The American Black Film Festival showcased several up and coming Black Filmmakers with their short film competition this past weekend. The short films were all extremely moving and mostly dealt with the relationships between parents and children, and the sacrifices parents make for their children, as well as the affects of parental abuse. If these short films are any indication of what is to come in Black film, the future is very bright.
“Salvation Road” features Russel Hornsby as an assassin who comes to a white family after a job and paints a bleak picture of child abuse. The movie is very powerful and disturbing. Hornsby does an excellent job as the visiting assassin — who at first is seen killing his father for an unknown reason — and later comes to the rescue of an abused white child. Hornsby showcases his acting talent and director, Ka’ramuu Kush, proves himself to be a director with a great future in this dark tale of abuse and revenge. The movie was as powerful as any movie I’ve seen recently.
“Fig,” which won the ABFF award for Best Short Film at the Honors Ceremony Saturday, also highlights the relationship between parents and children. The movie tells the story of a prostitute and her daughter. In order to feed her daughter, the prostitute decides to take her to the street where she prostitutes herself, to get money for food. This movie also deals with abuse, as the prostitute is abused by her pimp, and it is implied that her young daughter was molested by him. The director, Ryan Coogler, had worked with young prostitutes and the picture he paints is both depressing and moving.
“The 36th Page,” like “Fig,” deals with a parent who makes the ultimate sacrifice for his child. In order to pay to treat his son from a disease, the main character, Roman Wilson, sells himself into indentured servitude to a shady corporation. By using an African American character as a character who sells himself into modern day slavery, it makes it easier for Americans, especially Black Americans, to identify with the struggles of the many Africans, Europeans and Asians have due to human trafficking which is like modern day slavery.
“For Flow” is the only movie that doesn’t deal with the issue of parenthood. The film deals with two rappers and comes across more like a long McDonald’s influenced hip hop commercial than a short film.
“The Turtle And The Nightingale” is another short film that focuses on parenthood, abuses and its effects. The main character, a 12-year-old boy in England, is tormented by a fellow 12-year-old who bullies kids as a reaction to the abuse he faces from his own father. The film paints a touching pictures of friendship, family and growing up.