Bushwick Film Festival: Fear Of A Black Planet
Saturday Night and Day 4 of the Bushwick Film Festival was quite the treat. The short film festival titled Fear Of A Black Planet consist of several short films directing by people of color and featuring predominately minority casts. Sitting down in LightSpace Studios waiting for the crowd to enter and also to grab a drink. Waiting for the segment to start the first film finally appeared after all the advertisements and a black man appeared on the screen talking about his love for pigeons. This is how Rooftop Refuge began, directed by Andrew Leiberman the story of a man who lives in Brownsville, Brooklyn, NYC for his entire life. His survival is to take care of pigeons night and day, 365 days a year or close to it. The film documenting his love and refuge away from city life. From there on I knew I was going to witness a short film night like I never witnessed before.
The next film "Desert Storm" which takes place during the 1990 U.S led attack on Iraq took the audience on a strange trip where a veteran is wandering around and the young boy who notices him is mesmerized by fighter jets. It felt like a mind trip if it wasn't for the family who travels just to have a normal vacation. Next up was a music video/film "Make Me Wanna Holler" named after the Marvin Gaye classic chorus from Inner City Blues which features a homeless man dancing through San Francisco while Marvin sings in the background. Jitters which was filed under LGBTQ but in reality can be considered under romance because it can be related to anyone who is confused about who they want to spend the rest of their life with. The film chronicled a black man on his wedding day having regrets until his best friend talks him through it and eventually he gets married. I won't give out the surprise but I must say it was one of the best films of the night. The wide range of the films made me realized that black filmmaking has been always around but don't have the push. Film festivals like Bushwick always gave them the press they needed to take the next step.
The final three films: Other, Hair Wolf and Night Call was dominated by women and in the case of two of them was also directed by women. Hair Wolf was the funniest film of the night. A horror/comedy which incorporates today's addiction i.e Instagram and Snapchat then blend it with a body snatching concept and don't forget black power and you have the funniest film you will see in a short film night ever. From the white girl who uses her phone camera to capture her prey to the street walkers, you couldn't help but laugh through a good portion of the film. I loved the black power twist in it only to be wipe away in the end. The film was also symbolic in documenting what goes on with social media today and how it affects our daily lives and rituals. Other was also similar to Hair Wolf but with limited laugh track. It was about a woman whose inner self expresses her true opinions about everyone surrounded her. From her white neighbors to the patrons at the diner she eating at, her mind has so many opinions that needs to be expressed she has a hard time to see what the real world is like.
Night Call was probably the most emotional film of the bunch. A woman who works nights as a cop and also is a single mother. The film shows how women especially mothers has to show that they are capable but vulnerable when working the streets. The night wasn't completed until directors of the films sat down for a Q&A. I listen to their inspirations for writing or directing the films. I was impressed by most accounts and definitely look forward to seeing more of their work in the future. I hope Bushwick Film Festival do this again next year so we can see the newest wave of black filmmakers progress.