The Sleeping Negro
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    The Sleeping Negro

    Directed by

    USA

    2021

    73 min

    • English

    Drama

    Confronted with a series of racially charged incidents, a young black man must overcome rage, alienation, and hopelessness in order to find his own humanity.

    Awards

    • FIPRESCI Award - IFFMH

    Festivals

    Credits

    Screenplay
    Skinner Myers
    Cinematography
    Matthew Halla
    Tyler Purcell
    Editing
    Sharon A. Mooney
    Music
    Live Footage

    Director's Statement

    I have constantly battled with the rage that has accompanied my experiences of surviving as a Black individual in America as well as in the rest of the world. I’ve sought to deal with that rage through my creative work, whether it be in my music, photography, acting or filmmaking. I became tired of repeatedly being informed that my art didn’t conform to what was profitable. I took all the irritation and rage that had built up over the years and wrote this film. I wanted to find a creative way to work through my struggles. Thus, was born THE SLEEPING NEGRO.

    My objective with this film was threefold: I wanted to make a film that echoed my personal journey as a black man/artist; I wanted to poke the bear of White Supremacy while scrutinizing the mental gymnastics that Blacks have to perform in order to keep from going insane under such a system; and I wanted to show how the transactional nature of capitalism exploits and destroys black lives.

    I love surreal cinema because I feel it yields a space for work that doesn’t fit into the status quo. My intention was to visually call upon the work of filmmakers like Andrei Tarkovsky, Djibril Diop Mambety, Steve McQueen, Mahamat Saleh Haroun, Billy Woodberry, and Alexandro Jodorowsky. The style of THE SLEEPING NEGRO is dramatic surrealism, and it visualizes how my black mind processes what happens to me and around me as I go through this thing called life.

    To say this film was a challenge to create would be an understatement. I started shooting with only a small amount of cash in my pocket. My thought was that I would use the footage as a teaser to raise the rest of the funds to finish the film. I never used the footage as a teaser, but I raised money in spurts over a three-month stretch. It was tough to keep everything organized given everyone’s schedule, but we pulled it off. When it was all said and done, we spent nine half-days shooting THE SLEEPING NEGRO.

    My goal with this project is that it will provoke individuals to reexamine their perspective on the world. I hope you enjoy THE SLEEPING NEGRO.

    Production
    MABOROSHI PICTURES
    Skinner Myers

    Skinner Myers

    USA

    The goals for my work is to refuse the reality of white supremacy, use my cinema as a weapon, and to create a new rebellious cinematic language for black stories, which is rooted in our constant struggle for freedom.

    Skinner Myers is an award-winning filmmaker who has written and directed 11 films. His feature film debut, THE SLEEPING NEGRO (2021), world premiered at Slamdance FF and internationally premiered at the Champs-Elysees FF in Paris, France. It won the FIPRESCI award at IFF Mannheim Heidelberg. Myers has studied at Columbia University, Brooklyn College, the USC School of Cinematic Arts and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. from the University of Amsterdam.

    Selected Filmography