Today we present a playlist that highlights amazing short films from Black filmmakers. This playlist has a twist though—looking to expand the scope of our coverage and invite fresh voices to contribute to our curation, this is not a list of worthy films culled from our archive. Instead, we invited a number of our Black alums to suggest a short film that they love which hadn’t been previously featured on the site.
We’re thankful to the filmmakers who took part and provided recommendations. From festival winners to filmmakers now making their mark in Features and Television, this is an exciting list of talents you should know about. Many on this list are new to us, and we’re excited to dig deeper into their catalog. Of course, if you like our guest programmer’s picks, be sure to click on their previously selected films (listed after their names) and check them out. If you’re looking for more recommendations of great work by Black Filmmakers, check out our channel dedicated to them. Note, for much of the history of this site we did not track demographic data, so this category is woefully incomplete. If you’re an alum who should be included in this collection or know of one, please drop us a line. Enjoy!
PORTRAIT OF A BLACK MAN
dir. Morgan Cooper
This beautifully shot, expressive and powerful film was impressively directed, edited, sound designed and shot by Cooper. Morgan has a natural way with the camera. He delights us with his own evocative and vulnerable cinematic language, as a beautiful score dances around the gripping, poignant words of James Baldwin, Tupac Shakur, & Martin Luther King Jr. This is not one to miss.
Chat – A Covid 19 Story
dir. Leon Lozano
Chat – A Covid 19 Story is a heartfelt tale that deals with themes of loss and family. It’s set amidst our current pandemic, yet glimpses into the future about how people might cope with death and trauma. Leon, whose short film My Father Belize has garnered many awards at festivals, shot the film at home starring his daughter and the result is a very personal short, brimming with creativity. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did and I look forward to seeing more work from this talented filmmaker.
Sojourn A visual Proverb
Recommended by: Maxwell Addae (Outdooring)
When a loose narrative finds a way to ground me into a specific journey while still providing enough room for the viewer to engage with its sophisticated emotional landscape, I know I’ve found something special.
dir. Faren Humes
Recommended by: Nikyatu Jusu (SUICIDE BY SUNLIGHT)
Faren’s cinematic coming of age navigation of grief feels visceral and authentic. You can tell the filmmaker genuinely knows her subjects and paints this narrative with a motion picture brushstroke of unparalleled love.
Gregory Go Boom
dir. Janicza Bravo
Recommended by: Derek Milton (Getting a Grammy)
I’ve always been a big fan of Gregory Go Boom — the tragic tale of a paraplegic man who ventures out of the house in search for love or maybe just to make a human connection. I love Janicza Bravo’s writing and direction and how she weaves her humor into the film’s overall discomfort. There’s also a great aggressive soundtrack that abruptly interjects itself throughout the movie, adding to the overall uneasiness. It’s funny, dark, and uncomfortable – all qualities I love in a film.
dir. Nuotama Bodomo
Recommended by: Iyabo Boyd (Me Time)
Gorgeously rendered in black and white, with an inspired use of light and texture, Afronauts is visually breathtaking. It’s otherworldly story and cinematography are masterfully supported by haunting performances, music, and production design. Made in 2014 (pre- Black Panther), Afronauts was transcendent, instantly iconic, and a wake up call for all of us about what modern Black cinema could be.
BUBBA WALLACE x ROOT INSURANCE | ‘Progress Owes No Apology’
dir. Wesley Walker
Recommended by: Julian Marshall (Obey the Giant)
Here’s a spot that I love from my friend Wes Walker, who’s at Tool with me. I love how unyielding it is in portraying Bubba Wallace’s fight for progress in Nascar.