Filmmaker and actress Jamie Burton-Oare says Flint is her "soul." Courtesy photo
FLINT, Michigan -- Flint native and filmmaker, Jamie Burton-Oare is dedicated to giving back to the Flint community by sharing Black stories through theatre and film.
“Flint is my culture and I embrace my culture, so much so that it is a part of my fabric, it's my soul,” said Burton-Oare, who grew up in the Brownell-Holmes Neighborhood.
Growing up in Flint, Burton-Oare began her journey in fine arts through the public school system, something she is very proud of. She started acting in fifth grade when she had the opportunity to be a magician in a school play. From there, her love for theatre only grew, eventually propelling her to accept a scholarship to Howard University.
At Howard, Burton-Oare juggled her business course load while intentionally taking extra film and theatre courses to fulfill her passions. She began to fall in love with film production and seeing the stage through a new perspective.
“I wanted to see what they were looking at on the other side of the camera, so I started with film classes and workshops,” she said. “I then applied what I learned until I felt confident enough [to make a film].”
After attending film school in Los Angeles, she created her own film. In 2007, Burton-Oare completed her first project, Doing the L.A. Thing, a film centering the struggles of five aspiring actors during pilot season. Since its premiere, the film was entered into the African American Film festival and has earned several accolades.
Since creating her first film, Burton-Oare has written, produced, and directed three films and attributes much of her inspiration and success to her foundation in Flint along with her mentor Wendell B. Harris Jr., a Flint actor and filmmaker.
“We're some incredible people (in Flint); resilient people,” she said.
Grateful for the humble beginnings she had growing up in Flint, Burton-Oare says she is intentional about ensuring she is doing all she can to contribute to the city. She continues to support the community of Flint through her non profit Flint4Flint where she participates and launches various project ventures with her friends from high school Jason McGee, Omar McGee, and Tywan Fiemster. One of the largest projects that they have launched is dedicated to providing and refilling clean water coolers to families in need in partnership with Water Depot, a water supply company located in Clarkston, Michigan.
As of 2020, Burton-Oare and her friends have served about 61 families in Flint and replenish their water every 1-3 months, as needed.
“In Flint, we always take care of each other,” Burton-Oare said. “So the intention behind this was the belief that we can do more to take better care of each other.”
Burton-Oare has two upcoming projects scheduled to be shot in Flint.
“My goal is to do what Spike Lee did for Brooklyn for Flint,” she said.