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Community Highlights: Meet Cristy Trabadass of Smoke Stacks Studios & Trabadass Productions

Today we’d like to introduce you to Cristy Trabadass.

Hi Cristy, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
When I was ten years old, I had this deep feeling that the dream career I chose then would be what I had to pursue for the rest of my life. Through much introspection inside my child self and some help from my always supportive mom, I came to the conclusion that I wanted to become a film director. I loved movies and when I googled the job description, I said this is what I want to be when I grow up. I was lucky enough to go to a really good public school that had a growing film program and that is where I got my start in making films. My first time on set I knew that the decision I made when I was 10 was the right one and I was going to pour everything into making that dream come true. In my senior year, the National YoungArts Foundation awarded me as a winner in film and from there, my career started to bloom. After high school, I attended FSU College of Motion Picture Arts and learned the ins and outs of making movies and the industry. There I made four short films, one of them entitled HABIT, which got into the Sundance Short Film Intensive Program in Miami, where I met my soon-to-be mentor and business partner Jokes Yanes while bumming a cigarette off him after the event. In my senior year, my thesis film Baked Goods premiered at the Comcast NBC NALIP Media Festival where I first was exposed to the real industry outside of school.

Upon graduating, I realized the movies I was passionate about making were all about adolescence and underground sub-cultures specific to where I was raised in South Florida. So after graduating in 2019, I moved back home to start my career in what I thought was a barren filmmaking landscape. However, meeting Jokes back at the Sundance event was the catalyst to where I am now and where I am headed. With his 15 years of experience and an Emmy under his belt, he took me under his wing and showed me the ins and outs of Miami filmmaking. Since then, we partnered up with actor Kerby Collins (one of the leads in Baked Goods), actor Rafael Castillo (Black Lightning, BET Sistas), and Joey Villalona to create our production company Smoke Stacks Studios; an all-inclusive film production company that specializes in feature narrative, documentary, and television series. We all came together over a narrative project following the rise of a Broward trap rapper from the underground to the mainstream; entitled SavageLands. We became Rolling Loud Music Festival’s filmmaking team with four projects currently in development.

Since the three years since graduating film school, I have built my own production company Trabadass Productions along with our partnership Smoke Stacks Studios to develop my skills in directing, producing, writing, and production management on over 25 projects with clients such as; HBO, Strange Music, the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation, and Rolling Loud Music Festival.

Along with pitching and working on our current slate of projects, I am a part of the Small Business Executive Program at the Jim Moran Insitute of Global Entrepreneurship where I am learning the ins and outs of running a business so we can take our work in filmmaking to the next level.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Filmmaking is hard. Taking the road less traveled by making independent films with smaller budgets in a state with not a lot of film industry infrastructure has its benefits but makes getting a project off the ground a bit more difficult. I am only three years out of school so have to learn fast and push hard in order to make a consistent income. I still learning how to make a decent living off of filmmaking in Miami, there are good months and bad months. The lack of stability is difficult but it pushes me in the direction of mentoring the younger generations of filmmakers which is a big plus. But these are the woes of many filmmakers and I just have to keep moving forward and be grateful that I have the opportunity and support to achieve this dream.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Smoke Stacks Studios & Trabadass Productions?
Smoke Stacks Studios is an all-inclusive film and event production company that specializes in all aspects of production from development to post-production. We all came together through our love of underground hip-hop through a project called SavageLands, a narrative that follows Damien a Broward trap rapper, and his videographer Cash as they rise from the underground to mainstream fame. Brand-wise, our work mainly focuses on character dramas of young hungry people willing to do anything to make it in a world swallowed by the impact of social media.

We also have begun working in the event space by hosting our bi-annual RnB music event called For Lovers Only. This past February, we hosted our second show at Oasis Wynwood featuring Twelvelen, Kerby Collins, and Kaylan Arnold with over 400 people in attendance.

You can check out our work at https://www.smokestacksstudios.com/

Trabadass Productions is my own production company where I specialize in creating film, documentary, and commercial projects based in South Florida. My brand focuses on the underground and capturing the experience of being a young person today. I am very influenced by South Florida culture and how sex, drugs, and hip-hop influences our daily lives.

You can watch my work at https://www.trabadassproductions.com/

Any big plans?
I plan on continuing to push the amazing projects we have developed to be distributed by major streamers and to direct my first feature.

Contact Info:


Image Credits
Pink Photo of me: Eli Dreyfuss The Women in Film Project Photo of women with afro in center frame looking up: Smoke Stacks Studios, DP Angel Barroeta Man and woman with cognac glass: Jokes Yanes Photo of Girls in the bathroom: Millie Jenkins Habit photo: Millie Jenkins

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