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SHAKEIMA COOKS

Born & Raised: Harlem

First EVC Project: The War Within: Youth Depression (YO-TV, 2009)

Current Occupation: Freelance Producer

Education:  BA in Public Relations and Advertising – City College, 2011; MFA in Documentary Filmmaking – City College, 2013

Films:
  • The War Within: Youth Depression, 2009

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Shakeima's Story

Shakeima first became interested in filmmaking after seeing the movie, The Color Purple. She had been in the foster care system and after being adopted by her great aunt, used that experience to create a film. Soon after, she joined YO-TV, EVC’s pre-professional training program. Shakeima and five other young women spent nine months researching and creating a documentary on depression among youth of color. The War Within: Youth Depression explores this hidden crisis through interviews with youth, clinicians, and mental health advocates.

 

After working as a YO-TV Intern, EVC secured an internship for Shakeima at Union Editorial, a prestigious documentary and commercial editing house. Shakeima spent a year after YO-TV interning there with award winning partner/editor and EVC Advisory Board member Sloane Klevin. She credits this experience with waking her up to the business side of video and filmmaking, making her aware of all the parts involved in being a successful media producer. In 2012, Shakeima interned for POV a small documentary division of PBS, and interned at other well-established film companies such as DCTV (Downtown Community Television) founded by Jon Alpert. Shakeima was a 2018 Bronx Documentary Center Film Fellow. 


Shakeima has worked for BET Networks, as a Production Associate in development, and worked as a media instructor for The Center For Alternative Learning (CASES) where she taught film to court-mandated youth. Shakeima completed her MFA in Documentary Filmmaking at City College. Shakeima’s thesis film Beauty: Only Skin Deep??? explores the ideology of what beauty is considered to be in the African American community, and won the New York Women In Film And Television Award.  Shakeima hopes to help other youth tell their stories, “kids just want to express themselves but if they don’t have the resources, they won’t be able to.”

 

Best Skill Learned at EVC:

“Definitely interviewing the subjects – EVC taught me how to do good interviews and develop good interviewing skills. It taught me to just listen and be able to deal with how your subject is feeling – understanding how they think and being able to relate and connect their struggle."

Most Memorable EVC Moment:

“One experience that stood out was when we got a chance to volunteer for the author Terrie Williams in her campaign, “Healing Starts With Us” and I saw other people from my community go up and talk about their experiences. I got to hear people of color talk about depression. Through that I got the chance to meet with a psychiatrist and discuss issues that I have been battling and struggling with since my childhood. This later on helped me to seek counseling at Full Circle Health. And I realized that I am not the only one battling depression — that there were many others.”