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Pier Kids

2020 Sarasota Film Festival

Pier Kids is a verité documentary that’s inspired by Marlon Riggs’s Black is Black Ain’t and the Maysles brothers Gray Gardens, and Field Niggas by Khalik Allah. The film was made in the moment run and gun guerilla style. The interviews are often on the go to reflect the transience experienced by the characters. Like the work of Marlon Riggs, Elegance the film’s director is character on and off screen. The viewer is offered a type of access that’s rare in documentary films. It’s goal is to shrink the distance between the concepts of racial/gender marginalization by making the experience personal and specific. The film asserts that the individual experience of black queer life is not complete without engaging the community at large. The film is also an act of resistance to traditional storytelling forms. The director wanted to make a film in a visual language that mimics the way the people on screen speak and share knowledge with each other. People appear in this film, form a meaningful connection, and disappear without any explanation. It means so much that the audience experience the sense of loss in a way as similar as possible to what the Pier Kids experience. This is the only way to make their plight palpable so that viewers can no longer play innocent. The film is also about the value of public space for brown and black queer bodies to become their most realized versions of themselves. The film is mostly shot outdoors on purpose. It sees the presence of these bodies in this space as natural and necessary. Pier Kids is directed by the truth of the experience of coming of age outside.

The Nine O'clock Whistle

Visions of the Black Experience 2021

For years on Saturday night, white authorities in Enfield, N.C. blew a siren, warning Blacks to clear the downtown streets. This curfew was one of many demeaning practices used to keep the Black population separate and unequal. One fateful night, three days after the March on Washington, hundreds of Blacks on the streets of downtown Enfield refused to heed the blowing of the nine o’clock whistle.

The Nine O’clock Whistle tells the story of a dramatic cultural shift that rocked the segregated town of Enfield from 1963 to 1965 through the narratives of Willa Cofield, her former students, and current residents of the town. The video documents the racial indignities, segregation practices, and labor exploitation of the time.

The story offers a supreme example of how the civil rights grapevine grew from one small act of resistance in Enfield to envelope an entire region. The documentary brings hope, spirit and encouragement to those struggling to overcome entrenched, powerful, and oppressive forces.

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