There must be something in the water; yet another Brooklynite is being recognized for their talent and hard work. This time, it’s Williamsburg native, fifteen year old JAC Carrera, who was recently nominated for the Best Teen Actor 2019 Young Artist Award for his feature film “Swinging into Action,” directed by Joseph Guevara.
The 40th Annual Young Artist Awards began in 1978 and has been awarded to some of Hollywood’s biggest names such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, and Jake Gyllenhaal. Named the “Youth Oscars” by the Huffington post, the Young Artist Awards claims to work toward “offering exclusive industry connections, networking, press training, protection education, academy references, and publicity opportunities for young artists on the rise.”
“I feel like I’ve been trying to push the door of opportunity open for so long, and getting nominated for this award opens the door completely,” Carrera told Bushwick Daily. Since Carrera was young, he knew had always wanted to be an actor. “Spiderman was my biggest inspiration,” Carrera said, “When I first saw the movie, I just kept telling my mom I wanted to be Spiderman. That’s when I first expressed my interest in acting.”
Carrera started getting serious about acting in 2015, when he auditioned for short films, took workshop classes, and experimented with theatre. His first lead film was “Bloody Mary,” which was an NYU student film. “I was super nervous for the film, but it was cool working with students because I could relate to them,” Carrera said.
The Young Artist Awards operates based off an open call that is then evaluated by a panel of industry professionals, which changes from year to year. “Becoming known and recognized by the right people in the entertainment Industry is far more valuable than self-promotion or social media stalking,” the YAA website explains. Part of the panel consists of members of the Young Artist Academy, in which young participants in the industry can share their opinions, “As true supporters of young talent, our aim is to educate them to become proficient at this exciting element of entertainment associations.”
Over the course of his childhood, Carrera has been involved in various acting projects from theatre to student films. However, it’s not always been easy. Like many kids trying to find their voices and stay true to themselves, Carrera has been bullied for pursuing his passions by his peers. “It’s hard, but the support from my family and friends has helped so much,” Carrera said. More motivated by his hardships than letting it hold him back, Carrera hopes to one day help other kids who have been bullied for being themselves. “I hope to one day have a space where kids can create and just be themselves without judgement,” he said.
Carrera was raised and born in Brooklyn, to a mother of Dominican descent and his father of Puerto Rican descent. Carrera is equally inspired as well as humbled by having grown up in Williamsburg.
“When I was younger, Williamsburg was not the same as it is today,” he explained. “It was pretty dangerous. All I remember is seeing acting as a way of getting out of here.” Now, however, Carrera is proud to call Williamsburg home and tries to help the community as much as he can. “I always try to give back, participating in food and toy drives and giving money to local charities.”
Much of Carrera’s success is due to his drive and open-minded approach to the opportunities that are presented to him. He is currently working on a number of projects; a feature film, “Bastion,” directed by Justin Kapr, and a short film, “Home Coming,” directed by Sam Motamedi. Carrera will also be in the play “Queen of Hearts,” directed by Lily Kamp, on May 22 at Dixon Place. “I’m so excited to just keep going,” Carrera said.
Photo cover image courtesy of Jac Carrera, still from “Swinging Into Action.”
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