Voting is over, the ballots have been counter, and an official winner for Round 1 of the inaugural Shadow And Act Black Filmmaker Showcase has been selected.

Congratulations to James Bland whose short film entry Cocoa Love garnered 46.7% of the vote, followed very closely by Raafi Rivero’s Their Eyes Were Watching Gummy Bears, which earned just over 45% of the total votes, both films accounting for over 90% of all votes, of which there were 14,220.

There were 11 films in total, by the way, and congrats are also due to everyone who took threw caution to the wind and submitted their short films for the rest of the world to watch and even scrutinize.

Get to know the winner, James Bland, below…

A graduate of Florida A&M University (FAMU), James Bland discovered his passion for film during college when he was casted in the edgy and controversial internet drama series My Brother’s Keeper. The show opened his eyes to the magic of filmmaking and propelled him to write and direct his first feature film Dreaming in Color during his senior year of school. Upon leaving FAMU with a degree in business administration, James took a leap of faith to Los Angeles and received his first big studio opportunity working as an intern to producer Will Packer on the movie Takers. Finding a home at Sony Screen Gems, James continued to work on the production side of films such as Death at a Funeral, Priest and Burlesque where he served as the assistant to the executive in charge of production. While working in the studio systems, James continued to create his own projects. His short film, Cocoa Love, has competed in close to 10 film festivals around the country, won Best-Comedy at the Urban Media Makers Film Festival and aired on the season two finale of BET’s Lens on Talent. Currently, James serves as Co-president of Hometeam Entertainment. The first project to be released under the Hometeam banner is the web series FAIL. James plays the role of Jones, a dim-witted athlete, on the show and also serves as one of the Executive Producers.

As for projects he’s currently working on… Fail, a new web-based comedy that chronicles the random misadventures of six college students struggling to pass a class they never end up studying for. The show’s first episode premiere in mid June at

James is also directing a documentary titled Mission Swaziland, which is a look at American volunteers on a mission to help the Kingdom of Swaziland, but culture, tradition and politics get in the way.

The trailer can be viewed below:

Mission Swaziland Trailer from James Bland on Vimeo.