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Local Students to Experience Careers in Film Industry

(Fayetteville, NC) February 23, 2018 —  The Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County, in collaboration with the Performing & Fine Arts and Communications Departments of Fayetteville State University and the Fayetteville Cumberland Youth Council of Fayetteville Cumberland Parks & Recreation, are pleased to announce Script to Screen, a one-day film production intensive.

Noted writer, producer and director Jamel "Mel City" Thornton will lead students in grades 9-12 through a free one-day class in which they learn theory and application in six key areas of film production, including development and scriptwriting, pre-production, production, wrap, post-production and pitch and shopping distribution.

"We are so fortunate to be able to bring this opportunity to students in our County, thanks to the support of the Performing & Fine Arts and Communications Departments of Fayetteville State University and the Fayetteville Cumberland Youth Council. Script to Screen is a unique opportunity for high school and college students who are interested in exploring a career in the film industry. In this one day intensive, they will be able to experience some of the aspects of film production under the guidance of noted film professional, Jamel “Mel City” Thornton, who has experience in writing, producing and directing films," says Adrienne Trego, Education & Outreach Director at The Arts Council.

Eight Cumberland County high school students, from Gray's Creek High School, Jack Britt High School, Terry Sanford High School, South View High School, Cross Creek Early College High School and Massey Hill Classical High School, will explore a career in the film industry by experiencing the many facets of film production under the professional guidance of Thornton. Participants were selected in an application process open to all Cumberland County high school students. In addition, seven Fayetteville State University students have been chosen to participate at a higher level, acting as assistants to Thornton in the intensive class, an experience guaranteed to supplement their studies at FSU. "The Arts can only be appreciated if they are passed on, in the relays of life." Jamel Thornton continued, "To wit, it is the artists' utmost duty, to remind and to influence the next generation so nothing is lost and the new interpretations are given."

The Arts Council is so grateful to be in partnership with the Performing & Fine Arts and Communications Departments of Fayetteville State University on this very important educational venture. Because of this partnership, students will be afforded the opportunity to have access to FSU's state of the art video and film equipment and studio labs; providing industry base exposure and on-the-job technical experience. “Fayetteville State University’s Performing & Fine Arts and Communications Departments are proud to be a partner with The Arts Council on this very important opportunity, Script to Screen,” Dr. Don Parker, professor of music/percussion and interim performing and fine arts department chair, continues, “Students will gain the knowledge and obtain an in-depth look of the creation process and development of filmmaking while demonstrating the importance of team work.” 

Student participants will also receive a free ticket to True to Yourself, and will attend a meet and greet with award-winning actress Tichina Arnold and renowned casting director Winsome Sinclair, CSA, thanks to our youth ticket partner The Links, Inc. 

Script to Screen is sponsored by the Fayetteville Cumberland Youth Council of Fayetteville Cumberland Parks & Recreation and made possible by a partnership with the Performing & Fine Arts and Communications Departments of Fayetteville State University.

Click here to learn more.

For Media Kit:

At age 16, most of us are planning to go away for college, obtain our driver’s license and haven’t the slightest clue as to what direction to take in life. Jamel “Mel City” Thornton was the exception to the norm, getting his start in the entertainment industry on famed director Spike Lee’s infamous He Got Game in 1996. From there, Jamel would go on to work onFox’s hit television series, NY Undercover; Hype William’s feature film debut Belly; as well as countless music videos under Hype for artists such as DMX, Ja Rule, and Mobb Deep. In 2000, at the ripe age of 20, Jamel produced his first show at Showtime at the Apollo, where he would go on to discover platinum-selling R&B star, Lyfe Jennings.

During a brief stint at St. John’s University, Jamel enlisted in the Army Reserves, which only further honed his skills as a producer and solidified his straight to the point, no-nonsense approach to production. MTV's Run’s House, countless music videos and commercials for various L’Oréal brands have amassed on Mel City’s resume since leaving the reserves. In May of 2011, Jamel received his B.A. in Communication Arts at St. John’s University. Always the civil service enthusiast, Jamel has since enrolled at The Thurgood Marshall School of Law, where his aspirations to sit on the bench and serve justice live on. Law School, however, has not deterred Jamel’s love and passion for producing. His recent credits as Producer includes New York Comedian, Rob Stapleton’s feature film The Stuff (which expects an early 2018 release), and is currently producing Flint 6, a fictional-biopic which confronts the Flint Water Crisis. No matter the success, Jamel is a dedicated father first, and is the reason behind his will to leave an everlasting legacy and mark in this world.

Fayetteville State University is a constituent institution of The University of North Carolina and the second-oldest public institution of higher education in the state. FSU offers degrees at the baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral levels. With more than 6,200 students, Fayetteville State University is among the most diverse institutions in the nation.

The Fayetteville Cumberland Youth Council’s mission is to serve as a voice for the youth in a youth-led organization, focusing on the betterment and promotion of our community. FCYC serves as a cross-generational link and participates in service projects and social events to promote character building and leadership development.


The Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County was founded in 1973. As a link between artists, arts and cultural organizations and the community, the nonprofit agency administers programs in partnership with a variety of local agencies to stimulate community development through the arts. The Arts Council supports individual creativity, cultural preservation, economic development and lifelong learning through the arts. 

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The Arts Council’s grants, programs and services are funded in part by contributions from businesses and individuals, and through grants from the City of Fayetteville, Cumberland County and the N.C. Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources.