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Meet August 2018 TGIM celebrity judge Kinfay Moroti


TGIM returns on Monday, August 6. Joining co-hosts Eric Raddatz and Melissa Tschari DeHaven for the start of another season of short indie films that have been submitted for inclusion in this year’s Fort Myers Film Festival is celebrity judge Kinfay Moroti.

Many in this area know Moroti through the images he takes as a reporter for the Fort Myers News-Press. Since joining the publication in 2005, he has established himself as a passionate storyteller who uses moment-driven pictures and videos as his medium of choice. Motivated by an authentic desire to effect change, Kinfay strives to capture the “beautiful struggles” that play out in the diverse lives of people throughout Southwest Florida.

Born to a Chicago prostitute, Kinfay’s earliest goal in life was to escape the poverty, loneliness and physical and sexual abuse he endured while living in the city’s most violent housing projects and eight foster homes. He escaped daily by trekking after school to the downtown library, where he encountered painters like Vermeer and Frida Kahlo.

“I would imagine that I painted their works,” Kinfay admits. “I couldn’t afford painting supplies, so I painted in my mind.”

But at age 30, things changed, and today Kinfay uses a camera to paint moments in time. In his most recent exhibition at Rene Miville Gallery last November, he grouped his images into two separate series, one depicting the war abroad with the other drawing attention to local violence and society.

“The images speak to the beautiful struggle that is life,” states the gallery on its website. And, indeed, those struggles often take on a somber-bordering-on-macabre life-or-death aspect, playing out in images of car wrecks, crime scenes and families grieving together at funerals and in the aftermath of shootings. But Moroti also delights in celebrating love, joy and the sense of community shared by the people who live here in Southwest Florida.

News-Press journalist Charles Runnells provided an in-depth review of Moroti’s show and a number of the images that were featured in it. You can (and should) read it here. When you do, you will understand exactly why hosts Eric Raddatz and Melissa DeHaven asked Moroti to serve as a celebrity judge and how his sensibilities will inform his opinions of the films Eric and Melissa preview.

“I want to matter,” Kinfay says of his photography, and when considering the motivation of any real or fictional character, it’s important to know his or her backstory. That’s true of Kinfay Moroti as well.

“I come from nothing,” Kinfay explains with refreshing frankness. “Abandoned by my parents as a child, I was raised in foster homes in the housing projects of Chicago. I have no family. And, that’s OK. Because I have you. You invite me into your lives every day, sharing moments that help me grow and keep lonely times short. I am grateful for your kindness.”

So come watch the films on August 6 and get to know celebrity judge Kinfay Moroti a little better. Thank God for Indie Monday takes place in the grand atrium of the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center located at 2301 First Street in downtown Fort Myers.

Doors open at 6:30, with screenings beginning promptly at 7:00.

July 12, 2018.





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