The theme of the 2018 festival was women’s empowerment, a nod to the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements launched one year ago. Writing, directing and starring in ELEVATE, Matemotja delivers a drama of intertwining stories about people who must fight to overcome their struggles with homophobia, food addiction and racism. For this, she proved an exceptional choice for the ‘Female Pioneer Award’ honor beside ‘Independent Film Pioneer Award’ winners Mira Sorvino, Rosanna Arquette and Malcolm McDowell, who all starred in prominent films at the festival.
“It’s a tremendous honor to receive such an award from DTLA Film Festival,” Matemotja shares. “Karolyne Sosa did an outstanding job. Because our film touches on many social issues, I am pleased that she recognized the women’s issues the film deals with as well, particularly the #MeToo aspect of our story. Our screening had a great turnout, audience was extremely receptive and what a great venue. It was such a success, I’m thrilled.”
ELEVATE follows the story of Trina, an overweight elevator switchboard operator who desperately tries to accomplish just one day of healthy eating. Overwhelmed by her abusive boss and by the trapped elevator occupants that reach out to her for help, her fitness guru provides the inspiration and escape that she craves – or does she? Ultimately, all of the occupants in this trapped world find themselves caught face-to-face with their inner demons.
The film also stars Brianna Brown (CW’S Dynasty), Kit Williamson (creator/star of award-winning and Emmy nominated LGBTQ series Eastsiders), Alexis Carra (Latina star of ABC’s Mixology) and Matemotja (Tyler Perry’s Single Mom’s Club).
To produce, Matemotja turned to Dele Ogundiran, who is also African, and Brown, who is the CEO of the non-profit The New Hollywood, which is dedicated to supporting socially conscious storytellers and changemakers.
Leading up to its premiere, ELEVATE has already earned an award of Merit for Best Feature Film and Best Actress in a Leading Role (Angela Matemotja) from the Accolade Global Film Competition.
As an actress, Matemotja has appeared on screens big and small. Her notable feature film credits include the role of ‘Christina’ in Tyler Perry’s The Single Mom’s Club and alongside Kevin Hart in the indie comedy film Something Like A Business. Her television roles include appearances on the CBS mega-hit comedy How I Met Your Mother, Amazon’s top cop-drama Bosch, ABC’s long-running series Castle and edgy sitcom Don’t Trust The B…, and Ryan Murphy’s modern laugher The New Normal on NBC.
Behind the camera, Matemotja earned an NAACP Award nomination for directing the stage play Sunshine For a Midnight Weary. Her first short film as writer/director, The Encounter, screened at over 30 international film festivals, earning the Grand Jury Award at the White Sands Int’l FF, Honorable Mention at Toronto CommFFest and nominations for Best Short Film at SoCal FF, SOHO FF and Long Island Int’l Film Expo. Her second short, The Untimely Concurrence, won Best LGBTQ Film at AOF FF, San Francisco Black FF and San Diego Black FF, and the Silver Screen Award for Best Short Film at the Nevada Int’l FF. In addition, her screenplay Drunk Book was awarded Best Comedy Short for the written word competition at AOF FF.
For more about ELEVATE visit: ElevateFilm.com