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Featured Film Director and activist Ira Mckiney

Where are you from? Where are you currently located?

I am originally from Ithaca NY, home of Cornell University, I am located now in Albany NY.

Describe your indulgence in the arts and what kinds of services you provide?

My business, is two fold.. I am Producer/Promoter/Director of Social Change in Mind Productions. We are a film company, who mostly focuses on Social Justice events, and causes. We also do Music and Art, because that is where I see, a lot of artistic expression, by those who are very oppressed. We have very little way to express our frustrations, but doing it by the arts, is a good way. I also help run a

Arts Community Center in Albany NY ( Grand Street Community Arts ). That I volunteer my time to give back to the community until we can compete with art grants and fundraisers, to keep the art center in competition with bigger organizations. It is a Grassroots organization with our major contributions coming from the community itself, to keep the center up and running.

Give three words that uniquely describe your art?

Freedom of Expression.

Have you had any experience in this field previously?
Yes, I started out as a DJ, after coming out of the Air Force, That was back in the 80's, also did some party promotions back then. I did that for more than twenty years. Then I started promoting my own productions starting in 2008, I did a Homeless Artist Showcase
in Northampton Mass, because I was also homeless and wanted to show the world the misconceptions of homeless people. It was a big all day production and was to include a documentary on how we went about it, when I lost creative control of that production, I decided to learn how to film and edit. I thus went to my local Public Access Station in Northampton Mass and learned the skills for free. I also did so many productions, that I was awarded The Producer of The Year award in 2009.

What advice would you give to an aspiring artist or entrepreneur?

I say stay true to your dream, it will not be easy but if you stick with it and take the good with the bad. It can only make you stronger.

Do you have any upcoming plans or events in the near future ?

I have many productions in the works. I just finished a major documentary called The Throwaways, soon to be released in 2013. In it we have major activist,(Michelle Alexander, Cornel West, Angela Davis, Van Jones ), talking about Mass Incarceration, and how it is to survive as a person, in poverty in this economic crisis, during the age of Obama. I also am the main person bringing Michelle Alexander to Albany NY, to talk at Albany Law School, about Michelle's New York Times best selling book, The New Jim Crow, Mass Incarceration in the age of color blindness. I am also on tour speaking at colleges, high schools, and film festivals about The Throwaways. here are some links to follow.
That is the website to my documentary
That is the, Homeless Artist Showcase in 2008, you will see Visual Art, A Fashion Show and local singers performing.
This from the next year a concert series I produced in Northampton Mass. The band was Shakazoba and the hula hooper is Laura Marie.
That is Grand Street Community Arts video, I just made for our afterschool Halloween Party.
That is a link to McDonald's African American Day 2012. In this piece you will see, a band I am producing called Eastside Funk, Evelyn Champagne King, The Ohio Players
This is The SOS Band. in Albany NY in 2011

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