Meet innovative filmmaker RON ADKINS from LeFrak City, Queens, N.Y.
RON was introduced to movies and the film industry at an early age. “My mom worked for New Line Cinema. She worked on movies like Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday, Rush Hour and other popular films. She would bring home screeners of the films for me and my siblings to watch. It was cool!”
Intrigued by the big screen, he decided to pursue an acting career. “I started auditioning for various acting roles, including Sean Connery’s 2000 American drama, “Finding Forrester” and I eventually landed and non-speaking role in a public service commercial.”
From there RON’s interested shifted to what was going on behind the camera. “I flew to California in my late teens and continued to chase my passion for acting and film. I was cast as a background actor for an independent film titled, “Sacred“. The film was produced by Hip Hop icon NAS and starred Isaiah Washington and Mekhi Phifer. I was also offered to work on the film as a Production Assistant, a position I declined.”
Feeling the need to recharge, he flew back to New York and enrolled himself in LaGuardia Community College’s Media Studies program.
“While pursuing my degree I directed and shot a thesis film titled, “Subway“, which went on to win the award for Best Film at The Museum of Modern Art Film Festival! This was the boost I needed and a sign that I was moving in the right direction.”
During his last semester at LaGuardia, RON landed an internship as a celebrity videographer for rapper 50 Cent, immediately following the success of FiF’s autobiographical film, “Get Rich or Die Trying“. Things were looking quite promising for the young intern.
“From there I became 50’s in-house videographer, documenting him and the G-UNIT as they traveled the world. It was an amazing experience that led to me directing music videos for 50, the artists he had on the G-UNIT roster and other A-list Hip-Hop artists.”
Around this time YouTube and social media were emerging and RON had the presence of mind to catch the wave early. He began producing content for various record labels and brands, adding to his resume.
RON describes himself as THE millennial black filmmaker who is unapologetic, self sufficient and possesses a hybrid skillset like no other.
“I’m not an editor or a camera operator. My style of filmmaking is rooted in music and rhythm. From the pacing and timing to the undertones and subject matter, music and the black experience are always the major inspirations behind any films I create.”
RON is influenced by the legends of filmmaking that precede him such as the late John Singleton, Spike Lee, Gordan Parks, Robert Townsend, Ryan Coogler, Quentin Tarantino and Tim Burton. His favorite producers are Brian Grazer, Will Packer, Kenan Ivory Waynes and Forest Whitaker.
“I have a very unique voice. I’m old enough remember life before the digital revolution began, yet young enough to embrace it and present it to the world in the most appealing way.”
When asked what prompted him to start his own production company, PARADISE VALLEY INT, he jokingly responded, “Tax purposes! (laughing) But seriously, it’s the perception. People value you differently as a company as opposed to just being a freelancer or an individual. My company operates as an agency. We don’t only produce content, we design and brand it, so we’re able to leverage our relationships within the entertainment industry to pair with and market for big brands.”
“On the corporate side, I’m working on a collaboration with Dutch Master and Backwood Cigar to create content that aligns with their brand. On the production side I am working on a dramatic television series based on the story of three musician brothers born to a Baptist preacher and his wife in 1950s Detroit who, during their teenage years, emerged as a budding rock/funk band (heavily influenced by Motown & Parliament) and ultimately became pioneers of punk rock music. I’m also involved with an untitled biopic based on the life and times of DJ Scott La Rock.”
And as if RON’s plate isn’t full enough…while developing PARADISE VALLEY INT into a full service, creative agency that produces and markets content for television, film and digital platforms, he also has future plans to spread his entrepreneurial wings into the creative fields of fashion (to design his own line of sneakers) and the music industry (to discover and sign Hip Hop’s next best thing).
RON ADKINS home address may be in Los Angeles, C.A. but his heart, hustle and drive are sooo New York! We look forward to following this rising star’s budding career. Not too shabby for a kid from Queens. 😉
Omari M’s video “WestBrook”
directed by Ron Adkins: