sundance celebrated a lot of black art this year

February 1, 2019

Sundance 2019 has almost come to an end. It’s been an encouraging year full of films featuring Black and Brown actors, directors, screenwriters, producers and more. Check out some of the art that was celebrated this season!

*In no particular order

Film: Native Son
Genre: Drama

  • Based off novel Native Son by Richard Wright
  • Adapted for screen by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks 
  • Directed by Rashid Johnson
  • Stars Ashton Sanders, Kiki Layne, Margaret Qualley, Nick Robinson, Bill Camp and Sanaa Lathan

“I think it’s the story of a young man who dares to believe in the American dream and that because he doesn’t read the fine print, that is his downfall,” Suzan-Lori Parks

Film: Always in Season
Genre: Documentary

  • Directed by Jacqueline Olive
  • Follows the mother of 17-year-old Lennon Lacy after he was found hanging from a swing set in rural North Carolina in 2014
  • Shows us a mother’s journey for justice and reconciliation
  • Deals with the ever-so-present trauma of lynching African Americans

Film: Premature
Genre: Drama

  • Director and cowriter Rashaad Ernesto Green
  • Starring Zora Howard and Joshua Boone
  • Co-written by star of film Zora Howard
  • This film gives a glimpse into being young, Black, and in love in NYC

Film: Bedlam
Genre: Documentary

  • An examination of the lack of treatment given to America’s mentally ill citizens
  • Directed by Kenneth Paul Rosenberg 
  • This film features BLM founder Patrisse Cullors

“I became a psychiatrist because of my sister, and I became a filmmaker because I wanted to understand and tell our story,” -Kenneth Paul Rosenberg 

Film: Suicide by Sunlight
Genre: Narrative Short

  • Director and Co-writer is Sierra Leonan-American Nikyatu Jusu
  • Day-walking Black vampire protected by the sun by her melanin, is forced to restrain her bloodlust in order to regain custody of her estranged daughters
  • “In a near future NYC, Black vampires walk amongst us”

Film: The Last Black Man in San Francisco
Genre: Drama

  • Director and screenwriter Joe Talbot
  • Screenwriter Rob Richert
  • Starring: Jimmie Fails, Jonathan Majors, Rob Morgan, Tichina Arnold, Danny Glover
  • Jimmie Fails dreams of reclaiming the Victorian home his grandfather built in the heart of San Francisco and is joined on this quest by best friend Mont 
  • A story about a search for belonging in a rapidly changing city after feeling left behind

Still from The Last Black Man In San Francisco

Film: Clemency
Genre: Drama
  • Directed and written by Chinonye Chukwu
  • Cast: Alfre Woodard, Aldis Hodge, Richard Schiff, Wendell Pierce, Richard Gunn, Danielle Brooks
  • Woodard plays a warden at a maximum security prison whose spirit is challenged by the nature of her job

Film: As Told To G/D Thyself
Genre: Music Film

  • Kamasi Washington and Terence Nance
  • Directed by: The Ummah Chroma, Terence Nance, Jenn Nkiru, Marc Thomas, and Kamasi Washington
  • Inspired by Kamasi Washinton’s album Heaven and Earth