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TIFF 2018 Films Featuring and Directed By Black Talent

TIFF 2018 Films Featuring and Directed By Black TalentPosted by Wilson Morales

September 4, 2018

The 43rd edition of the Toronto International Film Festival will get going from Sept. 6 to Sept. 16 with a slew of films that will have World Premieres and hope to gather some Oscar buzz. In terms of Black talent and films, there ‘s a great deal of directors coming, including Steve McQueen’s WidowsGeorge Tillman, Jr.’s The Hate U Give, Oscar winner’s Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk, Amma Asante’s Where Hands TouchReinaldo Marcus Green’s Monsters & Men, Stella Meghie’s The Weekend, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s Farming, Genevieve Nnaji’s Lionheart, & Wanuri Kahiu’s Rafiki, Jahmil X.T. Qubeka’s Sew The Winter To My Skin and A.V. Rockwell’s Feathers. 

For the first time ever, the festival will have films with more black female in lead roles with Amandla Stenberg leading the charge headlining The Hate You Give and Where Hands Touch. There’s also Oscar winner Viola Davis in Widows, newcomer Kiki Layne in If Beale Street Could Talk, Sasheer Zamata in The Weekend, Marianne Jean-Baptise in In Fabric, Samantha Mugatsia and Sheila Munyiva in Rafiki, Genevieve Nnaji in Lionheart, and Fatou N’Diaye in Angel

Here’s a preview of several films that will premiere at the 2017 Toronto Film Festival that are directed by or starring Black talent.

THE HATE U GIVE directed by George Tillman, Jr.

Based on the critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller by Angela Thomas, The Hate U Give is a timely, powerful and thought-provoking story of race and identity, told from the perspective of Starr Carter, played by Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games, As You Are). Starr is constantly switching between two worlds: the poor, mostly black, neighborhood where she lives and the rich, mostly white, prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. What Starr does-or does not-say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

Directed by George Tillman Jr. (Soul Food, Men of Honor, Notorious) from a screenplay by Tina Mabry and Audrey Wells, the film also stars Regina Hall and Russell Hornsby as Starr’s parents Lisa and Maverick. Lamar Johnson will play Seven, Starr’s older brother. Detroit’s Algee Smith will play Starr’s childhood friend, Khalil. Common will play Starr’s uncle who is a police officer. Issa Rae plays April, the activist that helps Stenberg’s character find her voice and speak up. Anthony Mackie will portray local drug dealer, King, while K.J. Apa will portray the boyfriend of Amandla Stenberg’s Starr. Singer-songwriter and actress Sabrina Carpenter will play Hailey, one of Starr’s friends from her prep school.

WIDOWS directed by Steve McQueen

A remake of the 1980s Lynda La Plante mini-series, the film stars Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo, Colin Farrell, Brian Tyree Henry, Daniel Kaluuya, Garret Dillahunt, Carrie Coon, Jacki Weaver, Jon Bernthal, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo with Robert Duvall and Liam Neeson.

Set against the backdrop of crime, passion and corruption, “Widows” is the story of four women with nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands’ criminal activities. Set in contemporary Chicago, amid a time of turmoil, tensions build when Veronica (Oscar winner Viola Davis), Alice (Elizabeth Debicki), Linda (Michelle Rodriguez) and Belle (Cynthia Erivo) take their fate into their own hands and conspire to forge a future on their own terms.

IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK directed by Barry Jenkins

The cast of the film includes Kiki Layne, Stephan James, Teyonah Parris, Regina King, Colman Domingo, Brian Tyree Henry, Dave Franco, Ed Skrein, Michael Beach, Aunjanue Ellis and Finn Wittrock and Diego Luna.

Based on the novel by James Baldwin, “If Beale Street Could Talk,” follows Tish (Layne), a newly engaged Harlem woman who races against the clock to prove her lover’s innocence while carrying their first born child. The movie is a celebration of love told through the story of a young couple, their families, and their lives.

James plays Fonny, Tish’s fiance, while Parris will play Tish’s streetwise sister, Ernestine, who is determined to help her future brother-in-law prove his innocence. King will play Tish’s mother, Sharon. Domingo will play Joseph, Tish’s fiercely loving father who makes his daughter’s crusade his own. Henry will play Daniel Carty, a friend of Fonny (James). Ellis and Beach are Alice and Frank Hunt, the parents of Fonny.

WHERE HANDS TOUCH directed by Amma Asante

The leads of the film are Amandla Stenberg and George MacKay, with Abbie Cornish, Christopher Eccleston and Tom Sweet added to the cast.

WHERE HANDS TOUCH is a coming of age story set in the most brutal of times: Germany, 1944. Leyna (Amandla Stenberg), the 15-year old daughter of a white German mother (Abbie Cornish) and a black African father, meets Lutz (George MacKay), a compassionate member of the Hitler Youth whose father (Christopher Eccleston) is a prominent Nazi solider, and they form an unlikely connection in this quickly changing world.

As Leyna’s mother strives to protect her from the horrors that she could face as a mixed-race German citizen, Leyna is forced to forge her own path as the war goes on and the Nazi’s increase their atrocities over the Jews and all dissidents. Can she find an ally in Lutz, himself battling a fate laid out before him that he is hesitant to embrace?

THE WEEKEND directed by Stella Meghie

Toronto-born writer-director Stella Meghie (“Jean of the Joneses,” “Everything Everything”) returns to the Festival with this winsome romantic comedy about old love, new love, and learning to love oneself.

The Weekend stars former SNL castmember Sasheer Zamata, Disjointed‘s Tone Bell, She’s Gotta Have It star DeWanda Wise, Insecure’s Y’lan Noel and Kym Whitley.

Produced by Marada Pictures’ Sarah Lazow and James Gibb, the film centers on Zadie (Zamata), a 29 year-old stand-up comedian who goes away for the weekend to her mother’s bed and breakfast with ex-boyfriend Bradford (Bell) and his new girl Margo (Wise). Over the course of the weekend, they’re drawn into an unexpected romantic entanglement with the arrival of another guest (Noel).

Meghie also is producing along with Homegrown Pictures’ Stephanie Allain (Dear White People) and Mel Jones. Josh Bachove is co-producer.

MONSTERS AND MEN directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green

The film. which had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in the U.S. Dramatic Competition section, stars John David Washington, Anthony Ramos, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Chanté Adams, Nicole Beharie, Rob Morgan, and Jasmine Cephas Jones. The film won the Special Jury Award for Outstanding First Feature at the festival.

One night, in front of a bodega in Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy neighborhood, Manny Ortega witnesses a white police officer wrongfully gun down a neighborhood street hustler, and Manny films the incident on his phone. Now he’s faced with a dilemma: release the video and bring unwanted exposure to himself and his family, or keep the video private and be complicit in the injustice?

Green tells the story of how the footage affects the lives of three upstanding men in Bed-Stuy- a young father striving to support his new family, an African American cop dealing with the fallout of his colleague’s mistake, and a star high school athlete who becomes politicized by the incident. Each man is very different, but they equally feel the urgency of the question they must all face: should I take moral action or remain safely on the sidelines? Green provokes viewers to ask themselves the same question?

THE PUBLIC directed by Emilio Estevez

Directed and written by Emilio Estevez, who also stars in the film alongside an ensemble cast including Alec Baldwin, Jena Malone, Christian Slater, Gabrielle Union, Taylor Schilling, Jacob Vargas, Michael Kenneth Williams, and Jeffrey Wright.

After learning that emergency shelters are at full capacity when a brutal Midwestern cold front makes its way to Cincinnati, Ohio, a large group of homeless library patrons led by Jackson (Michael Kenneth Williams) refuse to leave the downtown public library at closing time. What begins as a nonviolent Occupy sit-in and ragtag act of civil disobedience quickly escalates into a standoff with local riot police, led by a no-nonsense crisis negotiator (Alec Baldwin) and a savvy district attorney (Christian Slater) with lofty political ambitions, all as two librarians (Emilio Estevez and Jena Malone) are caught up in the middle of it.

Wright portrays the head city librarian in Cincinnati, while Union plays an ambitious television news reporter who uses the event as a way to bolster ratings for the network as well her own personal profile.

THE GREEN BOOK directed by Peter Farrelly

Academy Award nominee Viggo Mortensen (Eastern Promises, The Lord of the Rings trilogy) and Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali (Moonlight, Hidden Figures) star in Participant Media and DreamWorks Pictures’ Green Book. In his foray into powerfully dramatic work as a feature director, Peter Farrelly helms the film inspired by a true friendship that transcended race, class and the 1962 Mason-Dixon line.

When Tony Lip (Mortensen), a bouncer from an Italian-American neighborhood in the Bronx, is hired to drive Dr. Don Shirley (Ali), a world-class Black pianist, on a concert tour from Manhattan to the Deep South, they must rely on “The Green Book” to guide them to the few establishments that were then safe for African-Americans. Confronted with racism, danger—as well as unexpected humanity and humor—they are forced to set aside differences to survive and thrive on the journey of a lifetime.

The drama is executive produced by Participant’s Jeff Skoll (The Help) and Jonathan King (Lincoln), along with Octavia Spencer (Fruitvale Station) and Kwame L. Parker (Kill Bill series), as well as Cinetic Media’s John Sloss (Boyhood) and Steven Farneth.

FARMING directed by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje

The film chronicles Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s own coming-of-age story growing up fostered by a white working class family in the U.K. The cast includes Kate Beckinsale, Gugu Mbatha-RawDamson Idris, Zephan Amissah, Genevieve Nnaji and John Dagleish.

Enitan (Amissah/Idris) is a young boy “farmed out” by his parents to a white British family in the hope of giving him a better future. Caught between two worlds and belonging to neither, Enitan’s need for love and acceptance is exploited by the adults in his life, transforming a sweet boy into a teenage menace.

Driven by themes of identity, power, love and betrayal, FARMING is rich with compelling characters: complex and dubious foster mother Ingrid (Beckinsale), Levi (Dagleish) the charismatic gang leader whom Enitan must overcome, and at its heart our flawed hero, Enitan, a lost soul desperately searching for a mother’s love as he struggles to find himself in a brutal world. When all seems lost and Enitan spirals into self-destruction, a benevolent teacher (Mbatha-Raw) offers him one last chance at redemption.

RAFIKI directed by Wanuri Kahiu

First shown at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and the first Kenyan feature to do so, Rafiki is a love story about two girls, Kena and Ziki ((played by newcomers Samantha Mugatsia and Sheila Munyiva), who live in a housing estate in Nairobi. The girls are unlikely friends, and their fathers are rival politicians. When they fall in love and the community finds out, the girls are forced to choose between love and safety as two girls on different paths and the difficult decisions each must make about the life they lead and the ramifications of their choices.

Co-written with Jenna Bass (at TIFF last year with High Fantasy) and inspired by Monica Arac de Nyeko’s story Jambula Tree, Rafiki is a celebration of love.

LIONHEART directed by Genevieve Nnaji

Nollywood superstar Genevieve Nnaji returns to TIFF, this time behind the camera with a directorial debut that puts a new spin on the old adage “family and business don’t mix.”

Nnaji plays Adaeze, a level-headed executive in her father’s bus company, Lionheart Transport. Time and again, Adaeze has proven her keen ability to make a profit and to manage the most heated situations. But when her father, Chief Ernest Obiagu (Pete Edochie) falls ill, both she and her rival (Kalu Egbui Ikeagwu) are passed over in favour of Adaeze’s less-than-suave uncle, Godswill (Nkem Owoh).

Determined to fight her way to the top, but not wanting to go against her father’s wishes, Adaeze feels like the proverbial bus has left the station without her. She must quickly shift gears, however, when she and Godswill discover that Lionheart is running on fumes, financially. Together, the unlikely duo must come together to save the company and their family name.

The film was written by C.J Fiery Obasi based on a screenplay by Ishaya Bako and Emil Garuba.

SEW THE WINTER TO MY SKIN directed by Jahmil X.T. Qubeka

South African filmmaker Jahmil X.T. Qubeka (Of Good Report) returns to the Festival with this rousing reimagining of the hunt for John Kepe, an outlaw in 1950s South Africa who robbed from white colonist farmers and gave to the impoverished Indigenous poor, becoming a threat to the foundations of Apartheid society. The film stars Ezra Mabengeza, Peter Kurth, Kandyse McClure, Bok van Blerk, Zolisa Xaluva, and Mandisa Nduna.

Inspired by the life and times of John Kepe, the Samson of the Boschberg, “Sew the Winter to My Skin” is a poetic chronicling of the escapades, arrest and trial of the Robin Hood-esque man of the mountain who managed to steal from farmers and elude capture for years during the 1950’s in South Africa. Beginning with Kepe’s final mission before capture, “Sew the Winter to My Skin” pieces the legend together from multiple perspectives, including that of the white farmers, the town militia, a torn journalist covering Kepe’s trial, farm laborers and the locals. In his ultimate sacrifice Kepe takes on responsibility for a murder he did not commit in an attempt to ensure a future for the guilty young boy who murdered a farm laborer in order to protect Kepe. “Sew the Winter to My Skin” explores the futility of the white settlers’ preoccupation with the preservation and protection of their ideals and physical possessions. It is a film about the search for a hero amongst victimized black people.

QUINCY directed by Rashida Jones and Alan Hicks

A fascinating and intimate look at the life, labours, and legacies of the legendary music producer Quincy Jones, co-directed by daughter Rashida Jones, the actor-writer-director-producer, and filmmaker Alan Hicks (Keep On Keepin’ On, about jazz legend Clark Terry).

No one has had a career like Quincy Jones. His contributions to (and influence on) everything from jazz to soundtracks to pop to hip-hop as a composer, arranger, and producer are immense. Jones is one of only 18 people who has won all four major annual American entertainment awards (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony). He is the most Grammy-nominated artist of all time, with a total of 79 nominations, and has won 27 times (the second all-time highest number in history.)

Now 85, Q — as he’s known to friends — hasn’t slowed down. This intimate portrait follows him over three years on the road as he prepares to stage a star-studded concert for the opening of the National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, DC.

The film deftly interweaves Jones’s history, while letting us watch him at work, wrangling talent for the NMAAHC show, phoning everyone from Colin Powell to Oprah Winfrey. The film culminates in performances by Ray Charles and others who exemplify the immensity of Quincy Jones’s impact.

A STAR IS BORN directed by Bradley Cooper

Cast: Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga,  Sam Elliott, Dave Chappelle, Anthony Ramos, Andrew Dice Clay, & Rafi Gavron.

The story is about a an famed aging, alcoholic country musician who mentors/is schooled by and then finds romance with a younger female star was first done in 1937 with Janet Gaynor and Fredric MarchJudy Garland and James Mason starred in the 1954 remake, and Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson were in the 1976 version.

In the remake, Cooper plays Jackson Maine, a country music star on the brink of decline when he discovers a talented unknown named Ally. As the two begin a passionate love affair, he coaxes her into the spotlight, catapulting her to stardom. But as her career quickly eclipses his own, he finds it increasingly hard to handle his fading glory.

Chappelle plays a character named Noodles, who is described as Cooper’s character’s “oldest friend with whom he started out playing in blues clubs.” Ramos will play Gaga’s best friend Ramon, an aspiring dancer who is born to be in the spotlight.

IN FABRIC directed by Peter Strickland

Premiering in the Midnight Madness section is Peter Strickland‘s horror film In Fabric, starring Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Gwendoline Christie, Fatma Mohamed, Hayley Squires, Leo Bill, Julian Barrett and Steve Oram.

Set against the backdrop of a wintertime department store sales spree, his latest phantasmagoria concerns a cursed scarlet dress as it encounters unsuspecting customers and corrupts their lives.

The ghost story horror film is set at a winter sale in a department store where customers, from a lonely divorcee (Jean Baptiste) to the wife (Squires) of a washing machine repairman end us being cursed by a scarlet dress.

Jean-Baptiste is an English actress best known for her roles as Hortense Cumberbatch in Secrets & Lies, for which she was nominated for the Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress. Most recently she starred as a series regular in the NBC series Blindspot.

THE OLD MAN AND THE GUN written and directed by David Lowery

The film stars Robert Redford, Sissy Spacek, Casey Affleck, Danny Glover, Keith Carradine, Tika Sumpter, John David Washington, Tom Waits, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Augustine Frizzell, and Elisabeth Moss.

Old Man and the Gun is based on the true story of Forrest Tucker (Redford), from his audacious escape from San Quentin at the age of 70 to an unprecedented string of heists that confounded authorities and enchanted the public. Wrapped up in the pursuit are detective John Hunt (Affleck), who becomes captivated with Forrest’s commitment to his craft, and a woman (Spacek), who loves him in spite of his chosen profession. Sumpter will play Affleck’s wife.

The film is Redford’s final acting performance.

HOLD THE DARK directed by Jeremy Saulnier

The psychological thriller stars Jeffrey Wright, Alexander Skarsgård, James Badge Dale, Riley Keough, and Julian Black Antelope.

Hold the Dark is an adaptation of William Giraldi’s novel Hold the Dark. It is an intense tale of fate, family, and revenge set in the remote Alaskan wilderness. When a child is taken from his village by a pack of wolves, expert hunter Russell Core (Wright) is summoned to track and destroy them. His mission leads him down an increasingly dark and shocking path as he confronts the cruelty of nature and his own failures as a man. With the child’s grief-crazed father closing in behind him and a fierce, unforgiving landscape ahead, the question becomes, who is really being hunted?

ANGELO directed by Markus Schleinzer

Markus Schleinzer‘s second feature Angelo stars Alba Rohrwacher, Christian Friedel, Michael Rotschopf, Gerti Drassl, Dominic Marcus Singer, Marisa Growaldt, Makita Samba, Lukas Miko, Éric Gigout, & Daniel Hoesl.

The film is the story of Angelo Soliman (1721–1796), an African born in the 18th century, who is brought to Europe at the age of 10. Becoming a servant at the court of enlightened nobility, he is able to use his otherness to be an appreciated guest and attraction for the members of high society. Being close to the emperor he decides to marry Magdalena, a young maidservant, with whom he falls in love. Doing so, Angelo inevitably suffers from the rejection from the court. On the height of his prestige, he has to realize, that his otherness will never be erased. He will never know a normal life, and he will always remain an outsider. Based on true events.

ANGEL directed by Koen Mortier

Flemish director Koen Mortier‘s third feature film, Angel is based on the novel by Belgian author Dimitri Verhulst. Ittells the story of the final days of the famous Belgian cyclist Frank Vandenbroucke, found dead at the age of 34 in troubling circumstances in a hotel room in Senegal.

The film stars Vincent Rottiers (Dheepan, Nocturama, The World Belongs to Us), and Fatou N’Diaye as the young Senegalese woman. Alongside them is Paul Bartel and Michael Kohlhaas.

Fae (Fatou N’Diaye) is a Senegalese sex worker and Thierry (Vincent Rottiers) is a world-renowned Belgian racing cyclist who has known both acclaim and disgrace. They meet when Thierry and his brother travel to Dakar for a holiday. Far from eager to explore the local sex trade — he normally needs to be in love to make love — Thierry finds there’s something about Fae he can’t deny. Together they experience a communion that restores in both a sense of dignity and the promise of redemption. Then things take a terrifying turn and Fae is arrested, despite having done nothing wrong.

THE PREDATOR directed by Shane Black

The Predator stars Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Jacob Tremblay, Keegan-Michael Key, Olivia Munn, Sterling K. Brown, Alfie Allen, Thomas Jane, Augusto Aguilera, Jake Busey, and Yvonne Strahovski.

Based on the characters created by Jim Thomas & John Thomas, the film directed by Shane Black from a script written by Fred Dekker & Shane Black, the film will hit theaters on September 14, 2018.

From the outer reaches of space to the small-town streets of suburbia, the hunt comes home in Shane Black’s explosive reinvention of the Predator series. Now, the universe’s most lethal hunters are stronger, smarter and deadlier than ever before, having genetically upgraded themselves with DNA from other species. When a young boy accidentally triggers their return to Earth, only a ragtag crew of ex-soldiers and a disgruntled science teacher can prevent the end of the human race.

WHITE BOY RICK directed by Yann Demange

The upcoming crime drama White Boy Rick is directed by Yann Demange and stars Matthew McConaughey and newcomer Richie Merritt as Richard Wershe, Sr. and Jr.

Based on true events, White Boy Rick is set in 1980s Detroit at the height of the crack epidemic and the War on Drugs, and tells the moving story of a blue-collar father and his teenage son, who became an undercover informant and later a drug dealer, before he was dropped by his handlers and sentenced to life in prison.

White Boy Rick also features Oscar nominee Jennifer Jason Leigh and Rory Cochrane as the FBI agents who begin working with Rick as a confidential informant, and Brian Tyree Henry as narcotics detective Officer Jackson; two-time Oscar nominee Bruce Dern as Rick’s grandfather, Ray Wershe; three-time Oscar nominee Piper Laurie as Rick’s grandmother, Verna Wershe; Bel Powley as Rick’s sister, Dawn; Jonathan Majors as Johnny Curry; Rapper YG as Leo Curry; RJ Cyler as Rudell Curry; Taylour Paige as Cathy Volsan; and Kyanna Simone Simpson as Brenda.


Sorry For Your Loss is a half hour drama set to premiere on Facebook Watch that stars Elizabeth Olsen, Janet McTeer, Kelly Marie Tran, Jovan Adepo, & Mamoudou Athie.

Elizabeth Olsen stars as Leigh Shaw, a young widow struggling to put her life back together in the wake of her husband’s unexpected death. Adepo will play Danny, a razor-sharp, constantly simmering, darkly funny, difficult to read, and on the whole just plain difficult dude. Danny always thinks he’s the smartest person in the room, and by his pretty specific and relatively narrow definition of intelligence, he usually is the smartest person in the room.

Athie plays Matt, the kind of handsome that doesn’t make a big deal out of itself, the kind of warm and funny that makes everyone feel more comfortable in their own skin. Matt was as accessible as Leigh was difficult, everybody’s best friend, five minutes into having a conversation with him, you were his best friend too.


Homecoming is Amazon’s upcoming 10-episode psychological thriller series directed by Emmy winner Sam Esmail (“Mr. Robot”) and starring Academy Award winner Julia Roberts and Stephan James (Selma, Race, Shots Fired).

Based on the popular podcast of the same name from Gimlet Media, Homecoming‘s supporting cast also includes Bobby Cannavale, Sissy Spacek, Shea Whigham, Dermot Mulroney, Jeremy Allen White and Alex Karpovsky.

Heidi Bergman (Roberts) is a caseworker at the Homecoming Transitional Support Center, a Geist Group facility helping soldiers transition back to civilian life. Walter Cruz (Stephan James) is one of these soldiers, eager to begin the next phase of his life. Overseeing Heidi and the facility is Colin Belfast (Bobby Cannavale), an ambitious company man whose manic demands point to questionable motives.

Four years later, Heidi has started a new life, living with her mother (Sissy Spacek) and working as a small-town waitress, when a Department of Defense auditor (Shea Whigham) comes to her with questions about why she left the Homecoming facility. Heidi begins to realize that there’s a whole other story behind the story she’s been telling herself.

ASSASSINATION NATION directed by Sam Levinson

After appearing at Sundance and SXSW, Neon and Gozie Agbo is bringing to TIFF the dark drama Assassination Nation, written and directed by Sam Levinson and starring Odessa Young, Suki Waterhouse, Hari Nef, Abra, Anika Noni Rose, Colman Domingo, Maude Apatow, with Bill Skarsgård, Joel McHale and Bella Thorne.

High school senior Lily and her group of friends live in a haze of texts, posts, selfies, and chats—just like the rest of us. So when a provocateur starts posting details from the private digital lives of everyone in their small town of Salem, the result is a Category 5 shitstorm. We’re talking browser histories, direct messages, illegal downloads, secret text chains, and way, way, way worse. People get angry. Like, “rampaging murder posse” angry. And Lily finds herself right in the middle..

FEATHERS directed by A.V Rockwell

Elizier, a new enrollee at The Edward R. Mill School For Boys, must overcome the memories of a tragic past in order to tackle larger issues dominating his young life: How must it feel to grow up in the world, under the constant implication that your life does not matter? To know that the whole world could watch you die, yet nothing would be done about it? In this poetic and lush drama, A.V. Rockwell creates an allegorical love letter to black men and a refuge for young black boys.

Writer, Director, Producer A.V. Rockwell is an award-winning screenwriter and director from Queens, New York. Hailed as a “rising indie filmmaker” by Entertainment Weekly, her work has been celebrated for its brutal yet poetically humanized depictions of urban life and a distinctive voice that slyly addresses issues of race, family, identity, and systematic oppression.

She was handpicked to direct “The Gospel”, a music-driven short film commissioned by singer/songwriter Alicia Keys.

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