Jamaican film executive produced by Will and Jada Smith Wins at ABFF

A Jamaican film, which tells the story of a teenaged Jamaican track-and-field athlete growing up in a challenging family situation, which was executive produced by Will and Jada Smith, has won three awards at the American Black Film Festival.

The festival, held in Miami, Florida recently, honored the film ‘Sprinter’ with the Audience Award, the Award for Best Narrative, and a Best Director Award for Storm Saulter, who also wrote the story.

The 112-minute film stars Kadeem Wilson (Ghett’ A Life), Dennis Titus (The Mighty Quinn), Shantol Jackson (Yardie), Bryshere Y. Gray (Empire, The New Edition Story), Lorraine Toussaint (Orange is The New Black), David Alan Grier (The Carmichael Show, In Living Color), and newcomer Dale Elliott.

It was produced by Robert Maylor, Clarence Hammond, and Jamal Watson, with executive producers Richard Jefferson, Josef Bogdanovich, Zachary Harding, and Will  and Jada Pinkett Smith.

The story is about a teen named Akeem Sharp, who hopes  his success as a track-and-field athlete will reunite him with his mother, who has been living in the United States illegally for over ten years.

Saulter, who grew up in Jamaica, had one or both of his parents working overseas, sending back money and barrels of goods to help support the family. He said that exploring matters like the “Barrel Pickney” phenomenon, immigration issues, and the impact of globalization on families through film, has long been a goal.

According to producer Maylor, his experience growing up with “feet firmly planted in both Jamaica and the US,” has left him feeling extremely gratified to come “full circle” with the film, which he calls an authentic and uniquely Jamaican story.

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