Black Lens Spotlight Night: Shorts

In its eight year, the Black Lens aims to shine a light on some of the most outstanding narrative and documentary films directed by, produced by and/or starring Black filmmakers. The films that are shown as a part of this program reflect the diversity of the Black experience in America and internationally, both past and present. This screening is sponsored by Woodlawn United.

The Assisted Stories Project: Nashville

Direcetd by Ryan Estabrooks

4 minutes • USA

The life of Dollye Matthews, co-creator of one of the most renowned hot chicken restaurants in the world, is explored as she uncovers the history of Nashville itself.

Ashley M Jones: Trust the Voice Within

Directed by Anissa Latham

9 minutes • USA

As Alabama’s first Black (and youngest!) Poet Laureate, Ashley M. Jones promotes poetry and creates opportunities for people to engage with poetry. Here, she talks about how Alabama shapes her work and adds to her authentic voice.

Black is Beautiful

Directed by Macro Antonia Ortega

33 minutes • USA

This short documentary film tells the story of a man who uses his talents to support and lift his community. When the “”Black Lives Matter”” movement grew in awareness, Marcus Baskerville head brewer of Weathered Souls Brewing Co. wanted to shed light on the growing problem of inequality and police brutality. This is where the “”Black is Beautiful”” project was born. We follow the impact of the initiative and where it is today.

Hennessy Presents: The Legacy Makers

Directed by Diana Ali Chire, Walter Thompson-Hernandez, Tevin Tavares

11 minutes • USA

We start this story focusing on one of the key players who sits behind the silver screen, Ngina Bowen. This costume supervisor for film and television takes us on her career journey to reveal certain obstacles she’s faced and how she’s overcome them. We learn about her family and how their influence has shaped her entire career and why building her own legacy is not solely for her, but all who looks like her.

Next we make our way to the heart of Los Angeles, CA to spend a day with the Founder, Creative Director, and Designer of SUPERVSN — Gavin Mathieu. As he takes us for a walk through his neighborhood and to his mother’s home, we get a sense of who he is and what legacy truly means. For Gavin, it is all about family and a particular mindset of perseverance to achieve greatness. A belief that you can do anything despite your surroundings constantly telling you it’s impossible. His mission is to create freely, push the limits of potential, and to become a living example for the next generation.

To close out our story we examine the process of creating fine art and how it has parallels to building a legacy with Obsidianworks Co-Founder & CEO, Chad Easterling. Through him we are reminded that legacy is not built overnight. We have to dedicate ourselves to perfect our craft. Get our hands dirty. And to use our experiences to help build a masterpiece. Because legacy starts as just a piece clay, but over time it is molded into something that lives on forever.

Mamba Murals

Directed by Farah X

16 minutes • USA

Mamba’s Murals is a film explores the legacy of Kobe Bryant and his intrinsic value in the very definition of Los Angeles. By exploring the touching phenomenon of Kobe’s murals that appeared organically throughout the city after his untimely passing, we celebrate the life of a legend through the people he touched.

When LA Lakers’ legend Kobe Bryant died tragically in January 2020, epic murals started to appear throughout the city, by artists and ordinary Angelenos alike. Mamba’s Murals explores what these expressions of grief and commemoration reveal, the extraordinary relationship between Kobe and the city, and how he continues to inspire his fans.

The film follows one artist in particular, Gustavo Zermeño Jr. as he creates a Kobe Bryant mural as a way of dealing with the loss of a legend, and cementing his determination to live his life with the Mamba Mentality Kobe Bryant represented.

As Gus creates his artwork, we travel through the city to meet other Angelenos who strive to carry the Kobe legacy forward in whatever they do. We see that Kobe’s influence reached immeasurably beyond basketball and touched the entire world as commemorated by the hundreds of murals painted in his honor.

The Orchestra Chuck Built

Directed by Christopher Stoudt

23 minutes • USA

In 2016, the League of American Orchestras conducted a study that revealed a shocking statistic: only 1.8% of the professional orchestra workforce in the US is Black. From an old church rec room in the inner city of Los Angeles, former lawyer-turned-conductor Chuck Dickerson is on a mission to change that. With his majority Black and Latino youth orchestra — the largest of its kind in the country — Chuck is creating life-changing opportunities for his community that did not previously exist. The Orchestra Chuck Built is a loving portrait of a tireless mentor and a testament to the transformative power of music.