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Watch Beautiful, Profound Short Film 'As I Am'

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by Tambay A. Obenson
November 7, 2012 10:44 AM
9 Comments
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Spotted this on one of my fave online galleries Kiss My Black Ads - A short film titled As I Am, directed by Alan Spearman.

Here's its synopsis:

Chris Dean’s heart stopped when he was two. He died but he came back. When Chris was five, his father was murdered, riddled by more than 20 bullets in a gang shootout. At age 18, Chris gained national attention when he introduced President Barack Obama at his high school graduation. Chris is an observer and philosopher who has always had a few things to say about life from his vantage point in South Memphis. He and Emmy-Award winning filmmaker Alan Spearman walked the neighborhood for eight weeks observing and recording what became the script of As I Am. This film floats through this remarkable young man's landscape, revealing the lives that have shaped his world. Poetic and powerful imagery, captured by Spearman and cinematographer Mark Adams, combines with the young philosopher’s trenchant observations about life.

Watch it below:

As I Am from alan spearman on Vimeo.

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9 Comments

  • Rosalie | November 12, 2012 2:50 PMReply

    Thanks. I WILL WATCH THEM IN TIME.

  • Jason | November 12, 2012 12:01 PMReply

    Beautiful short film, very inspirational! Makes me want to pick up the camera and show my students how to articulate their thoughts and emotions!

  • Anton | November 10, 2012 4:57 PMReply

    Beautiful short film. One thing is clear: this filmmaker is deeply influenced by the great Charles Burnett. I also get a David Gordon Green's "George Washington" vibe as well.

  • Jerome | November 10, 2012 1:33 PMReply

    Truly inspired work. Thank you for posting.

  • HarlemYay | November 8, 2012 1:51 AMReply

    PS that boy is annointed. Even when the sound of his voice was absent...you could feel his song. For a child to be able to harness that kind of storytelling, pain and freedom in his voice...its beyond earthly explanation. So grateful to bare witness his gift! Hopefully he can remain an artist, a channel of something divine as opposed to being revamped into a pop experiment.

  • D Mayo Johnson | November 7, 2012 11:28 PMReply

    Sounds cliche', but this is incredible. Beautifully spoken word intertwined w/music. Kevione is an incredible young singer. Hopefully Chris Dean will bring fort more stories and Kevione will be a future rising star.

  • burp | November 7, 2012 1:50 PMReply

    This is one of the best short films I watched on this site and as much as I would like to continue my praise for the direction of this great piece of work. In my opinion as it relates to this sites mission of finding new black talent that this does not count. Alan Spearman the director's race is not in question however the fact that upcoming black talent have not reached that level of consistent quality work is puzzling. What is it that we are missing the mark. What channels do we need to explore and what efforts need to be done to ensure that we take our film making skills to another level. We should not settle or encourage hap hazard projects it promotes mediocrity Thank you Alan and for those black talents out there who continue to push the envelope yet go unnoticed.

  • BURP | November 8, 2012 2:10 PM

    @ Harlemyay

    You are zoo 150% on point with your analysis I am about to jump through the screen and shake your hand. you say " I think the art form of Film, like Hip Hop, has become one more avenue to get 'shine' as opposed to an opportunity to speak to something or connect one's artistic vision with an audience. I think passion is important too." Most of us today get into film making to be famous it seems. They quickly forget that its a craft something to be nurtured and perfected over time. And then we get mad when folks other than us don't like our film. Why because you did not put forth the artistic effort and discipline to warrant praise. We need to step our game up

  • HarlemYay | November 8, 2012 1:48 AM

    I have often asked myself the same question. Why more often than not do our films miss the mark? I think for one...while many of our auteurs have talent (most people generally have some kind of talent) the issue is skill and craftwork. Many of us do not take the time to hone our gifts. We think it's enough to have an idea. I cannot tell you how many black film fests I've gone to where a whole film hangs on the hinges of a good but under-nurtured idea. The issue always starts with the script...and many of our filmmakers don't see that as a priority. (one guy was ready to shoot after writing one draft of a script!!) Yes. I have written umpteen drafts of a screenplay. whatever it takes to make it work. you can tell many of the film fest entries were shot from only two drafts of a script. Also...I don't know if most of our filmmakers who create work are doing it for the craft. I think the art form of Film, like Hip Hop, has become one more avenue to get 'shine' as opposed to an opportunity to speak to something or connect one's artistic vision with an audience. I think passion is important too. Passion helps an artist see a daunting project all the way through til the end. But we often get lazy, or bite off more than we can chew or don't have the proper mentorship and training and don't invest in seeking these necessary things out.

    As a former educator, I also noticed that some of my young film students never took the time to ponder why they like a film. Often times, upon a second viewing of the film, the students who were for the film, now feel different...they look beyond the cameos, lustre and all-star soundtrack to realize the story doesn't hold up...or that they were manipulated into feeling a certain way as opposed to having a true, visceral reaction...I say this to say that many of these young filmmakers on the rise....lack critical thinking...which helps develop your own voice and intention. they may approach the medium unable to articulate what makes a film good to them. So when they go in to eventually study, or create film, they do so with little investment in truly telling a story from top to bottom.

    I do think that as Black films (production value and craftwork) get better, the standard lifts. Middle of Nowhere definately has filmmakers going 'oh...i didn't know this aesthetic was possible' Like 'yes...we can convey our stories with less dialogue...noise and flash and it still have compelling dramatic action.'

    I also think in terms of this very awesome piece of art we just witnessed...the lens was seen through that of an outsider...so maybe certain details are fresher, more nuanced to their eye? Nah. Maybe not...I've seen 'outsiders' get it very wrong when projecting 'POC' content.

    So maybe if we take more time....study the art form...develop/seek out mentorship...look at films, films, films and then develop our individual voices, point of view and hone that voice...if we do these things...(meaning put in the work) we can raise the standard of our films. Whatchu think?

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