UC San Diego Filmmaker Shares Inspiration from Cannes to the NBA Finals
By Sheena Ghanbari
UC San Diego undergraduate filmmaker David Field loves to create. This is reflected in the whirlwind of activity surrounding the Visual Arts Media Honors student.
Field attended the Cannes Film Festival in May 2016 as a finalist in the 19th American Pavilion Emerging Filmmaker Showcase for producing, “CORA,” which was written and directed by Kevin Maxwell, Field’s former classmate at Santa Monica City College.
“I was galvanized to work on this heartwarming true story of survival,” said Field, explaining that “CORA” is an account of Maxwell’s grandmother’s life and shares her struggles with abuse and racism as a Black woman living in the 1960s Civil Rights era.
To date, “CORA” has been screened at the Prague Independent Film Festival, Oklahoma Urban Cinema Festival, Columbus International Film + Video Festival, San Francisco Black Film Festival, and Black Harvest Film Festival. In addition to the recognition the film received at the Cannes Film festival, “CORA” was also a finalist in the Peachtree Village International Film Festival, a Bronze Remi winner in the World Fest-Houston International Film & Video Festival, and on the BAFTA student film awards shortlist.
Field would ultimately like to turn “CORA” into a feature-length film and is currently exploring ways to bring this goal to fruition.
Field’s talents, however, extend beyond big-screen cinema into the realm of reality television. For example, Field is currently in the midst of negotiations with interested networks for “Team Swish,” a scripted reality show featuring NBA champion J.R. Smith of the Cleveland Cavaliers, his bodyguard and his family. The show examines Smith’s misleading bad-boy image and reveals Smith’s lesser-known life as a family man.
This project sparked from Field’s friendship with “Boom,” Smith’s bodyguard and longtime family friend. Boom approached Field about how misrepresented Smith was in the media, and from there came the idea to show a more authentic portrayal of Smith. Taking inspiration from family values sitcoms like, “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” Field takes pride in creating a series where he can breakdown stereotypes and portray the concept that, “It’s cool to be the good guy.”
Presently, Field has raised nearly $100,000 to create the pilot for “Team Swish” and is working with Innovative Artists on submissions for the show.
As Field embarks on the next academic year he is excited to have Assistant Professor Brian Cross as his advisor to guide him through the Visual Arts Media Honors Program. He was pointed to Cross, by multiple sources, one of them being MacArthur Fellowship award-winning artist and visual arts alumna, Carrie Mae Weems.
“I was able to meet Carrie Mae Weems when she was speaking on campus, and I told her about ‘CORA’ and ‘Team Swish,’” explained Field. “She loved the strong moral messages I was supporting in these projects and encouraged me to get in touch with Professor Cross.”
Field’s interest in film is multifaceted and ranges from producing to writing, and from directing to acting. He is turning his attention toward campus for future projects.
“I am thinking about creating a documentary about the UC San Diego women’s softball team,” stated Field. “They’re like a supportive and competitive family, unified by the university’s long time coach (Patti Gerckens).”
While the subject of Field’s films range drastically, he likes to create work that conveys the human spirit.
“All of the projects I work on have a personal motivator. I like them to mean something to me,” he admitted.
To view the “CORA” trailer please click here.
To view a video about “Team Swish” featuring J.R. Smith please click here.
The Department of Visual Arts at UC San Diego is ranked 13th in the nation for fine arts, according to U.S. News & World Report, with high-ranking specialties in multimedia and sculpture.
JR Smith, David Field, and Smith’s Father/Earl Smith. Photo by Frederick "Boom" Smalls.