By Journalist Ms. Jones
NEWBURGH – Did you know that Orange County is the birthplace of Rapper/Poet/Actor Saul Williams, Rapper/Songwriter Pardison Fontaine who is dating Megan Thee Stallion, 1984 Vice Presidential Candidate Geraldine Ferraro, Artist/Designer/Film Producer Michael C. Gross who designed the logo for the movie “Ghostbusters,” and WNBA Player Stephanie Dolson? Those facts and more are in the Hudsy Original Film “Staycation” which was shown at Newburgh Focused on Saturday, January 28th at the Newburgh Free Library.
“My focus with the library is that it be an organic organism. That it is not just about our collections and our space…It is a community centered place and we are representative of the community, the arts, the culture, the services. We bring up issues of justice, and race, communication, and connection,” said Mary Lou Carolan, Executive Director of the Newburgh Free Library. “We have partnered with MVORE many times. We’re partnering now with Hudsy… doing that we did here today, telling the positive story and where we live. We often hear all the horrible things that happen in Newburgh. I work here every single day and I don’t see these horrible things. I see these connections. I see the love. I see the commitment. I see the dedication. So, my goal as the head of the library is to make sure that the library reflects that. That the library stories, because we’re filled with stories, are the truth about what is happening in our world [and] in our community.”
Newburgh Focused was a celebration of films about Newburgh. It featured Hudsy originals as well as films and music videos by local filmmakers. The films and videos featured included “Staycation,” “Nick The Firedog,” “Garin Baker Painting a Life,” “Newburgh Poetry Slam,” “Chandelier,” “Newburgh Illuminated Festival,” “Move Me,” “Family,” “Love Is,” and “Say Their Names.” The event was also filled with performances by the Newburgh Armory Dancers and the Newburgh Performing Arts Academy. It was presented by Hudsy and MVORE.
“It felt amazing for my community to see the work that I do… It was amazing to see everything that I’ve been working on finally somewhere where people can see it in our hometown,” said Ralph MVORE who starred in the Hudsy Original Documentary about him titled “Move Me” as well as his music videos “Family,” “Love Is,” and Poet Gold’s “Say Their Names.”
Rapper/Poet Daniel Villegas was featured in “Newburgh Poetry Slam” and his music video “Chandelier” which was shot by one of the Hudsy Founders, Shawn Strong. He has been a part of several Hudsy events.
“Hudsy TV has done it like two or three times in different theaters that they’ve exposed the music video to. So, I mean, it’s a great feeling, right? You know, you get to see how people react to what you’re putting out. Because it’s one thing to have an idea.It’s one thing to do it yourself and with whoever you’re working with. But when you get a response from people of how the work is being delivered, that changes your perspective on how the music video’s being taken,” said Villegas who runs the Newburgh Poetry Slam, teaches poetry workshops for teens and adults, conducts writing circles, and is currently working on two books and three musical albums that are poetry and bilingual hip-hop.
Hudsy was founded by Angel Gates, Shawn Strong, Jesse Brown, and Laura Kandel who all have roots in the Hudson Valley. It is the Hudson Valley’s first video streaming app. The goal is to celebrate regional stories.
“Our mission is to bring people together in person and online. So, we have Hudsy TV to bring stories like you saw today to the people and there are over 353 pieces on the app. Just for registering for free, you can watch those,” said Kandel. “We also have an apprentice program… a lot of them came out of the SUNY New Paltz Film Program and we’re sort of a really great next step for them to get onset to learn directly with a camera in hand in many different settings… We do more documentary, local style. So, this is another version of what they can learn and how to interact with people and how to connect in a way that tell stories.”
Hudsy also has a Community Content Fund where they provide funding for local filmmakers. Local filmmakers can apply for grants up to $5,000 to tell their stories. They have already funded six projects ranging from mental health to farming to virtual electronics.
“We need people to get behind this and support it… and then we can keep doing more,” said Brown.