Ya’Ke Smith, known for his unflinching and veracious style of storytelling, is a rising voice in independent cinema.
His films have received world-wide acclaim, screening and winning awards at over 80 film festivals, including The Cannes International Film Festival, The DC Shorts Film Festival, The Austin Film Festival, The Dallas International Film Festival, The Urbanworld Film Festival and The American Black Film Festival. His films have also screened on HBO, Showtime, BET and PBS. He is the recipient of a Director’s Guild of America Student Film Award, a regional Student Academy Award and an HBO Short Film Award. His short, “Katrina’s Son”, screened at over 40-film festivals and won 14 awards. The film was also eligible for the 2012 Academy Award in short filmmaking. His debut feature, “WOLF”, which NPR called “an impressive piece by a young director,” premiered at the SXSW Film Festival and has gone on to screen and win awards at festivals across North America. The film was awarded the Grand Jury Prize for Best Texas Feature at the Dallas International Film Festival, The Saatchi & Saatchi Nothing is Impossible Producer’s Award at the Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival, an Honorable Mention Award at the Urbanworld Film Festival and Audience Choice Awards at both the Little Rock and Sidewalk Film Festivals. WOLF is currently available for download via iTunes and other digital platforms.
Ya’Ke has been featured on NPR, CNN, HLN, Ebony Online and Shadow&Act.
Ya’Ke graduated with his B.A. from the Communication Arts Department at the University of The Incarnate Word and his M.F.A. from the University of Texas at Austin’s film program. He is currently the Morgan Woodward Distinguished Professor of Film at the University of Texas at Arlington.