Cannes-Do Spirit

Kevin Maxwell, Film Studies​

Kevin Maxwell was determined to tell the story of his grandmother Cora’s struggles against racism, violence, and domestic abuse in the 1960s Jim Crow South. SMC provided the means and mentorship to turn his dream into a reality that screened at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.​

Kevin has had a long journey from his career as a Homeland Security agent to having his work shown at the iconic, world-famous event. It accelerated when he enrolled in Film 31, which begins the three-course sequence taught by Professor Salvador Carrasco that emphasizes hands-on production.

Cora is one of six short films produced in the capstone course, Film 33, and the second to be selected for the Cannes Emerging Filmmaker Showcase. Kevin’s film has also been shortlisted for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) U.S. Student Film Award.

Kevin originally planned to make Cora a full-length documentary but struggled to find funding while running a business and supporting his family. When he discovered SMC, everything fell into place. The program provides students with the support and resources to achieve their best work, he says, and also fosters camaraderie.

After finishing his associate’s degree, he plans to transfer to a major film school. But he knows his SMC training will serve him well throughout his career.

As for Cora’s future, he plans to turn it into a feature film. “There’s so much more of the story to tell.”