By Dajeong (Rachel) Choi | December 5, 2022
Photo Credit: Dajeong Choi
Ever since Ricarlo-Luis Grevely, 20, was seven years old, he was fascinated by films.
His ethnic background motivated him to create short films on his own because he faced racial
discrimination throughout his time in school. Grevely was born to an Afro-Latin American father and Latin American mother on Oct. 21, 2002, in Santo Domingo, a capital of the Dominican Republic. When Grevely was four years old in 2006, his family came to America and lived in The Bronx, New York, for several months until they moved upstate to Schenectady, New York.
Starting from kindergarten, Grevely was bullied by kids in an “all-white school” for being a
racial minority and the way he spoke.
Grevely found film as a form of escapism, as it provided hope and allowed him to forget about the reality of being bullied by his peers.
“Films provided something that I didn’t have to think about what real life was like because it is fantasy and make-believe, so I didn’t have to worry about going to school and getting beat up when I focused on film,” he said.
At the age of seven, Grevely created his first film - a stop motion video made with Lego elements. He used his iPhone to add photos and editing to make the video. “Since I was seven, I didn’t want to do anything else besides making films,” Grevely said.
Grevely continued to pursue projects related to his field of interest in high school. He started to make music videos for local artists around Schenectady and helped to advertise his friends clothing brands, which all served to build his skills for producing pieces of art.
In his freshman year at Union College in Schenectady, New York, Grevely produced a
narrative driven short film called, “Color My World,” which became a turning point of
having his foot into the film world. The film was mostly silent with a single dialogue and
the story was told through music. It was the first short film for Grevely, which earned him
awards at two film festivals: Bitesize Film Festival and Miami Independent Film Festival, in
2021. This drove him to continue making more short films. “I have everything to thank for
that,” he said.
Grevely transferred to the University at Albany in 2021 and is currently a junior student studying journalism with a minor in film studies and creative writing. He directed and produced another short film in 2021, “The Army of One,” a love letter to traditional black and Kung Fu media.
The production process spanned between July to November without any budget. The film was entered into 30 film festivals and won every single one of them, including the Albany
Film Festival in April 2022. It was also shown on Oct. 22, 2022, at the Asbury Short Film
Concert held at The Linda WAMC’s Performing Arts Studio located in Albany, New York.
“It was a long process, a lot of tediousness, stress, and anger, but it all paid off. I never expected the film to get to the position it was in,” Grevely said.
Haki Lumpkin and Angel Pacheco are close friends of Grevely since high school who played a
significant role for “The Army of One.”
Lumpkin, 21, the co-producer and lead actor for the film, contributed in behind-the-scenes work such as casting, choreography, getting props, and looking for locations to shoot the film as well as acting. It was his first time acting as a main character and co-producing for a feature short film.
“It was an eye opener for me and it was great the whole time even outside for four hours doing the fighting scenes,” Lumpkin said.
Pacheco, 20, the second lead actor for “The Army of One,” was very nervous to act for the
film regardless of his love in acting. “I really like acting because it gives you an opportunity to explore yourself, being able to tap into another side of yourself, and it gives you an outlook for films,” Pacheco said. He added that he wants to be a lead actor in mainstream films in the future.
Besides being a college student, Grevely is working in the locations department of HBO, a
television company. He contributed to the second season of “The Gilded Age” as he was
involved later in May 2022. Grevely is currently working on his next film, “Mi Corazón,” a
romantic comedy with an addition of fight scenes. The release date of the film is to be