The District of Columbia Office of Motion Picture and Television Development (MPTD) is pleased to honor Kirk Fraser, award-winning director, screenwriter and producer as the October 2013 Filmmaker of the Month. Kirk’s early success in directing music videos and corporate commercials locally led him to what has become a promising career in documentary filmmaking and television that has received national recognition.
Kirk Fraser was born in Kingston, Jamaica but was raised in the DC metropolitan area, where he began his film and television career after taking a television production class in his senior year of high school. He studied filmmaking at Howard University in Washington, DC. and soon thereafter established Washington, DC based May 3rd Films, where he initially focused on music videos, corporation commercials, and federal and state government videos. Ultimately, he changed the direction of the company and independently released his first documentary The Life of Rayful Edmond to high acclaim in 2005. Hailed as a cult classic, the success and creative marketing behind the film landed him on the cover of The Washington Post.
In 2006, Fraser teamed up with hip-hop personality Lil' Kim and entrepreneur Tracey Edmonds (Edmonds Entertainment) to develop the Black Entertainment Television (BET) reality series; Lil' Kim: Countdown to Lockdown. The series debut garnered the network's highest ratings at the time with 1.9 million viewers and a 1.7 rating. Coming off the heels of the show’s success, Fraser turned his attention to a venture between Dallas Mavericks' owner Mark Cuban and NBA star Jerry Stackhouse to produce Against All Odds (2006) for the Fox Sports Network. Other television credits include directing and producing episodes for BET's television series American Gangster (2007) and creating Party Boyz (2009) for TVOne, a hour special in honor of President Obama's inauguration.
ESPN commissioned Kirk to executive produce and direct Without Bias for their "30 for 30" documentary series, timed to ESPN’s 30th Anniversary. The film centered around the death of Len Bias and the effect it had on Boston, the University of Maryland, the criminal justice system, and Bias’s friends and family. The New York Times proclaimed the film to be “the most elegiac film in the 30 for 30 series”. Additionally, the film won the coveted Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the 13th annual American Black Film Festival, earned a 2010 Peabody Award, and was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Sports Documentary in 2010.
Kirk is currently filming a documentary entitled Naked Hustle, which takes an in-depth look into the world of exotic dancers. He is also in pre-production for a feature film City Under Siege and in the development stage of feature film The Graduates, which both will be filmed almost exclusively in the District. Kirk currently resides in Ward 2 of the District of Columbia.
MPTD launched the Filmmaker of the Month initiative to feature a District-based filmmaker who exemplifies the vast amount of talent and creativity based here in the nation’s capital. The Filmmaker of the Month initiative is part of its mission to elevate the national and international profile of the city’s most talented filmmakers. Previous filmmakers honored include Long Story Short Media founder Jessica Stuart, ANACOSTIA web series creator Anthony Anderson, Sankofa producer Shirikiana Aina, and The Woodmans director of photography Neil Barrett.
You can visit the Filmmaker of the Month section to learn more about Kirk and previous Filmmaker of the Month recipients.