Moviemaker Hannah Bonecutter chosen as finalist in Gentleman Jack competition
July 6, 2018

Among Hannah Bonecutter’s community service has been teaching mathematics and English to children in Delhi, India.

By Lisa R. Jenkins

Hannah Bonecutter’s film, Minstrel vs. Puppet, was among the four finalists recently viewed by a private audience at the Gentleman Jack Reel to Reel 2018 national film competition screening at Park West in Chicago.

Bonecutter is active in this community with Housing Opportunities and Maintenance for the Elderly (H.O.M.E.), 1419 W. Carroll Ave.

Minstrel vs. Puppet tells the story of a fierce, beauty-obsessed woman of color engaging in a sensationally intense dialogue with an intellectually driven, independent woman of color focused on different, yet similar issues they both face. 

“My inspiration for Minstrel vs. Puppet was the state of our current society or life,” Bonecutter said. “Real life, if you will, is not necessarily always what is portrayed on social media or in daily news coverage.”

Minstrel vs. Puppet is a work of art, and as with any work of art, the interpretation and perception of it remain in the eye of the beholder. Some in the audience viewed the film as being about one woman with two conflicting sides to her, and others saw it as two separate women who are always in this constant battle with each other over which paths to take in life. Those conflicting paths often consist of the stereotypical party girl or materialistic woman who takes the easy road in life and the woman who believes in higher education and climbing the corporate ladder.

“While these characters may never be able to relate on certain things, they can find many similarities,” said Bonecutter. “Once thorough, genuine effort is put forth to fully understand one another, then I believe solutions and love can be born.”

When asked about the challenges of creating Minstrel vs. Puppet, Bonecutter said internal and external conflicts always surface when creating an art piece, whether it is a film, painting, song, or any other type of art that exists

“Many times processes may not go as initially planned, or something is forgotten and then included later—this is life,” Bonecutter said. “What I’ve found so far is that this is often what tends to make the art-making process not only that much more fun and creative but also increases the learning experience for everyone involved.

Bonecutter wrote and acted in the film, which was directed by Marcus Aubin. 

Photos courtesy Madagascar Research and Conservation Institute
The film Minstrel vs. Puppet features Hannah Bonecutter in a dual role of two women—or perhaps the same woman—having a dialogue.

Community activist

When she is not acting, Bonecutter owns and operates BoneClutter LLC, a professional organizing firm. She also serves on the boards of several nonprofits where, throughout the years, she has led fundraising, political activism, and social networking efforts. Those nonprofits include H.O.M.E., Women Employed, and Women’s Global Education Project. 

In addition to being an actress, writer, and executive producer, Bonecutter also is a licensed professional educator.

Bonecutter has greatly enjoyed teaching domestically and abroad in third world countries. She currently is a part-time academic tutor as well as a part-time early education and elementary school teacher in Chicago.

Bonecutter has taught English in Madagascar to youngsters and adults. She also taught mathematics and English to street children from ages four to 17 in Delhi, India, and taught orphans in Honduras. Bonecutter recognizes the unique educational and personal growth that one obtains from international travel that cannot be attained otherwise. 

While always having a knack for acting and modeling, Bonecutter began acting on film in 2013 in several large network television series including Empire, along with local and independent films such as Bloodlines.

Minstrel vs. Puppet was Bonecutter’s experimental short film debut, while her first film project was a feature-length documentary titled Live as the Majority, available for viewing on YouTube.

Bonecutter said her mission in life is to be a light of exposure and inspiration. “Whether I’m teaching students in a classroom, professionally organizing a client’s home, or acting on the big screen, I strive to always achieve this mission and help this world become a much better place,” she explained.

Gentleman Jack Double Mellowed Tennessee Whiskey joined with Codeblack Films and TV One to showcase rising African American filmmakers and help shine a light on their unique stories and talents. Participating filmmakers across the country are given the chance to win $10,000 and a VIP trip to Miami Beach to screen their short film for an exclusive audience for some of the biggest names in the business. Films are judged on screenwriting skills, production quality, and entertainment value.

Film competition

As a winner of the Chicago competition, Bonecutter not only was invited to screen her film in front of a live, private audience but had the opportunity to participate in an intimate Q&A session along with the other participating filmmakers. The other films screened that night were Briana Clearly’s Love in Progress; Jessica Scott’s Sneaker: It’s Complicated; and Lonnie Edwards’s An Atramentous Mind.

There was also a celebrity guest appearance by writer, producer, and award-winning actor Omari Hardwick from the television show Power.

“Reel to Reel is a rare opportunity for new filmmakers to screen their work for industry insiders,” said Hardwick. “As a writer and actor, I am personally excited to collaborate with Gentleman Jack on such necessary recognition of Black talent behind the camera.

“When looking at these films, it’s really about whether the writer was able to tell different stories within their different characters,” Hardwick added. “You don’t want to hear the same voice. I think it starts with that. Then just the director and the film, story-wise, taking a unique angle and making you go ‘hmm.’ We’re looking for a story that’s different and unique.”

As she continues to grow in film as an actress, executive producer, and writer, Bonecutter hopes to receive as many diverse opportunities as possible. “These can absolutely include documentaries, TV shows, feature narrative films, and much more,” Bonecutter added. “I know that, with growth, I must progress so I will be certain to continue to appropriately challenge myself and only do projects that allow me to reach higher goals I set for myself.”

For more information on the program, contest submissions, official rules, and to see who won the 2018 competition, visit For more about Bonecutter and BoneClutter, log on to More about Codeblack Films can be found at Learn more about H.O.M.E. at Log on to for more about TV One. For more about Women Employed, log on to Learn more about the Women’s Global Education Project at