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Exploring Life & Business with Emelyn Stuart of Stuart Cinema & Cafe

Today we’d like to introduce you to Emelyn Stuart.

Hi Emelyn, can you start by introducing yourself? Maybe a quick timeline of how you got to where you are today?
2008 – Started producing independent film projects
2012 – Started my own film festival (October Film Festival)
2018 – Became the first Black Latina to own a self-funded independent movie theater
2021 – Launching my own Video On Demand platform (Stuart Cinema on Demand)

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Finding funding for projects and business has been difficult. Others controlling the narrative that audiences see and experience. Being Black, female, Latina, veteran has been a blessing and a curse. Blessing because I stand out and curse because I stand out. LOL!

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
Besides being the first Black Latina-owned independent movie theater in NY, I’m also the only monetizing warehouse built specifically to help artists make money. The theater is used for film festivals, private movie screenings, lots of events and we also show regular first-run films. In addition, the space is used by a Church and other community organizations.

Are there any important lessons you’ve learned that you can share with us?
If you want others to believe in your dream, you have to invest in yourself first. You need to have skin in your own game. Don’t take “no” for an answer because the person rejecting you or your work isn’t authorized to determine your future.

Contact Info:

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