It has been six years since the first Media Arts class graduated from Mississippi School of the Arts. Hundreds of hours of planning, casting, directing, filming, sound recording, shot editing, and special effects can be attributed to success stories of graduates gaining experience and obtaining jobs or advancing to film schools immediately after high school graduation.

Kennedy Agee at the Mississippi School of the Arts Spring 2024 Film Festival Showcase at Mississippi Public Broadcasting.

For Kennedy Agee, an MSA Class of 2024 graduate from Madison, MS, her experiences have already garnered much attention as a filmmaker. She has received back-to-back nominations for her work submitted to the JXN Film Festival for her screenwriting: “The Afterlife” in 2022 and in 2023, “The Origins of the Igbo Demigods,” a script about African history–gods and goddesses–with powers inspired by African mythology. She also wrote, directed, filmed, and edited “The 4 Sins of Wonderland: The Mad Hatter.

“This film festival celebrates independent filmmaking and provides educational training in the field with industry professionals, masterclasses, and community outreach. We are designed to educate, entertain, and help emerging artist,” according to the facebook page for JXN Film Festival and Maximus Wright (Founder and Executive Director).

While speaking to the Jackson Advocate, Kennedy said in addition to her family, her mentor, Dr. Candice Love Jackson (JXN Film Festival Director of Education and Festival Director) has contributed greatly to her success. “When I was auditioning, Dr. Jackson helped me with my writing. She also helped me get community service hours by working behind the scenes for the JXN Film Festival. She has helped me become a greater writer, and she’s an even greater inspiration.”

Kennedy is no stranger to attending camps to increase her knowledge and skills. During middle school, she spent time with Computer Explorers where she learned coding. During the summer of 2022, while prepping for her first year at MSA, Kennedy attended a fashion camp sponsored by The Bean Path. The camp consisted of robotics, architecture, and fashion lessons. “Bean Path is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Jackson, Mississippi. Founded by Dr. Nashlie Sephus, our organization provides technical advice and guidance to individuals and small businesses in the community,” according to the official web site of The Bean Path. “In fashion, we learned how to use whatever was at our disposal to create a sketch and make the sketch come to life,” stated Kennedy. “We also learned how to use the sewing machines and 3D printers, and once our outfits were finished, we closed out the camp with a fashion show.”

Did you know? Kennedy is also a Comic Con fan. “I’m always excited to see what’s new from year to year. Comic Con gives fans a chance to come together and have a bit of fun, especially with what’s going on in the world. It’s an outlet to experience and express our love for creative art and cosplay,” she said when interviewed by WAPT 16 of Jackson, Mississippi.

Media Arts instructor, John Kelly Shelburne, Kennedy Agee, and Andrew Tran collaborate on a film scriptwriting project.

The two-year residency of immersed film artistry at Mississippi School of the Arts has helped Kennedy to pursue her dreams. Her goal is to become a novelist and plans to start higher education classes at The Mississippi University for Women in the fall of 2024.

The final MSA film showcase for the year was May 16th at Mississippi Public Broadcasting where Kennedy joined seniors Andrew Tran, Aubree Douglas, Jamien Wright, Joshua Clark, Katrese Tyler, Parker Erwin, and William Magic presenting their senior films.

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MSA is a public, residential high school for talented Mississippi students wishing to advance their skills in the visual and performing arts. Students audition during their sophomore year and, if accepted, will attend MSA their junior and senior years. Click here for more information about the programs available at MSA.