purging the black female horror fan from the margins
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#SciFiSunday: Afro Punk Girl (2016)
After a successful Indiegogo campaign last summer, one can tell just from the trailer's snippets that sci-fi short, Afro Punk Girl is a beautifully shot, solemn yet hopeful toned piece. The film is from a dystopic universe in Britain that is militarized and desolate (likely from severe climate change) where Lil (played by Danielle Vitalis of Attack The Block) on her rocky journey meets a drifter named Mr. Dandy (Larrington Walker) who, despite her reluctance for company, proposes his value to her objectives that sets a course for Lil's deeper story arc.
It was recently announced that the production team behind Afro Punk Girl, Roman Candle Productions received a major award which will enable them to get started on the feature film script for the short. The fresh resume of work with the Roman Candle stamp is seriously impressive and has set an extremely high bar for their indefinite international appeal. Founders Annetta Laufer and Shobu Kapoor a part of the movement that simply "make the films they wanted to see."
As Afro Punk Girl's writer/director, Annetta drew her inspiration from a French short story and the real-life, charged circumstances (in Syria specifically) to produce a narrative unique to her vision. The production team's partnerships with various spaces that support the arts in the UK has really helped with making this film a reality and harnessing a look and effects that rival any mainstream release.
For a film that could have been easily white-washed, Ari Aster’s Midsommar does have an inclusive cast. Before our characters are even taken to Sweden where most of the film's dread fueled action takes place, we meet them in their college town. Dani (Florence Pugh) stresses about her sister’s scary email while her boyfriend, Christian (Jack Reynor) drinks at a bar with his buddies, only one of whom is black named Josh (The Good Place's William Jackson Harper).
I have watched enough horror movies to know—and I’ve been brown enough long enough to know—that this setting does not bode well for a person of color. The token minority, say it with me, tends to die first. Because of this ratio, I expected a few other established tropes of the horror genre in Josh’s character, too, and I have to admit, I was delighted and surprised that nothing played out the way I expected.
"Horror has always been used to illuminate cultural anxieties and gives a voice to our collective fears. So, what to make of the gothic in America, a place which by the very nature of its founding is predisposed to a culture of anxiety? The dread knowing the enemy at the gate is understandable, but in America the enemy has already passed through it, and has been brought inside. The call is coming from inside the house."
-words by Leila Taylor