OK Keyes: Most Likely to Empower Women Through Film
Third-year Film Studies and Media Arts student, O.K. Keyes attributes her inspiration for pursuing a career in cinematography to an island nation in the far east.“It’s Japan’s fault,” she explains. “I was getting frustrated with physics and on a whim, I decided to take Japanese, which introduced me to animation.”
That spontaneous shift in focus has served Keyes well, allowing her to showcase her passions through film. Seeking to produce nuanced portrayals of LGBT and female characters, many of Keyes’ films feature strong women in their storylines. Keyes even served as the di-rector of photography for USC’s official “It Gets Better” video, which came out last spring. Speaking about the experience, Keyes remarks, “I didn’t realize how support-ive President Pastides was of the LGBT community.”
This budding cinematographer’s work has not gone without recognition. Keyes’ films have won numerous awards, most recently, the Golden Tripod award for Cinematography at the 2013 Campus MovieFest. Her film, “Black and White,” which depicted racial tension through an exploration in innate rhythm, also won the 2012 Moving Image Research Collections’ Award for Creative Editing.
It is apparent that Keyes is motivated by her love for the craft. In her spare time, she works with local elemen-tary and middle school students to promote media and how it can reconstruct stereotypes. Trying to turn stu-dents, “from consumers into producers,” Keyes believes her work with students will teach them to fight cyber-bullying and overcome obstacles. As for what is coming next, Keyes says, “My dream is to be a cinematographer for a television series. I love awesome female hero char-acters, and there just aren’t enough on TV right now.”To watch some of Keyes’ work, visit USC’s “It Gets Better” video on YouTube.
Stephen Howden: Most Likely to Build Cars from Scratch
Imagine a car that is completely personalized and suited to your taste-from the way it looks to its handling and perfor-mance, it is designed by you from the bottom up.That dream may soon become a reality for third year Mechanical Engineering student Stephen Howden. Aspiring to construct his own cars, Howden began taking wielding and braking systems classes at York Technical College over the summer when he was 17. Now, nearly finished with a trike project that began in August 2011, he documents and features the progress on his YouTube chan-nel “Mechanical Attraction.”
His passion for constructing complex machines first arose as a child, building models of cars and planes. “Building cars has always been an interest of mine. Growing up, I wanted to be the one with the exotic car that people would pause and point at,” he remembers.
Putting that dream into action and serving as the project officer of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Howden is now trying to garner support for the construction of a Legends racecar. “I’m trying to get the club to take an outdated racecar, fix it up and possibly make it street legal,” he notes. “Hopefully we can get permission to park it in front of Russell House.”
Summarizing his passions and long-term goals, Howden interprets his love of construction as being part of larger inter-ests, stating, “I love to take an image in my head and make it reality. I also love inspiring people… I love to take part in other peoples’ interests, and understand why they enjoy them.” With those motivations, it is clear Howden is well on his way to building those visions a reality.
Wilyem Cain: Most Likely to Inspire Others
The sheer amount of passion and devotion that Wilyem Cain emits for representing underprivileged students in his commu-nity is enough to give you goose-bumps. A second-year Political Science student from Winnsboro, SC, Cain speaks openly and honestly about his background and how it has influenced what he hopes to accomplish in the future. “My great-grandma died and it devastated me. I became an angry black male and my mom told me I should take time and help kids. On the first day, a little girl asked me to be her friend, and you can’t be angry anymore when a little girl asks you that.”
At that moment, Cain transformed his anger into motiva-tion. Realizing his responsibility as a role model for the children he was helping through the Boys and Girls Club, he began to work harder in school and eventually earned a full scholarship to USC. Now the #1 motivational speaker for United Way, Cain has raised over $19 million to build a teen help center for his com-munity. Recognizing the hopelessness of his hometown and the troubling amounts of violence children are exposed to every day, Cain believes no child should have to go home feeling afraid, noting, “When you know someone cares, you do better. Every time I raise one dollar, I know I am helping someone who needs it.”
Cain cites his greatest influence as James Brown, the Vice President of the Boys and Girls Club. “He became really successful, and began to give back to the kids. That’s what it means to be doing the right thing and to be a good per-son,” said Cain. Planning to attend the USC School of Law after graduation, Cain hopes to one-day have the capacity to represent the people of his community and give them a voice. He states, “I want to go to law school and eventually work my way into politics. I want to represent kids and be a spokesperson for my community, even become a civil rights activist.” From the extraordinarily inspiring way he speaks of his ambitions, it is clear that Wilyem Cain is well on his way to achieving those goals.