Filmmakers Natalia Bougadellis and Emory Parker
Filmmakers Natalia Bougadellis and Emory Parker

Blue Slate Films’ public service announcement titled “You Can Still Smile” has been named one of the top five finalists in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s #NewYorkTough competition.

Members of the public are encouraged to vote here for Blue Slate’s submission between now and May 25, 2020.

The PSA asks fellow New Yorkers why they put on a mask everyday. Filmmakers Natalia Bougadellis and Emory Parker spent a week driving around NY collecting heartfelt responses from friends, acquaintances, and even strangers. “You Can Still Smile” features cinematic footage of New York and its residents, while conveying an uplifting message to stay safe and take care of one another.

Parker and Bougadellis were gearing up to shoot their very first feature film, Whirlpool, when COVID-19 hit NYC. The duo behind media creation company, Blue Slate Films, made the prudent, but saddening decision to postpone their production until further notice. Yet, they did not allow the pandemic to thwart their creativity. Parker and Bougadellis came across Governor Cuomo’s #NewYorkTough PSA competition online and were immediately inspired to take on the challenge.

“We are, first and foremost, storytellers. It is so important to capture what New Yorkers are going through—to see it in their eyes and hear it in their own words,” said Bougadellis.

Blue Slate is known for creating emotional, thought-provoking content that aims to bring underrepresented voices to the forefront, especially those of women and the LGBTQ+ community.

Parker and Bougadellis carry out this mission in their corporate and commercial work as well, working with clients such as Pepsi, McDonald’s, and Nike, and producing content for NBC, Bravo, and PBS.

During quarantine, the company launched a digital series, The Slate, that features artists, experts, and entrepreneurs who make a difference in their respective industries.

“I always try to look for the silver lining. Yes, gigs have been cancelled. Yes, shoots have been postponed. Yes, we don’t know where our next paycheck will be coming from, but we are so grateful for our health and the opportunity to continue doing what we love. It’s really a privilege to entertain, educate, and engage with people during such a turbulent time,” Parker explained.

Blue Slate Films’ PSA and award-winning short film “The Perfect Fit” will screen at the Bel Aire Diner Drive-in hosted by Astoria Film Festival

Vote for Blue Slate’s PSA, “You Can Still Smile” (Natalia Bougadellis & Emory Parker)