Ya’Ke Smith known for his unflinching and veracious style of storytelling, is a rising voice in independent cinema.
His films have received world-wide acclaim, screening and winning awards at over 90 film festivals. The Director’s Guild of America, the Student Academy Awards, HBO, Showtime, and the City of Buffalo, NY, which proclaimed February 23, 2013 as Ya’Ke Smith Day, have honored him. He was named a 2016 Screenwriter to watch by MovieMaker Magazine and the Austin Film Festival. His short, "Katrina’s Son", screened at over 40-film festivals and won 14 awards. The film was also eligible for the 2012 Academy Award in short filmmaking. His debut feature, “WOLF”, which NPR called “an impressive piece by a young director,” premiered at the SXSW Film Festival and has gone on to screen and win awards at festivals across North America. The film is now available for streaming via kwelitv.com and amazon. His film, “dawn.", broadcast nationally on HBO and Issa Rae's "Short Film Sunday" film showcase. His short "Hope's War" aired on Showtime. He is currently in Post-Production on his first web series entitled "The Beginning and Ending of Everything."
Ya’Ke has been featured on NPR, CNN, HLN, Ebony Online, Indiewire, Filmmaker Magazine and Shadow&Act.
He graduated with his B.A. from the Communication Arts Department at the University of The Incarnate Word, where he later became the youngest recipient of the Alumni of Distinction for Professional Achievement award.
He received his M.F.A. from the University of Texas at Austin’s film program. He is currently the Morgan Woodward Distinguished Professor of Film at the University of Texas at Arlington.