Local Industry Professionals Recognized with Awards
The Mayor’s Advisory Commission on Motion Picture, Television and Commercial Production, the Jacksonville Film & Television Office and other industry leaders, are joining to celebrate local film and digital media production at the 20th Annual Jacksonville Film & Television Industry Reception, to be held October 21 at the WJCT Studios.
“Jacksonville has a long history with the film industry, hosting nearly 1,000 productions since 2005,” said Mayor Lenny Curry. “These performances have created thousands of jobs and generated millions of dollars in economic impact for our community. I’d like to congratulate this year’s four award recipients who exemplify the very best in Jacksonville’s film and TV community, and thank them for their contributions to the industry and to our city.”
Being recognized for her creativity in the industry, Sharon Y. Cobb will be presented with the 2021 Jacksonville Film & Television Industry Achievement Award. She is a member of Writers Guild of America and has written numerous works throughout her career. Her works include dozens of short films for filmmakers participating in competitions worldwide, as well as a dozen projects that have been sold to Hollywood and others that have been released on DVD, shown at film festivals, and broadcasted. She has written books including two novels and Secrets to Writing A Killer 48 Hour Film Project Screenplay. Sharon is co-writer of The Man in the White Van, a film that is currently in production. She is a former publisher, editor, journalist, rock musician and race car driver. She began fiction writing after meeting Tennessee Williams when she lived in Key West.
Also recognized at the reception will be the 2021 Rising Star Award winners, Keagan Anfuso, Sophie Grace, and Alex Willemin. This award is given to remarkable individuals under 35 in the local film and television industry. Honorees excel in their specific craft, show progressive advancement in their careers, serve as role models, and stand out as potential stars of the future.
Keagan has been selected by VOID Magazine's 35 under 35. Originally wanting to be a photojournalist, Keagan eventually ended up filming home videos and expertly editing them on
Windows Media Player. She later found herself at the Art Institute of Jacksonville, where she returned to journalism. This experience also led to her production The Grey Area, a documentary film focused on the masculine female experience. The past decade of producing Jacksonville-based work has earned her several honors, including the One Spark Art Juror's Award, Spooky Empire's Spotlight Filmmaker, and Best LGBTQIA Music Video at Direct Shorts Festival. Keagan is now a producer for Kennetic Productions and TEDxJacksonville.
Sophie Grace stars as Kristy Thomas on Netflix’s The Baby-Sitters Club, the second season of which launched earlier this month. Sophie has been honored with a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Younger Performer in a Children’s Program. The show was nominated for an additional six Emmys. After landing the role in her first professional audition at age 11, Sophie made her debut as Kaitlyn in the Lifetime movie Terror in the Woods (2018). Sophie explored the complex character of Kaitlyn vigorously, the result being a layered and truthful performance that director DJ Viola called a “rich performance.” Sophie hails from a high-energy, loving, and close-knit family. Along with learning-by-doing in school and local plays, she also studied film/TV acting with Hollywood acting coach Jill Donnellan.
Alex Willemin is an award-winning independent filmmaker and educator, currently leading the film program at Jacksonville University, and is co-founder and lead creative of the independent media production company, Alix Filmworx. Alex earned a Master of Fine Arts in motion picture production from the University of Miami, as well as a bachelor of science in electronic media and film from Towson University. He has directed and filmed commercial work for local and national brands, documentaries for local non-profits, and music videos. His past projects have been featured in regional, national, and international film festivals, even taking home the Best Break Out Award for feature screenplay at the 2017 Oaxaca Film Fest in Mexico. Alex’s debut feature film, Albert and Claude, is set to premiere in 2022.
About the Jacksonville Film & Television Office: The Jacksonville Film & Television Office, a division of the City of Jacksonville’s Office of Economic Development, works with local film, digital media, and related businesses to enhance job creation and economic development. Since 2005, the office has assisted nearly 1,000 productions that have generated an economic impact of approximately $43 million and more than 14,500 local jobs. More information can be found at www.filmjax.com.