Indie Filmmaker and FAMU Grad Akil DuPont earns two Student Emmys

Last Updated on May 31, 2023

Akil DuPontWhat's the difference between a musical and a story told through song?

Akil DuPont, director of the short film “Underground,” would say a musical would net a few raised eyebrows. A story told through song, however, could reel in two Student Emmy Awards.

“Every filmmaker hopes their film will do well,” DuPont said. “That's always like a dream. In this case, it's like the dream came true.”

“Underground” is the winner of two Student Emmy Awards and six film festival awards. Music is used to tell the story of three slaves named Bali, Dembi and Young Emala, played by Ken Wester, Tomi Townsend and Nike Eaton, respectively. The music was performed primarily by Florida A&M University's Gospel Choir.

DuPont, a Tallahassee native, self-proclaimed “20-year Rattler” and a graduate of Florida State University's acclaimed film school, refused to market the project as a “slave musical” because of what he says musicals tend to represent to most people. His attention to detail and meticulous planning helped him bring “Underground” — a slave narrative told through music — to life.

“You don't know how it's going to be received when you say, ‘I'm going to make a slave musical,'” DuPont said. “When people hear the words ‘slave musical,' they think of people dancing around and that isn't ‘Underground.'”

ACCOLADES for ‘Underground'

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[li]Student Emmy Award Winner, First Place, “Best Use of Music” — 2011[/li]

[li]Student Emmy Award Winner, “Bricker Humanitarian Award” — 2011[/li]

[li]Student Emmy Award Nominee, “Best Composition” — 2011[/li]

[li]First Place (out of 109 films), Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival — 2010[/li]

[li]Best of Brouhaha, Florida Film Festival, Orlando — 2011[/li]

[li]Best Short Film, San Diego Black Film Festival — 2011[/li]

[li]First Place (out of 287 films), Palm Beach International Film Festival — March 2011[/li]

[li]Best Short Film, Texas Black Film Festival — 2011[/li]

[li]Best Student Short, Tallahassee Film Festival — April 2011[/li]


[list type=”clip”] [li] Full article at: [/li] [/list]

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