Ya’Ke Smith known for his unflinching and veracious style of storytelling, is a rising voice in independent cinema.
His films have received world-wide acclaim, screening and winning awards at over 100 film festivals. The Director’s Guild of America, the Student Academy Awards, HBO, Showtime, and the City of Buffalo, NY, which proclaimed February 23, 2013 as Ya’Ke Smith Day, have honored him. His short, Katrina’s Son, screened at over 40-film festivals and won 14 awards. The film was also eligible for the 2012 Academy Award in short filmmaking. His debut feature, WOLF, which NPR called “an impressive piece by a young director,” premiered at the SXSW Film Festival and has gone on to screen and win awards at festivals across North America. The film is now available for download via several Video-on-Demand outlets. His short film, dawn., made its television premiere on HBO in February of 2015, and screened throughout 2016 on the network, before being streamed as part of Issa Rae’s Short Film Sunday series.
Ya’Ke has been featured on NPR, CNN, HLN, Ebony Online, Indiewire, Filmmaker Magazine and Shadow&Act.
Ya’Ke graduated with his B.A. from the Communication Arts Department at the University of The Incarnate Word, where he later became the youngest recipient of the Alumni of Distinction for Professional Achievement award. He received his M.F.A. from the University of Texas at Austin’s film program. He is currently an Associate Professor of film in the RTF Department at The University of Texas at Austin. He was previously the Morgan Woodward Distinguished Professor of Film at the University of Texas at Arlington.