 100 country and gospel music videos, giving him great experience, contacts, and exposure to the industry. Later, the movie industry surged in Shreveport giving Kent the perfect excuse to come back home. Since then, Kent has worked on 15 feature films, a number of television shows and dozens of music videos as a set designer, builder, and decorator. Then in 2010, he pursued a new craft in the business: screenwriting.
Kent has received multiple awards for his screenplays: Best Screenplay for The Olive Branch at the 2010 Urban Mediamakers Film Festival in Atlanta, the Rising Star Award for One More River To Cross at the 2011 Canadian International Film Festival, the Orson Welles Award for CiviliTEA at the 2012 California Film Awards, winner of the 2012 Roswell International Film Festival Screenplay Shootout for CiviliTEA; and a finalist in several other festivals as well as a recipient of many honorable mentions and top five awards throughout California and the United States.
While Kent has enjoyed being part of the film industry, he still has one more dream to accomplish.
"I want to be in the 'airport club,'" said Kent. "My dream has always been to be a novelist. In airport (book stores) they have limited rack space...and I always thought if you're one of those (authors), you've made it."
For now, Kent is still content in the film world and has many exciting projects up his sleeve for the new year including elevating the Christian film scene. As he continues his work, he notes he is always looking for investors who may be interested in being part of his projects.
"Ring my phone off the wall," said Kent. "Let's make some movies!"