Stream the American Black Film Festival Shorts
BY OLIVIA ARMSTRONG
At the 2017 American Black Film Festival, five groups of filmmakers gathered in Miami to screen their work in front of an audience, some for the very first time. In celebration of Black History Month, all five short films — ranging from 14 to 21 minutes — are available to stream.
Here’s what you need to know before you marathon all five.
Amelia’s Closet (Winner: 2017 American Black Film Festival)
Written and directed by: Halima Lucas
What it’s about: A young black girl, mercilessly bullied in school, retaliates by stealing from her insensitive classmates.
From the filmmaker: “It’s based on my own experiences, but it also speaks to a wider experience of young black girls within the public education system. It’s about being in spaces that don’t feel accepting — because we don’t have what other kids have, or because we look different.”
See You Yesterday
Written by: Fredrica Bailey and Stefon Bristol
Directed by: Stefon Bristol
What it’s about: After C.J.’s brother Calvin is wrongfully gunned down by police, she and her best friend, Sebastian, jump back in time to try and save him.
From the filmmaker: “There’s a lot about fate — how much is destiny, how much isn’t, how much are you having to accept the things you cannot change. As we toyed with the idea, I wanted people to ask: How much do you really control? And at what point do you take that painful experience, learn from it and try to change the future?” — Frederica Bailey
We Love Moses
Written and directed by: Dionne Edwards
What it’s about: 12-year-old Ella’s sexual curiosity is piqued by her brother’s best friend in this unconventional coming-of-age story.
From the filmmaker: “I started writing it about six or seven years ago and at large, it’s about systemic taboos, especially in the black community. I also wanted to explore how sexuality is governed from a young age.”
Written and directed by: Nailah Jefferson
What it’s about: Plaquemines (pronounced Plaque-a-mins), set in the Louisiana parish of the same name, is about the consequences of environmental disaster on remote communities, and how it affects a young man and his father, an out-of-work fisherman.
From the filmmaker: “I wanted people to walk away with a universal story everybody can relate to — the tension between a parent and child. But then I wanted people to see those who live in remote communities throughout the country and realize when their day-to-day is threatened, their way of life is threatened.”
Written and directed by: Kenrick Prince
What it’s about: Bracing for the arrival of her future in-laws, Gema is concerned when her fiancé, Sam, reveals he’s keeping a sensitive truth from his family.
From the filmmaker: “What interested me about [the film] Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, which came out the same year as Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia (1967), was the taboo against interracial relationships. I loved how that story started a conversation. Gema is the new frontier. This is a conversation that needs to be had.”