The Parent's Notebook: Growing Genius

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Growing Genius
In an ongoing search for ways  for parents to use   multiple intelligence theory to discover and unleash  their child’s innate genius,  I attended a screening of Independent Film New York (IFNY).   The founder of  IFNY,  Attika Torrence, introduced the filmmakers for Q & A.  I was moved by the synergy existing between the artists.   When I received the notice that IFNY was holding its Monologue GRAND Slam, I knew I would attend but I also wanted to know a little more about IFNY so I contacted Attika and his parents Robbo and Nassoma Torrence.

PN: What exactly is this Monologue GRAND Slam?
Attika: The Grand Slam is all of the previous year’s winners of the IFNY Monologue Slams competing against each other. It’s an acting event akin to American Idol, Def Comedy/Poetry Jam for actors. It is hosted by famed actor and 3-time
NAACP Award Winner Malik Yoba and co-hosted by  Miss Black USA 2010, Ms Osas.

PN: When did you decide to become an independent filmmaker?
Attika: While I was in college learning how to act.  I realized I needed to learn how to write and direct in order to maintain any kind of autonomy in this business. Actors are all at the mercy of casting directors, producers, directors, agents, etc. and I’m not good at being at anybody’s mercy… Upon graduating from LIU’s  Media Art Dept I wrote, produced, acted in and directed my first movie, Brotherly Love which starred 11 of New York’s top underground comedians at the time. I created IFNY in 2004  to fill the voids (that I saw and personally experienced) in the filmmaking community. Since then, we have produced the IFNY Premiere Film Screening Series (held at the Spike Lee Screening Room at LIU – Brooklyn) which provides an outlet for filmmakers to screen their films to an audience of film makers and film lovers. We’ve created the IFNY Monologue Slam and the IFNY Monologue GRAND Slam and most recently partnered with the Long Island University’s Continuing Education Department to bring a new certificate course entitled The Working Actor taught by Malik Yoba.

PN: How many  films have you made?
Attika: I’ve directed 6 movies, produced and acted in loads more.

PN: What role do you think films play in today’s culture.
Attika: Media as a whole is  huge and a major player in that medium is the film element. Films provide entertainment, education, it bridges gaps, it enlightens and has such a major influence on the ways people view themselves and others that it is incumbent upon us to control our
images.

Parents Perspective – …….
He  was a determined, strong-willed and focused child. He was very reasonable at an early age, which always amazed me. Once you explained things to him he understood your point and was willing to compromise.  He was a problem-solver and was always able to resolve issues  between his siblings and friends.
As a toddler he enjoyed being read to. In elementary school he enjoyed reading and writing and math was his favorite subject. As a pre teen he enjoyed rap and I purchased his first rap album for him, Rapper’s Delight by the Sugar Hill Gang.
Attika was named Attika by his father, who said during my pregnancy, “If this is a boy, I’m naming him Attika.”  He felt that the 1972 Attica rebellion should not be forgotten. I wasn’t too thrilled about that, but looking up the word  in the Encyclopedia found Atticus was Greek and meant, marked by greatness, characteristic of the Athenians, applied to literary or artistic style, noted for its purity and elegance, I was okay with that, and we spelled it with a K instead of a C, thus Attika.

PN Alerts! ***Saturday, May 21st
***Roots Revisited continues its Underground Railroad College Tour with a trip to University of Maryland-Eastern Shore and the birthplace of Harriet Tubman.   An educational experience for fourth-graders and up includes bus transportation, tours and lunch.  For more information call 718-574-5482 or 718-778-0009, ext. 17.

***The Noel Pointer Foundation holds its 3rd Annual Social and Recital at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, 145 Brooklyn Ave.   11am – 4pm featuring free ice cream, face painting, instrument demonstration, games and raffle prizes with admission..
For info: 718-230-4825 or npf.nyc@gmail.com
***IFNY GRAND SLAM Competition – 7:30 – 10:30 pm.  The Kumble Theatre for the Performing Arts, 1 University Plaza, Bklyn. Contact. www.kumbletheatre.org.

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