An Animator on the Rise – Kalia Jones
At the intersection of inspiration, advocacy and animation emerges one of the newest stars on the filmmaking scene – at just 13 years old, Kalia Love Jones had traded her usual TV time for a more hands-on appreciation of the animation world.
Around 12 years old is when the idea of directing an animated film came to her. As she recalls, the idea of creating her own short film was formed from a few different concepts, which had all stemmed from the desire to tell stories through the art of animation.
Alongside that, though, was Kalia’s yearning for more diversity in the fields of film and animation alike – when she realized that there was such a significant lack of female representation in these areas, she took it upon herself to enact change in any way she could.
“I felt like we should be telling our own stories,” she says. “I’d love to see more women, people of color, and people across all cultures and abilities represented both on-screen and behind the scenes.”
Drawing inspiration from one of Michelle Obama’s speech, Kalia’s short animated film, “The Power of Hope” is a testament to the resilience necessary to overcome obstacles in life and push forward to pursue one’s dreams – two messages that Kalia spent much of her time pouring into the film.
“The Power of Hope” came to life through not only her hard work and dedication, but as a byproduct of her parents’ strong support as well. With every step she took towards producing the final product, she was uplifted by her own behind the scenes crew – her parents, who knew from the start that Kalia was destined to tell stories through the art of filmmaking.
“My parents have been very vocal about following my dreams,” Kalia says. “When I told my dad, I wanted to make a film, he was 100% for it.”
And, naturally, her years of diligently saving up recycling, holiday and birthday money finally paid off when she got to see her dream come to life in front of her very eyes.
Of course, it comes as no surprise that “The Power of Hope” is just the beginning of Kalia’s pursuit of animation success. Though she’s just started her freshman year of high school, she already has plans to continue creating and giving voices to the voiceless through her works, with the ultimate endgame consisting of feature films, television series and comic strips.
For now, though, Kalia’s focusing on how she can inspire and uplift others, whether it be to pursue their own animation goals or to simply live the best life that they can.
“Believe in your dream, and dream big,” she shares when asked about her own words of wisdom to pass along. “Keep marching forward towards your dream – the biggest risk in life is not taking a risk at all.”
You can find “The Power of Hope” at the “Short by the Sea” film festival in Santa Monica this coming, with two subsequent Academy Award qualifying festivals following later in the year. For updates and more information about the film, visit its official Instagram page at @ThePowerofHopeMovie.
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