At just 17-years-old, filmmaker and actress Maya Jai Pinson’s own life is the stuff of movie scripts when it comes to young, real-life go-getters and achievers. She has been nominated in three categories for the Young Artist Academy Awards and is the first artist from the Delaware-Maryland-Virginia (DMV) area to achieve this feat. She authored a script which was made into a film entitled, “I’m Ready.” The film won six awards, has been selected for 11 film festivals, and catapulted her into the running for three Young Artist Academy Awards.
Based in Beverly Hills, California and founded in 1978 by Golden Globes executive Maureen Dragone, the Young Artist Academy™ is committed to educating, protecting, and mentoring young artists through digital and events. The nonprofit 501(c)(3) produces Hollywood’s first and longest-running youth awards and will hold its event virtually on November 6, 2021. Maya has been nominated in the Outstanding Producer, Outstanding Writer, and Short Film Teen Actress categories for “I’m Ready.”
“It’s truly an honor,” said Maya. “I was really astonished. I wasn’t thinking about the recognition and awards I would be receiving for my work. But it’s just a wonderful feeling to know that I’m getting recognized, because I put a lot of hard work into it. I’m also glad that people are enjoying my film.”
“I’m Ready” is about ‘Lo,’ a coming-of-age teen who finds herself starting to become interested in dating boys. The film seeks to open communication between teens and parents, which is where Maya says her motto, “Conversating before dating” comes in. The movie was featured at the Harlem International Film Festival, winning the 2021 Youth Award.
“All of this is great,” said Maya. “It’s really this lesson from God, because I know that this is what I was put on this earth to do.”
A native of Washington, Maya volunteers at various children’s hospitals, food pantries, and organizations which include the YMCA, Boys & Girls Club, and the Ronald McDonald Charity House. She also plays high school sports and the cello. An entrepreneur, she also has a tee shirt line titled “Conversating Before Dating.”
The talented teen’s recent projects include playing the role of “Breonna Harrison” in the newly-released film “Old School Rollers.” The film is about “Anthony Harrison,” who retires after working for the same company for over 30 years to begin a new chapter in his life. His wife “Stacey’” encourages him to pick back up his passion for teaching roller skating lessons. As Anthony begins his new venture, he encounters disrespectful youths who tell him he’s too old to be on their skating floor.
“Breonna Harrison is Anthony’s granddaughter,” said Maya, who also served as assistant director on the film to writer/executive producer and director, Tree Walters. “She’s a very bubbly, respectful young lady and very supportive of her grandfather. She is there with him every step of the way. She has a love interest, but she doesn’t move too fast. She’s also cheerful, smart, and mature for her age. Anthony has a run-in with someone in my generation and that’s what sparks a big battle.”
Walters talked about Maya and “Old School Rollers,” which premiered August, 2021 in Washington, D.C. The film was shown Oct. 1, 2021 at the City of Praise Church, and according to Walters, drew as many as 1,000 people.
“Maya is a talented actress, writer and director, so you can really see the whole package,” said Walters. “She’s definitely a prodigy for what she does. To see the level of excellence that she puts into the writing process from beginning to end tells me she’s going to go far. She’s definitely worthy of every nomination and award she has received.”
He added, “The message of ‘Old School Rollers’ is about uniting two generations together, and celebrating a culture we have in the DMV, which is roller skating. I had a beautiful time writing it and working with Maya. I’m just loving the response the film has generated.”
You can see Maya in Old School Rollers” at AMC Magic Johnson Theater on Sunday, November 7, 2021. For more information about the film and other projects, visit her website www.mjaip.com.