Listen to this article here
The Black Wall Street Times

Sign-Up for a free subscription to The Black Wall Street Timesdaily newsletter, Black Editors’ Edition (BEE) – our curated news selections & opinions by us for you.

Keith “Sneak the Poet” Daniels is more than a filmmaker. Born and raised in North Tulsa, He’s an auteur whose films merge passion with creativity in the heart of the Historic Greenwood District. His latest project, “Enlighten,” is a short film that captures Black love with a suspenseful twist.

Having written the script for the project more than a year ago and utilizing a diverse cast, Dreamland Studios founder and award-winning director Keith Daniels wrapped production over the summer. He plans to release the project on pay-for-play platforms in 2023.

“It stemmed from me feeling like I was having an identity crisis,” Daniels told The Black Wall Street Times.

Greenwood film director to release Black love story with a twist
From award-winning Greenwood director Keith Daniels, a new short film “Enlighten,” will be released in Fall 2023. In this photo: Keith Daniels, left, and Cinematographer Bobby Ross. (Photo by Christopher Creese)
From award-winning Greenwood director Keith Daniels, a new short film “Enlighten,” will be released in Fall 2023. In this photo: Keith Daniels, left, and Cinematographer Bobby Ross. (Photo by Christopher Creese)

As a creator, he felt pushed to the edge of writer’s block. And in a sink or swim moment, after talking with his partner, she gave him the encouragement to put pen to pad. It took him just a week to write the short film, which will run between 15 and 20 minutes.

Partnering with Horton records for an original Jazz soundtrack, Daniels said it took a year to secure the funding he needed to tell his story. After dozens of no’s, he finally received support from close friends, which allowed him to pitch his idea to funders like the Zarrow Foundation.

“I just want to continue to make films that have an impact and inspire people. I wanna be a spokesperson for film in Tulsa,” Daniels said.

A resumé of Black creativity, Black excellence

Previously, Daniels co-directed the Fire in Little Africa documentary. 

Utilizing beautiful cinematography, illuminating interviews, seamless transitions and, of course, soul-stirring songs from the artists, “Fire in Little Africa: The Doc” had audience members mesmerized through laughter, tears and a deeper understanding of the movement the album inspires.

On a mission to prove to his community that million-dollar films can form from the soil of Black Wall Street, Daniels plans to premiere his latest project in Fall 2023.

“You don’t need everybody to see the vision, you just need a few, but you need to cast that net wide. You gotta put yourself out there.”

Greenwood film director to release Black love story with a twist
From award-winning Greenwood director Keith Daniels, a new short film “Enlighten,” will be released in Fall 2023. In this photo: Keith Daniels, left, and Cinematographer Bobby Ross. (Photo by Christopher Creese)
From award-winning Greenwood director Keith Daniels, a new short film “Enlighten,” will be released in Fall 2023. In this photo: Keith Daniels, left, and Cinematographer Bobby Ross. (Photo by Christopher Creese)

A Black love story

The two leads for his Black love story, Aubri Ebony and Mihkail LaPread, say they felt honored to work on the project in Historic Greenwood District.

“Keith was great to work with. Hands down amazing experience to work with a director that uses a theater perspective in how he prepares for things,” Aubri Ebony, who plays Luna in “Enlighten,” told The Black Wall Street Times.

As a “pro-Black advocate,” Ebony said the idea of exploring Black love inspired her. Turning 30 years old during the process of filming, Ebony has experience acting in commercials, modeling, and film and television. She also holds a master’s degree in Marriage Couple and Family Counseling.

“Keith did such a great job directing the story, and Mikhail and I brought it to life. It’s an artistic piece but also an emotional piece, and I believe it to be my best work yet. And as we consider the inclusion of Black creatives in entertainment, art like this contributes positively to the future of Black filmmakers,” Ebony said.

“Enlighten” short film coming in Fall 2023

For his part, Mikhail, who plays Luna’s lover in the short film, said it was powerful to create a Black love story near Black Wall Street.

“I love any role that allows me to sink my teeth into it, and my role in “Enlighten” is definitely one of those roles,” LaPread told The Black Wall Street Times. A 30-year-old actor who studied economics, LaPread said he enjoys using both sides of his brain.

“My goals are just to explore, create, and be a part of interesting and layered stories; Bringing those stories to life, and having them resonate with the people.”

Moving forward, Daniels is aiming even higher, with a goal to create a six-figure project in the near future.

“You have to be persistent, resourceful and have the ability to sell your idea. That is the tough one. To sell your idea you have to have a vision and be able to speak it,” Daniels said.

To follow Daniels and his latest projects, check out his Instagram page.

Deon Osborne was born in Minneapolis, MN and raised in Lawton, OK before moving to Norman where he attended the University of Oklahoma. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Strategic Media and has...

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply