Major Emmy Snub Against Ralph! | Triumphs & Lessons

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The triumphs & lessons :

Philanthropy, surviving and cultivating artistic justice

By: Féliz

Throughout the difficult highs and lows brought forth by the devastating introduction and impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the world, Rise Celestial Studios rose to the occasion, showing up for communities in ways that meet financial and socio-emotional needs. President Ralph A. Celestin acted swiftly imposing his will and pushing forward great momentum via philanthropy and by sharing the gift of motion picture art, news coverage, comedy, and other forms of cultural connection. At a time where maintaining our connections to one another through our lived experiences due to the societal structures and health crises of today, the motion picture studio’s mission has never been any more clearer or important – adapt to the new times of uncertainty in order to continue being a revolutionary voice in the industry and to create art that speaks to an entire generation. 2020 was a tumultuous year for many industries with peaks and valleys that test the might and grit of business owners and independent artists. For Rise Celestial Studios and specifically Celestin, there were a few memorable moments that reflected this sentiment.

One major low during the year was the outcome of the highly regarded feature length documentary Ralph Celestin created as a news producer with NBC. The Climate Project: Your Role, Your Impact, aired on live on broadcast through NBC Boston and Telemundo and focused on the quintessential role the community plays in combating the harsh impact of climate change on our planet. Upon its release, it immediately received rave reviews and high ratings. The project released with two versions, one in English and other in Spanish, resulting with high expectations of a potential Emmy nod. However, despite being highly praised for its impactful narrative, The Climate Project, failed to receive nomination even though the news team had won the respective category just a few years prior, shocking many in the process
who not only expected the nomination but also a win this year. As a result, a multitude of peers in the industry reached out to Celestin to voice their support and disappointment. In regards to the Emmy snub
, Celestin who is still currently stationed at NBC commented:
“It was certainly a surprise for everyone involved and a shock for me personally but I quickly used this as motivation to dust myself off and prepare to try again. I’m thankful for the Academy for even creating a platform and opportunity for artists like myself to get some kind of recognition. I think my project was one of the best but luckily for us all the judges had plenty of “bests” to choose from and that just goes to show how skilled our New England Broadcast professionals truly are. It’s a tough call to make. Based on the nominees and winner my project was the best, sometimes the wrong call is made. Lesson learned.”

-President/Ceo of Rise Celestial Studios, Ralph Celestin


Mere weeks after the dust from the Emmy snub settled, Rise Celestial Studios and the famed director cemented themselves in Haitian entertainment history with the released of the first ever Haitian stand up comedy show on Prime Video- Sejoe’s Chaje ak Pwoblèm (We Got a Problem). Poetically accurate to the sentiment of lows and highs in 2020, this was a crowning achievement for the young nation of Haiti and certainly a high. In Chaje ak Pwoblèm comedian, SeJoe hilariously pokes fun at the political climates of both Haiti and the United States, the meaning of language and just how convoluted religion can be. By being the only stand-up comedy special in creole on Prime Video ever -a platform that amasses over 10 million subscribers nationwide – Sejoe’s Chaje ak Pwoblèm cemented itself onto iconic status, making this an experience of cultural relevance and affirmation for the people of Haiti.

In addition to serving and unifying Haitian audiences, the creation of the special itself became an event to remember, by becoming one of the biggest collaborations in Haitian entertainment to date. The collaborative work of two of the most reputable Haitian professionals in their respective fields, SeJoe, an established star in Haitian comedy and Ralph Celestin the winner of the ‘Best Movie Award’ at the Motion Picture Association of Haiti for his directorial debut, Boston To Philly – actively built a staple of representation for an underrepresented community in the entertainment industry.

Coming Through America was another mark of success for Rise Celestial Studios and the Haitian community. The all-star ensemble cast Docu-comedy film special released online through Tubi & Amazon Prime reaching over million viewers on its opening weekend. Overwhelmingly positive and critical responses followed suit; such as being called;

“a cultural phenomenon of our time”

and being acclaimed as ..

“the most anticipated film of the year”

Coming Through America is a grandiose cultural

celebration for the Haitian community, as the multitalented cast brings to audiences a piece of Haiti by utilizing comedy to satirize and comment on important issues. With a project like Coming Through America, Rise Celestial Studios reminds us of how finding the unseen and unheard stories is a priority. Producing pieces of cultural impact was one of the main forces that drove Rise Celestial Studios through such a gut wrenching year like 2020.


Despite the disparities the COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare, Rise Celestial Studios did more than survive by marching through the challenges of the pandemic, they helped their neighbors thrive as well by helping communities combat the catastrophic challenges of the virus. The motion picture studio played a vital role in saving Black owned businesses and continuing the important work of social advocacy and advancin


g social justice. In conjunction with Atlanta Black Star, one of the largest online platforms for Black news in the US, with millions of subscribers, Rise Celestial Studios utilized its platform to amplify voices that needed it the most. The company produced news articles, packages and short films emphasizing the negative, and disparate impact the pandemic had on Black owned businesses in Boston. The news coverage for these historical minority owned restaurants and bars proved an effective lever for change as its release resulted in hundreds of views and direct funding opportunities for the GoFundMe campaign created by the Boston Black Hospitality Coalition. This campaign was organized by Nia Grace, owner of Daryl’s Corner Kitchen and Co-founder of the Coalition.


Continuing to amplify voices, Rise Celestial Studios shone a spotlight on the social advocacy campaign of Black activist and founder of The New Democracy Coalition, Kevin Peterson. Peterson received country-wide recognition after being featured in the New York Times and Boston Globe after holding a hunger strike for seven days as a form of protest for the renaming of Faneuil Hall-a long-standing historical monument and tourist attraction in Boston. Peterson vehemently urges for the renaming of the monumental location which was named after its donor, Peter Faneuil whose history of owning slaves and actively participating in the slave trade is not widely known and conveniently hidden. Helping to uncover historical injustices, while raising awareness on possibilities for community healing and atonement, particularly for communities of color, was yet another check mark in the motion picture studio’s agenda.


2020 also saw the online release of yet another feature length project from Rise Celestial Studios, Filmmaker Interview Ralph A. Since its initial conception the studio has averaged a steady release schedule of at least two large scale movies per year. The new film is a rare one-on-one sit down with the award winning filmmaker as Celestin candidly speaks on his tough and inspiring journey in the film business, while sharing details about the struggles he faced creating his directorial debut movie Boston2Philly – a strong, raw, hard hitting coming of age drama that even despite many setbacks managed to sweep many film festivals winning multiple high profile awards including Best Actor, Best Film, Best Director etc. Filmmaker Interview Ralph A isn’t just an interview about a film producer, it offers an unfiltered insight of the unseen and unheard aspects of what the process of filmmaking can really be like, glitz and glamour aside.

Following the theme of inspiring journeys, a lasting noteworthy highlight for producer Ralph Celestin in 2020 was the opportunity of meeting one of his childhood heroes, Spike Lee! In regards to the encounter, Celestin expressed his full gratitude

“It was bound to happen and the fact it occurred when we were both mourning the passing of one of our favorite people, Kobe Bryant made it all the more special. Immediately we hit it off and had a lot of things in common. Certainly, a highlight and bittersweet moment in 2020”.

As the Covid- 19 pandemic made 2020 a force to be reckoned with, Rise Celestial Studio’s CEO, Ralph Celestin shifted his focus on bringing much needed positive energy in the form of community engagement and philanthropic efforts. Celestin’s efforts of generosity began by joining the Anti-Racism IDEEA Board & Committee, and becoming the driving force to writing a successful grant and acquisition proposal amounting over $15,000 dollars for the Boston regional New Repertory Theater- a non-profit organization and long standing staple of the performing arts.

The Theater was forced to shut down production completely due to the pandemic resulting in the theater struggling to stay afloat financially. This massive achievement was accomplished after a 45-minute round table discussion with top executives and gatekeepers from the Tufts Health Plan Foundation, who after listening to Celestin’s extensive pitch by himself, wholeheartedly believed in the non-profit organizational mission.

Taking direct action into finding a solution for the catastrophic pandemic was another clear goal on the CEO and producer’s agenda. During the peak of the pandemic, Celestin began aiding the Center for Infectious Diseases in Brighton. The facility which, during the pandemic, worked arduously towards the research and development of a vaccine for Covid-19. During his stint there, the center received over a million dollars to help their cause.

Additionally, Celestin took part in Warwick’s town hall meetings as a moderator and worked closely with high-ranking city officials and mayoral staff. The meetings focused on addressing current issues such as delegating the city’s budget in order to relieve the community’s burden caused by the pandemic.


And lastly, continuing his long running public speaking tradition since visiting Quincy Highschool, Celestin visited the Boys and Girls Club of Dorchester as a motivational speaker with the goal of encouraging, empowering and educating the youth. Due to the present times of uncertainty and anguish, being engaged with inspirational and powerful anecdotes and advice is exactly what the next generation of professionals and creatives needed and it was only natural for Celestin to be there and share the much needed positivity.

Coming into the new year of 2021, like a rising phoenix from the ashes of one of the most devastating catastrophes the world has ever seen, Rise Celestial Studios already has a slew of projects slated for release including two major documentaries covering a range of current issues such as: climate change, COVID-19 and disparities in criminal justice.

Right off the bat, 2021 is swinging in with full force with the production of an in-depth documentary on how COVID-19 has affected low-income communities of color. In this documentary, Rise Celestial Studio’s crew of award-winning filmmakers and news professionals travel around the country into high-risk areas to capture the effects of the pandemic. To date, high ranking professionals such as Dr. Suner and the Rhode Island Army National Guard’s Captain have been interviewed at the Rhode Island Covid field testing facility with many more health professionals’ interviews already confirmed on the production’s roster

With the world premiere of its 2nd narrative feature Sella’s Kitchen, proving to be a massive hit- selling out within the first 30 days tickets were released to the general public, garnering a crowd of over 900 patrons and hosting a live Q&A. 2019 only set the bar to unfathomable standards for 2020 for Rise Celestial Studios. Like many others in the film and television industry, Rise Celestials Studios picked up steam rolling into the new decade with a packed agenda and high expectations…only to be put on halt; as the unprecedented spread of the Covid-19 pandemic hit the masses by surprise, stopping everyone on their track. With plans on hold yet to be accomplished, Rise Celestial Studio did not let the unforeseeable event become a determent and turned its gears into achieving its goals – sharing stories of impact, lending a helping hand, and utilizing the current times as a tool to shed light onto the unseen communities.

Given the turbulent discrepancies laid uncovered from the COVID-19 pandemic, communities have mutually aided each other through acts of generosity that have allowed us all to thrive. Will you help Rise Celestial Studio’s advance its mission by making a contribution? If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we rely on each other tremendously and Rise Celestial Studios is a deserving place for your charitable time and donation. Help them sustain the critical work of extending joy through the art of film and the community impact of the intersection with social justice action.

Click here to make your donation.


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Rise Celestial Studios is a leading entertainment company committed to being a revolutionary voice within the motion-picture industry. We specialize in large scale productions and creating inspirational and educational content suitable for all audiences.

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