GINA CAREY THE FIRST BLACK FEMALE FILMMAKER OF PALM SPRINGS
Article by: Veronica Ogunbolarin
All through the era and genre, history is made continuously in the American movie industry, Hollywood – The oldest film industry where several styles of movies and production companies emerged.
Several prominent actors, directors, editors, and filmmakers have come up to hold the mandate and will to create the perfect atmosphere during the period of movie production.
Every one of these people has their roles to play for the successful completion of any movie from the Storywriter to the Director and then the Actors. Let’s not forget the Cameramen and Editors too; they are all essential parts of the process.
Despite each cast and crew have their specific roles to play during movie productions, some people have two or more job descriptions such as the filmmakers- In layman’s terms; anyone who can tell a story with a camera. However, don’t we all have a story to tell? It is how we show them that determine people’s reactions, whether good or bad. So, there is more to just saying a story. As a filmmaker, they are trying to say something that they would like to see hence create it into existence that is unique- the uniqueness which is often up for debate. They are one who can lead with a goal and vision to fulfill the collective purpose. They are involved in the scripting, budgeting, casting, hiring, pre-production, production, post-production, release processes, all the behind the scene works, but in some cases, some even appear on the scene.
The history of film making began with the Lumiere brothers in France; Auguste Lumiere and Louis Lumiere and Edison in the US. They are said to be the first filmmakers in history- from their innovations to their narrative film making and over time through civilization and technology, we have seen several records of success stories of different filmmakers among the different genres, race, gender, social and religious boundaries. We now have several movies and short plays that are ensured to keep the viewers glued with best casts, graphics, locations, and storylines – special thanks to the filmmakers who continually oversee the movie from the development stage to the finished product. The saying; ‘There is so much to do now, but only few time is left’ is correct when it comes to Hollywood and film making as different movies are released daily touching different story, group, beliefs, age, and fantasy, but we have only about 5 hours of free time per day. Not enough to watch all our favorite movies and it is even harder to select what to view from the hundreds available to us!
Gina Carey; Making history against all odd –
The film industry has been challenging for women, black women especially, to break into and according to Nsenga Burton ‘the film industry remains predominantly white and male.’ There is a substantial amount of work created by black women filmmakers extending back to the early part of this century. However, the actions are overlooked by the distributors as well as critical review analyses.
This issue with women and black women filmmakers is not the lack of involvement but the degree of influence given to them which makes them go unnoticed despite their active contributions to the movie industry. Even till recent, statistics in Europe showed that only about sixteen percent of filmmakers are women while in America, female filmmakers make just about six percent. However, there is something more to what women are putting on film all over the world, and in Palm Springs, Coachella Valley, CA, Gina Carey is working to promote this fact.
Being a female filmmaker herself and understanding the challenges that come with it, she aims to push for the growth of female filmmakers and local acts in the US as well as promoting the black history all around her city, and in California as a whole- a purpose that is quite hard to achieve but promising nonetheless. Being the first female African American filmmaker in Palm Spring CA, she has witnessed first-hand the struggles and challenges involved, but with determination, success is certain. Her favorite quote- weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning’ gives her constant hope to push onward.
Ranked by her prestigious community, Gina Carey is positioned as the first African American female filmmaker in Palm Spring, CA. Her style of film that ranges from poetic to religious to daring and romantic has earned her the position- with excellent works, performances, and inspiration in any genre of film that sits in your hearts and won’t let go. She is determined to make films out of the ordinary that ensures to connect people, their family, faith, and struggles. Born in Chicago and raised in Los Angeles, Gina Carey is a black woman who has been entertaining people with songs her whole life from her church to her neighborhood. She has found success in music as a songwriter and has recorded different songs with prominent producers and artists and even made number 1 spot on UK gospel charts.
However, maybe like any other person, she didn’t always know that her creative thinking and leadership skills, as well as her patience, will be a stepping stone to producing her material in the entertainment industry, particularly in filmmaking. With the many challenges involved in film making, you need a lot of patience and creativity to work with the several casts- attributes she embedded on herself right from time. This probably has contributed to her success story so far, as they say- Teamwork is a goal.
Gina Carey believes that ‘While creating a movie, you want to have your voice and express it in your way, but the only way to that is if you are in control of the whole work’- that is how it works being a filmmaker. And so far so good, her first feature film captured a wide range of audience and has earned her recognition in her community- even though it started as some first-time amateur work when her stage play turned to a film she had to capture herself because her lead role couldn’t make it to the scene.
Starting as a self-taught filmmaker with no desire for fame, Gina developed a love for movie production in 2016 when she ended up filming her movie ‘The Unexpected’- a faith-inspired drama because one of her acts couldn’t make it. Although, ‘it came out horrible, blurry and was quite embarrassing but isn’t that the usual with first-timers?’ She says.
‘My first movie was horrible, but I used it as a tutorial to learn my mistakes and get better’ she said. Gina Carey was the director, editor, writer, producer, art director, make-up artist, supervisor and executive producer of her first film ‘The unexpected.’ It is a whole lot of work for one person but believing that teamwork creates perfection, she worked diligently with her local acts to create a full-length film that earned her the Nevada International Film Festival Award on November 15, 2016. Indeed, it was unexpected, and she believes that is more reason to aim for perfection.
Since then, she has taken the role to heart and has become a filmmaker and independent producer of six feature films.
Gina Carey is the first African American Female Feature Filmmaker in Palm Spring, Coachella Valley CA. She is a prominent producer of Family and Christian films and is described as ‘The Mother Theresa of the film industry.’ Being the help of inspiring acts and providing them with an opportunity to get their first experience in a film while pushing them to succeed in areas they thought they couldn’t. She is deemed the backbone of future acts as most of her casts got their hard authenticity and first film experience by being in her movies. ‘There is always such a beauty in a huge heart everybody experiences’ she says.
Like with many female independent filmmakers, starting was a struggle where one woman has to fill the role of producer, writer, editor, cinematographer, and director to create a unique movie while being self-sponsored. Being a filmmaker is much work but being a filmmaker with little to no sponsorship? That is a whole lot of challenges. Moreover, being the first African American Female Filmmaker in your community? That’s another level of hard work, and this is why Gina Carey believes it is more important to maintain consistency and improvement while holding the status quo.
‘Being self-sponsored remains the greatest challenge in film making because in this business to move to the next stage, it is imperative that you make yourself more visible in the competitive world of arts and social media and you need money to do this.’
‘Without the proper amount of funding, it is challenging although not impossible to succeed as a filmmaker, and this might slow down the process of possible advancement in the entertainment industry’ said Carey.
However, we got to try, don’t we?. Her persistence to be a successful filmmaker despite being self-sponsored spurred her to establish her own independent film company ‘Gina Carey films’ in Palm Spring Coachella Valley, CA. Which so far so good has successfully released six feature films within three years where she was the writer, producer, director, editor of her feature films while making use of local talents and materials;
The One Year Pact 2018 The Assumptions 2017 Aspire to Inspire 2016 The Unexpected- 2016
She is currently working on her new film- ‘The star connection’ that is set to be released soon.
Her movies best known are; ‘Rose England’ and ‘Acts of Kindness,’ and many of her feature films have earned her some awards and nominations;
November 15, 2016; Nevada International Film Festival Award Winner- The Unexpected November 24, 2016; IndustryBoost Competition Finalist- The Assumption
December 1, 2016; Hollywood Screenings Film Festival Semi-Finalist- The Assumption April 21, 2017; The Miami Epic Trailer Festival Award Winner- The Assumption September 7, 2017; Los Angeles Cinefest Finalist- The One Year Pact
October 2, 2017; The Cinemafest Award Winner- The One Year Pact.
Aside from benefitting from these awards, Gina Carey also launched the first annual Coachella Valley Indie Film Awards in 2017- an event to award and recognize independent filmmakers producing low budget films as well as give local actors a chance to be known for their talents.
You’d be forgiven to think that the best days of Gina is only as the first Female African American Filmmaker in Palm Spring CA. Maybe her best movies are in the past because the big places where most of the movie productions happen have gotten too difficult to find cheap rents that a self-sponsor filmmaker like herself relies on profoundly. Gina Carey, however, promises constant improvements and growth while supporting her movie career as a vocalist and stylist. So, maybe you think we can’t see another Ava Marie DuVernay anytime soon but, somehow the works of Gina Carey will continue, not just in Palm Springs CA and Coachella Valley but all over where she is fostering aggressive acts and directors who are interested in making different movies.
Despite the skyrocketing cost of living and hostility in the movie industry, Gina is staying put in Palm Spring CA, rather than moving to New York or L.A. She will be making California proud in few years to come, not only as the first female African American filmmaker in Palm Spring but as one of the most groundbreaking independent female filmmaker. She acknowledges being an amateur with room for growth so it is best to keep an eye on her because sooner or later, Gina Carey is going to be a big deal you might see soon on a list of Oscar-nominated films.
GINA CAREY: SINGER, SONGWRITER, PRODUCER & DIRECTOR
Article by: By Noe Gutierrez | CV Weekly
Gina Carey wears too many hats to name. The multi-faceted soul singer/songwriter and film producer/director is CEO and owner of Gina Carey Films. Carey tackles subject matter that is sensitive and heart wrenching as well as pertinent and triumphant. Her voice and stories will prompt you to feel and contemplate. For these and many other occasions, Carey has been chosen as one of Coachella Valley Weekly’s Top 12 Most Interesting & Influential Women of 2016. Many are proud Carey calls the Coachella Valley her home. She is confident in her abilities and shows conviction in her actions. Her husband John Carey is her forever supporter and collaborator. CV Weekly chatted with Carey about her belief system and all things film and music.
First and foremost Carey is a believer. She walks in faith and not by sight; hence her decision to represent the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission in honor of this achievement. “The CVRM is the charity I want to represent because I feel that one of the greatest things we can do is take care of those who are without, both physically and spiritually. I have to say, without God, I could not have achieved any amount of success in anything I’ve tried to do over the years. It was His favor and grace that allowed me to become successful in all my efforts.” Led by her principles Carey has been blessed with honor after honor.
Winner of the Coachella Valley Music Award for ‘Best Contemporary Artist’ in 2015 & 2016, Carey has over 12 albums recorded and has had three #1 singles on the UK Charts since her professional career began in the mid-90’s. “I began my journey in 1996 as a signed recording artist with over ten thousand CD’s sold nationwide. After the label folded, I took my career into my own hands and became proactive. I started my own record and publishing company ‘Gico Music.” Carey is also the winner of the ‘2012 Marker Broadcasting Jazz Artist Award.’ She has her hand in all the pots as executive producer of all creative arts projects she’s involved in. Crossing over into film was inevitable.
Carey is currently premiering her most recent film and documentary, ‘Aspire to Inspire’. It follows the story of five individuals who share their testimonies of triumph over tragedy. “I’ve written, directed and produced 3 theatrical live stage plays and since October 2015, I’ve written, produced, directed, edited and was the cinematographer of two full length feature fiction, suspense dramas and one documentary. Between the two films, I’ve received four official selections into film festivals and won one of them. Currently I just finished my latest film ‘The Assumptions,’ which is due to premier in February 2017. The film will be released under my film Company ‘Gina Carey Films.’”
“Gina Carey Films is a film company that produces family friendly, inspirational and Christian based cinema. No profanity or sexual content in my films. My heart is to create opportunities for up and coming actors and actress who need a platform to express their creative arts. I also mentor aspiring filmmakers. Recently, I launched the Coachella Valley Independent Film Makers and Actors Network, where we meet once monthly and make contacts.” Carey’s philosophy is based on being an example to others by modeling forward-looking behavior and leadership.
Carey counts “hard work, consistency, patience, true love for humanity and kindness towards others” as her mission statement. “I never reach for success or acceptance, instead I allow love for people to motivate all that I do looking for nothing in return and if God’s will states for me to go further, I will go. If not, God’s will be done in all things. I’m ok with His decisions for my life always. I move but He opens the doors.” Carey has walked through the right doors at the right times.
Her big city beginnings have also given her perspective. “I’m from Chicago, I didn’t get a chance to know my extended family as well as I would have liked. However, I am the middle child of four girls. Our family was very small pretty much just us. I do have a 25 year old son. With time, I learned that family is not necessarily the ones who share the same DNA, but those who love you and are there for you as you go through life. Carey’s husband is a master guitarist and vocalist. He is also her muse and full-time accomplice. “He is one of the best guitar players I’ve ever seen in my life! My favorite band is John’s band The Smooth Brothers. Having date day with my husband is the best. We like to go to the movies and lunch at least once a week. I look forward to that time with him as we are both busy people. My friends have become my family. So I guess I can say I have a big family that loves me. My heart is to simply help whoever I can. That’s what I plan to continue to do until the lights go out.”
Carey’s father was her biggest advocate. “I would have to say my dad was my hero. He was one of the most motivated individuals I have ever seen in my life. I watched him achieve so many goals. He never became a rich man off of any of his own efforts but was one of the happiest and loving people I have ever encountered. I watched him and what a great example of family he was all wrapped in one package. He supported every dream I had through his loving and encouraging words. I lost him to cancer just a little over three years ago but his legacy will live on through me.” Carrying on the message of hope is a theme in the Carey household.
Carey shared some nuggets of wisdom with us. “I would like to say that you should never stand by and wait for someone else to jump-start your dreams. Be interactive with your life’s goals and be brave enough to take baby steps on your own. If it’s something you don’t know how to do, Google it, YouTube it, book store it. You are just as capable as any other person to gather the tools you need to achieve your goals. Never consider or make excuses because of your age, lack of knowledge or lack of finances. Be patient with yourself and take the time to become a one person band if need be. Never start your journey off in competition with millionaires, just be realistic as to what you have to work with and start from there. If you put one foot in front of the other, eventually you will get to the other side of the room.”
“Never give up. Keep looking straight ahead. Don’t let the everyday hustle and bustle of paying bills stand in the way of taking some time out of your life to peruse your God-given purpose. No more excuses. Live your dream or die trying.”
GNA UNIVERSAL MEDIA NOW OPEN FOR BUSINESS
Local professional mogul Gina Carey holds many titles to her name—recording artist, songwriter, music producer, filmmaker, and CEO of Gina Carey Films and Gico Music, just to name a few. Now Carey has created another company to expand on her creative empire here in the Coachella Valley in the form of GNA Universal Media, another business venture that she has founded and taken on the role of CEO.
GNA Universal Media is an overarching enterprise that serves as the home to multiple other independent entertainment arts companies that Carey has helmed. These affiliate companies center on all things film, radio, TV, online publications, music, and events, with a goal of bringing a more widespread awareness while acting as a liaison to new and emerging independent arts companies.
“My motivation for starting GNA Universal Media in the first place is to support the artistic growth of independent artists and companies. It’s an umbrella company that encompasses so many other creative partners and affiliates right here in Palm Springs, and I want to support that artistic pursuit in the desert community,” stated Carey.
Gina Carey Films, Gico Music, All INDIEFlix, The Indie Post, CV Indie Film Awards, and NDMETV are the affiliated media entities under the GNA Universal Media name.
With seven films all written, produced, directed, filmed, and edited by Carey herself, Gina Carey Films is an independent film company producing Inspirational Christian & family-based cinema consisting of only G and PG ratings. The company was founded in 2015, and brought films such as Aspire to Inspire, The Unexpected, The Assumptions, The One Year Pact, Acts of Kindness, Rose England, and her latest cinematic project, The Star Connection, scheduled to be released in March of 2020.
Not only is film a mainstay of the GNA Universal Media name, but also music. Carey’s credits include over 13 Albums, multiple single releases, and 5 #1 UK Music Charted hits. Ten of the 13 albums she has released have been under her own record and publishing company, Gico Music. Another music project under GNA Universal Media is Indie Soul Radio, featuring genres like independent soul, funk, jazz, and gospel. The radio station currently has two programs, one of which being the “Mixed Bag” Show with DJ Prone to be streamed weekly on indiesoulradio.com. Indie Soul Radio will also feature a talk show called Time 2 Talk, hosted by Carey, Nikisha Keys, and Kimberly Blount.
GNA Universal Media will also house NDMETV, an upcoming family-friendly TV Network broadcasting original independent television shows and online web series. The content featured ranges from films and shorts to series centered on comedy, reality television, talk shows, and dramatic arts and dance.
“I’m especially excited for my new show, Curiosity, that is scheduled to premiere on February 3.
That, alongside my new TV original movie, Agoraphobia, will make NDMETV a basis for independent television entertainment,” said Carey.
Other shows that will be featured on NDMETV include the documentary series Tell My Story—where various independent artists from different backgrounds detail their journeys in the pursuit of fame, the original game show Make Me Laugh hosted by Nikisha Keys, and Disconnected—a program centered on brining baby boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z together to hash out their differences and attempt to connect.
The Indie Post is a new online magazine that is a subsidiary company of GNA Universal Media. It will focus on entertainment news primarily centering on dramatic expressions from the prospective of the up-and-coming independent film community. Three-time CV Indie Film Award winner Marcus Lantero is featured on the cover of the inaugural issue.
The CV Indie Film Awards are also affiliated with GNA Universal Media. Carey launched the first annual CV Indie Film Awards in 2017, with a focus on awarding filmmakers across the nation with micro to low budget films. The CV Indie Film Awards continues to serve as the premiere film awards in the Coachella Valley and gives exposure to the budding film community found in the desert.
Gina Carey is a force to be reckoned with—GNA Universal Media being only the latest successful venture in her career. She has won numerous awards, including a BMA award for Best Gospel Artist, Rising Stars of the Desert Best Jazz Music Artist (GHP Music Awards), Best Single, and CV Music Awards for Best Pop/ R&B & Contemporary Artist for three consecutive years. She was also chosen as one of the Top 12 Most Interesting & Influential Women in the Coachella Valley in 2016.
“My only hope with GNA Universal Media is that we will be able to expand and grow over the years to create a place for independent artists to hone in on their artistic passions to a broader audience,” said Carey.