Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Suffolk professor telling stories through film

Jeremy+Levine+is+an+award-winning+documentarian+and+an+assistant+professor+at+Suffolk.
Michael J. Clarke
Jeremy Levine is an award-winning documentarian and an assistant professor at Suffolk.

When he isn’t in the classroom, Suffolk University’s Assistant Professor Jeremy Levine spends his free time directing and writing award-winning documentaries. 

Levine began dreaming of storytelling when he was a little kid, inspired by his father who was a writer. 

It wasn’t until high school that he discovered documentaries were his passion.

“I started seeing these films that just blew me away and made me see the world in a new way. And I was like oh my god, I want to do that. I want to be a part of that,” Levine said.

Around the same time, Levine took a trip to Israel and was exposed to the discrimination that the Arab population faces. He was inspired to create change. 

“The world has a lot of problems and we all have a responsibility to do something,” Levine said.

Levine said this trip was a pivotal moment in his life. He realized that documentaries would not only allow him to tell stories, but could give a platform to those who needed to be heard. 

As an independent filmmaker, Levine ends up doing a bit of everything in terms of production. He is the writer, researcher, fundraiser and publicity manager, all with the help of his crew. He describes the hardest part of his job as figuring out how to translate the complexity of life into a story. 

Levine has published five documentaries so far. He received an Emmy award for “Good Fortune,” and a Gold Award Best Documentary for “For Ahkeem.” His work has been screened at over 100 global festivals such as “International Film Festival Berlin” and “Independent Film Festival Boston.”

Levine’s most recent film, “For Ahkeem,” was released in 2017 and focuses on the school to prison pipeline in St. Louis, Mo. The documentary follows Daje Shelton as she begins her journey at a criminal rehabilitation school after being expelled from her public school in the area. 

The film is emotional and eye-opening to the horrors that Black children face in the American criminal justice system.

“For Ahkeem” took three years in total to make, with the first chunk of that time spent exploring the school and the ideas of where to take the story. After interviewing students, all with incredible stories, the crew landed on Shelton as their main subject. 

“She immediately stood out to us all as just an incredible young woman who is very outgoing and also very excited about working with us to tell her story. Her passion for that is what made us really excited to tell her story,” Levine said, adding that he is still in contact with Shelton today. 

Levine is currently working on a project with his brother that he said breaks the boundaries between documentary and fiction. He described the film as one that focuses on mental health through the lens of horror films. He is using this film as an opportunity to explore his relationship with his brother, the ethics of documentary filmmaking and the ways in which we try to grapple with moments in our pasts. 

In his classroom, Levine tells his students that the key to success is passion and knowing why it is that you are putting in the effort.

“Everything else we can learn, and we can improve upon, but without that passion, and without knowing what it is that drives us, it’s going to make that journey a lot harder,” Levine said. “Once we discover that passion, it can give us that energy to push through and bring that story out into the world.”

You can stream “For Ahkeem” on Amazon Prime and Hulu.

Follow Alida on Twitter @alidabenoit.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Suffolk Journal
$0
$1050
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Suffolk University. Your contribution will allow us to cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Alida Benoit
Alida Benoit, Asst. Arts & Culture Editor | she/her
Alida is a sophomore Graphic Design major from Brunswick, Maine. Her passions include reading, writing, listening to music, and playing with her dog, Sirius Black. After graduation, she hopes to work for a publishing company and travel the world. Follow Alida on Twitter @AlidaBenoit  
Donate to The Suffolk Journal
$0
$1050
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Suffolk Journal Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
Suffolk professor telling stories through film