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Are You Excited For Dear White People?

Submitted by on July 17, 2012 – 2:23 pm4 Comments

Filmmaker Justin Simien satirizes “being a black face in a white place” in his upcoming film Dear White People. That is, if he can get it funded.

So far, the film’s prospects are looking good: the trailer has over 700,000 views on YouTube, and its IndieGoGo fundraising campaign has already almost doubled its goal. But the page declares that it is a “million dollar production,” and they are not even halfway there yet.

Simien’s film follows four black students at predominantly white Manchester University. When a group of white students throw an “African American themed” party, a riot breaks out.

The nominal protagonist of the movie seems to be Sam White, whom Simien describes as “a funny, Angela-Davis-Malcolm X-Huey-Lisa-Bonet-type of amalgamation” in an interview with The Root. He mentions that he refined her voice on the popular DearWhitePeople Twitter account.

But despite all that, Simien insists that that he and the film are motivated largely by issues of art and identity, not necessarily race. In the same interview, he said:

“The movie to me is really about what it means to your identity when you are a thing that everyone around you has a preconception about,” he explained. “And how that can really limit you, your potential, and in some ways, honestly, help you find yourself.”

The IndieGoGo page emphasizes the film’s stylistic intentions, saying the producers “long to bring back the days” of Do The Right Thing and Boyz In Da Hood, when “‘Black Art-House’ was a thing.” And the trailer’s opening moments call out Tyler Perry by name.

The few minutes we see here do look beautifully shot and full of some sincere turmoil to go with the deadpan satire. In addition to Spike Lee, I honestly thought the clearest influence was the muted colors, classical music score, and meticulously composed shots of Wes Anderson movies (which, by the way, are #10 on the blog “Stuff White People Like“).

What do you think of Dear White People?



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