Two Filmmakers Write Their Own Love Story

If Sasha Kelly Jackson and Stephen Small-Warner II are seen moving a treasured old notebook back and forth in their old times, it won’t happen because Nicholas Sparks’ novel inspired them. His small spiral pad, locked by a stranger at an airport, has its own plot twist.

Ms. Jackson and Mr. Small-Warner met in 2008 as students at Howard University in Washington. But they first crossed the three years before a moment worthy of the Craigslist “missed connection” post. Ms. Jackson was meeting on the subway in Manhattan. Mr. Small-Warner was descending.

“I was doing a New York crazy-dash, and someone grabbed the door, and I said, ‘Aji, man, thanks!” “Ms. Jackson said. The door holder sounded familiar. To go before the millimeter closed, she knew why.” I said, ‘Oh, you go to Howard. “” She turned to the turnstile before registering her response. I disappeared.

It had been a part of geography: Ms. Jackson and Mr. Small-Warner, both 33, grew up in Brooklyn, he Crown Heights, she Bedford-Stuyvesant. Howardman was home to each Howard for the winter break. And although he first recognized her as a Howard student, her face was more recognizable. Ms. Jackson was already known around the campus as the “MTV Girl”.

In the fall of 2005, the reality show “Miss Seventeen” Made his debut on television. Ms. Jackson was a contestant. “She was more or less trying to find America’s role model,” she said of the show, a joint venture between MTV and Seventeen Magazine. Often noted in the same breath as the film “Fame” at Manhattan’s performing arts school, just before she graduated from La Guardia High School in 2005, she watched about auditions. “I was a drama major. I am going as I was.

Her bid to be Miss Seventeen ultimately failed and she found the show a bit embarrassing. “I can’t say that I love every cut and every edit,” she said. But it helped him make friends with Howard. By prestige, “everyone knew me.” Which also included Mr. Small-Warner.

“Freshman year was like my boy, it’s girl, he’s cute and he’s on MTV,” he said. “We watched a few episodes.” Mostly, however, he did not have time for reality TV stargazing. Mr. Small-Warner, a quantum leap forward, went to Howard on a track and field scholarship as a business management major. Between that and keeping up with my first semester classes, “I almost ran out.” I was trying to figure out what I really wanted to do. “

The scuffle calmed down in 2007 when a fellow track team member entered Apple’s Insomnia Film Festival, challenging students to write, shoot and edit a three-minute film within 24 hours. Mr. Small-Warner volunteered to make the film’s music. “After that, the camera just let me and it never let go.”

After a long time, in 2008, Chanel Potter, a friend of Fall, Ms. Jackson and Mr. Small-Warner, called him to help with a script writing assignment. “He said that asked us to come, and he said two other people were coming, and one of them is this man, Steve,” Ms. Jackson said. “I said, ‘I’m not sure who Steve is, but I’m down to help.”

When Mr. Small-Warner arrived, Ms. Jackson was back on the train platform. “I said, ‘I think you’ve held the metro door for me.’ He nodded to me like yes, yes, yes. I told him that I remember he looked like Usher. “

Mr. Small-Warner got that much. “I was like, okay,” he said. “I’ve heard that consistently throughout high school.” He set out a small point in favor of getting down to business, which impressed Ms. Jackson.

“I think a lot of people take film classes thinking it’s going to be an easy ‘A’,” she said. “I saw that he was trying to master this thing, that he wanted to understand all these elements, which I also cared about, and I was like, we should totally make art together.” They had not known each other for a long time that she felt comfortable saying so, but that winter vacation, when the two were back in Brooklyn – she was a senior and a semester behind at Mr. Small-Warner School of Business Were – they called him. When he returned to Howard, he made a music video.

“At that time we liked this artist MeLo-X Who had this song, ‘With You,’ said Mr. Small-Warner. “We went all over Brooklyn, out of Canary and Bensonhurst, to come up with a theme for the video.” They ended with the tragic love story Katha widens their friendship lane. “We started to feel that we are both a psychological thriller and a darker voice.”

Back at Howard in 2009, Ms. Jackson went on to work on her senior film project. Despite the long days and early wake-up calls, when he provoked Mr. Small-Warner to shoot, it was game. “He used to sleep again and again, but it was nothing romantic,” he said. “We were all set and over the sheets.” Occasionally, they would wake up at midnight to talk through thoughts. “Then one day I was like, ‘You know, we should write all this.”

Shortly thereafter, a stranger handed a black notebook to Ms. Jackson.

“She was this random woman,” he said. The airport was Dalles International; Ms. Jackson was flying to New Orleans to meet a friend. “He had this little book and he said, ‘I don’t want it anymore. Do you want it?'” What should have happened as a repository for music on future films, rather than one of his personal life Let the alternate chronology be made.

“It started, let’s record these dope stories,” she said. “Then we made some rules for this.” One was written, like no one else is reading. In response to what the other person wrote, it was not just written, only read and accepted. No third was writing. “It has turned into a place where we can be open and insecure. And these were not just one-page journal entries. They were 10 or 12 pages of very personal diary writing. “

By the time the last page was filled, they had fallen in love, though neither were ready to accept it. In the spring of 2009, “This was the moment where, if an audience was watching, they would say, ‘They should be together,” Ms. Jackson said. On “Drive Nowhere” – his tenure to grab his camera and try to get lost intentionally – Mr. Small-Warner pulled over somewhere near Baltimore Harbor. From the ground to the billboards below, they danced under the stars before climbing up to take pictures. “Moonlight was really strong, and we were just kids, and it felt like we were lighted. I was like, ‘I love her.’ I knew it in my head, but I didn’t say it out loud. “

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Mr. Small-Warner also knew this. “It was cinematic,” he said. “After that when we started losing time. That’s why you know you’re in love: you start losing time. ”

Reluctantly avoiding the wreckage, the duo contemplated an intense artistic bond, with Ms. Jackson and Mr. Small-Warner waiting until 2011 to call themselves a duet. By then, both were Howard graduates in Brooklyn, with their parents close to Ms. Jackson, Susanna Wittacher and Michael Thompson, and grandmother, Lynette Weathers, and Mr. Small-Warner at home near her parents Stephen and Norman Small-Warner Use to live. When the undergraduate film program in Singapore was accepted at New York University’s Tisk School of the Arts, he relaxed his commitment.

Ms. Jackson accepted this news with equanimity. “I felt really happy for Steve, because I knew it was something she wanted, and I love witnessing his accomplishments,” she said. “But there was another side of me that said, ‘Oh.”

James Malone, a friend of Howard’s, was more familiar with the accepting side. “Sasha and Steve were known at school as this cool artistic couple,” he said. “But more than that they were known as the individuals who did this dynamic, I let the other person talk about them.”

In keeping with that dynamic, he made an agreement to allow the two-year separation to grow personally, with no commitment. Ms. Jackson fell in love over time. “It allowed me to find myself as an adult,” she said. “I had the opportunity to learn about stuff I had never thought of before, like toilet paper.” It also started its career; She became a production coordinator for television commercials.

When Mr. Small-Warner returned to Brooklyn in 2013, he recommended taking time to get to know himself. “I said, ‘You need a chance to breathe.”

Her life in Brooklyn was sometimes as a lover and girlfriend, and sometimes as just friends, until 2017, when Ms. Jackson moved to Los Angeles. Mr. Small-Warner bought him a one-way ticket a year before Valentine’s Day.

“Sasha had always acted here and there, and I could see that she wanted to move in the same direction again,” he said. “I wanted to support him.” For 18 months, they settled into a long-distance relationship. Then “what we wanted from each other changed.” He needs to be together. In 2018, he moved into his Hollywood apartment.

Both say the West Coast has been good for them. Ms. Jackson has appeared in commercials for Google and Subaru and made her first film role in Steve Carell’s film “Beautiful Boy” in 2018. And Mr. Small-Warner, named Tribeca Film Institute’s first filmmaker in 2018, who is currently directing a documentary, “Agandi”, about the work of an African-American emergency room physician in Uganda.

At their heart, however, they are Brooklynites. Therefore, on October 26, 2020, when Ms. Jackson accepted Mr. Small-Warner’s offer to marry her in a Japanese garden in Los Angeles, she knew where they would say “I do that.”

For years, Mr. Small-Warner was president of the Herkimer United Block Association, a group devoted to the concerns of residents in a two-block stretch of Bed-Stew. “From a heritage standpoint, this is a big thing for me,” he said. “That area is embedded in my New York story.”

On February 7, Ms. Jackson and Mr. Small-Warner were married in the Brownstone of the Small-Warner family by Mr. Small-Warner’s sister, Sophia Small-Warner, a Universal Life Church minister. by reason Epidemic, Only 10 guests, all family members who had already taken the Kovid test, participated.

Ms. Jackson descended the brownstone ladder and wore an off-shoulder ivory gown with a bouquet of Stargazer Lily; Mr. Small-Warner wore a white tuxedo jacket.

In handwritten vows, Ms. Jackson promised to honor Mr. Small-Warner’s place and creativity. “Thank you for finding me in this lifetime,” he said. Mr. Small-Warner laughed, then wiped away tears, before he would speak. “The night we talk about falling in love, we were on a random drive,” he said. “You’ve always been there for my randomness. I promise that I will always be there for the love that I have always had. “

With this, Ms. Small-Warner pronounced her husband and wife.

When Feb 7, 2021

where Small-Warner Family Brownstone in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn

more to come The family closed the ceremony with a champagne lunch. The couple plans to celebrate this year in a big way with a Junaith “Bashment” to honor their Caribbean heritage. Mr. Small-Warner’s parents are immigrants from Barbados. Ms. Jackson has family roots in Jamaica and Guyana.

Still cooperating Ms. Jackson and Mr. Small-Warner are still making films together, especially since the introduction of the coronovirus. “It affects our industry a lot, because on the set you’re working in close proximity,” Ms. Jackson said. “This is a good time,” Mr. Small-Warner said.

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