Kimberly Steward: “It’s really important to represent who we are in front of the camera as well as behind the camera.”

Steward’s film “Manchester By The Sea” was nominated for six Academy Awards.

Kimberly Steward financed Manchester By The Sea

Producer Kimberly Steward is a producer for the film “Manchester By The Sea,”  and is among the several black stars who celebrated earning an Oscar nomination on Tuesday.  She is the second black woman producer to have her film be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture (Oprah Winfrey was the first).

Steward, whose film was nominated for six Academy Awards. spoke with the Huffington Post just hours after the Oscar nominations were announced earlier this week.

“This is exciting and surreal,” Steward said of her reaction to the news. “I’m just beyond belief.”

“Manchester By The Sea” follows a janitor mourning the loss of his brother and dealing with the idea of becoming his nephew’s guardian. After reading its script, Steward, who independently financed the $8 million movie, said she and production partner Lauren Beck were instantly attracted to the movie’s storyline.

“I really was able to identify with the film as an African-American woman because I saw my own extended family dynamics and have family members that have dealt with very tragic situations,” Steward said.

Steward, who said she looks up to fellow producers like Debra Martin Chase and Ava DuVernay, hopes that she too can service black communities with her work. DuVernay’s documentary “13th” was among a number of other black-led films to receive Oscar nods this year.

“It’s really important to represent who we are in front of the camera as well as behind the camera,” she said. “We’re amongst a really incredible group of filmmakers and films this year,” Steward said.

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