UA students create short film about race

Erica Wright

It is 1934 in a small southern town and a man walks alongside the road. As he is walking, he sees the bright red and blue lights of a police car behind him and wonders what he has done wrong. He stops walking to turn around and face the police officers to ask, but they apprehend him; shoving him to the ground and berating him with racial slurs. He does not understand why.

Police brutality is the subject of “Blackface,” a short film written and directed by Shanrica Evans, a senior. The short is being created as a part of a telecommunication and film class taught by Nick Corrao. Evans said she was inspired by recent events to write the story.

“I was in an African American studies class sometime junior year and a girl in my class asked ‘would people like Trayvon Martin and Tamir Rice still be alive if they could have taken off their skin?'” Evans said. “I was kind of moved by that thought and that testament and I thought ok, well let’s make a film about someone being in black skin and receiving that treatment and attempting to take it off and not being able to.”

In October, Evans and Corrao traveled to New Orleans for the New Orleans Film Festival and Evans pitched her story for the “Pitch Perfect” contest where she won first place. Evans beat out grad students from Florida State University, the University of Texas at Austin and more.

As of now, the students are working to get film produced and are in the pre-production process. They have created a GoFundMe page to help raise money for their budget which includes money for the art department, camera department, travel for cast, craft, grip and electric and miscellaneous costs. The film has a budget of $5000 and Kathleen Bodle, also a senior and one of the producers of the film, said the page recently reached 70 percent.

Once they have reached their goal, they will plan to start filming. Most of the shooting of the film will be done in Greensboro and the rest will be shot in downtown Northport. Shooting dates for the film will be March 24rd-28th and the finished film will be in black and white. Once the film is finished, they plan to debut it to not only students on campus but the Tuscaloosa community as well during the end of April.

Both Evans and Bodle said they hope the film will impact people and will start a conversation. Bodle said she talked to current SGA president, Elliot Spillers, about having a discussion after the short film premieres.

“The goal of the movie is to start a conversation about social justices and race relations,” Bodle said.

“I hope people learn that killing someone based off of skin color is wrong. I hope it makes people carefully think about events that have been taking place and maybe not be so quick to judge. I hope it is received well and I hope people will think about things from a different perspective,” Evans said.

The GoFundMe page can be found at www.gofundme.com/blackfaceshortfilm. There is also a campaign video on the GoFundMe as well as YouTube which can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uy9Gh_1xkBY . The official Blackface Facebook page can be found at: www.facebook.com/blackfaceshortfilm .