A Letter To Black Men is a 20-min short film that will leave your heart heavy at the plight of young men caught in the cycle of lack of opportunities and gang related crime in the UK.
The opening credits warns that the film is “inspired by true events”. A Letter To Black Men opens harmlessly enough with a group of young men discussing how to pronounce the word ‘gif’, a topic many of us have pondered, but the normality of this scene soon gives way to a violent attack. This clever juxtaposition of ‘normal life’ followed by graphic violence moments later provides an insight into the lives of the young men this film depicts.
Told in a narrative style, A Letter To Young Men sees Kevin (Jesse Lihau) succumb to a life of crime following the loss of his father. On the day of Kevin’s gang initiation, Black, played by Baba Oyejide (Netflix’s Top Boy) is released from prison. His attempts to rekindle his relationship with Kevin and his sister, turned legal guardian, Kelsie, Lynsey Murrell (EastEnders) fail. Kelsie disapproves of Black’s criminal history with their late father; however, he ultimately goes the distance to prove himself a worthy father figure to Kevin.
The knowledge that it is a short film added to the intrigue of the scenes that played out and the frustration of a system that is failing our young men caught in this cycle of crime.
Written, directed and produced by British-Congolese Kiosa Sukami, the film has already won kudos, including Best UK Short Film at the Manchester Film Festival 2022 earlier this year. It’s also been Nominated for Raindance Best UK Short, and it’s already qualified to be considered for BAFTA 2023.
“Let’s discuss those taboo subjects and offer alternative narratives”
Sukami is known for his cinematic realism approach to filmmaking and has had works screened at domestic and international festivals. Kiosa’s film Longfield Drive was screened in competition at the London Short Film Festival, Plymouth Film Festival and the Festival du Cinéma Européen. His short film Yolk was screened in competition at the BAFTA-accredited British Urban Film Festival and Bolton Film Festival.
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Supporting the film as assistant director is Laurelle Jones who says her aim is to create films that educate, inspire and encourage change. “Let’s discuss those taboo subjects and offer alternative narratives” she says. Jones counts Ava Duvernay, Amma Asante, Lena Waithe and Issa Rae among her many inspirations.
The cinematography of the film was created by Miguel Carmenes who brought his edgy and visceral vision to the production having worked on many UK productions including commercials and music videos for artists such as KSI, Burna Boy and Jnr Choi.
A Letter To Black Men , which can be viewed at the upcoming British Urban Film Festival 2022, is an incredibly insightful short, which has a lot to say.
Watch A Letter To Black Men trailer below.