A young black professional struggles to speak up about racial disparities at her job after a very tense encounter with colleagues.
Interview with Writer/Director/Producer Lande Yoosuf
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
My friends and I would vent to each other in frustration about the challenges of navigating privilege in the workplace. So I knew I always wanted to make a project about that topic. When I first decided to write and direct my first film, I wrestled with the type of film I should make for months. And literally, one morning I woke up with the idea to make this movie. It resonated with me so much that I wrote my first draft in 90 minutes.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
Because it allows us all to experience what it’s like to be a member of a marginalized group at work. Race alone is a subject is tricky along, but it’s even more scary to deal with it in the environment where we spend a significant amount of time—the workplace. Confronting daily behaviors at work is important and while it’s an uncomfortable topic to discuss, it’s important to unpack privilege and its manifestations in corporate America.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
The personal themes hone in on what it’s like to be black at work, and the universal themes are rooted in fighting exclusion. And managing entitled, privileged employees!
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?
This film is loosely based on a true story, but the protagonist was an Asian woman. I initially wrote it exactly as I saw it, but then realized the message was muddled if a black girl was observing an Asian woman’s story. I decided to narrow the focus and speak from the voice that I know, which was the voice of a black woman.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
It varies and it’s been really interesting. A lot of people of color and white female peers got the film completely. Many have approached me and thanked me for making the film. Some claimed that it was “triggering”, but “gratifying that someone got it”.
I can tell that some others were really uneasy with the film, but I haven’t had any direct, honest conversations yet. I hope that can happen soon!
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
Yes. When I was developing the film, I did get feedback that the characters were “tropes in an unrealistic scenario”, which I didn’t agree with. This film has challenged me more to welcome everyone into uncomfortable conversations about race with everyone. And to be confident in sharing this message. That it’s okay that some conversations are uncomfortable, especially if they are necessary.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
I want to screen it all over the world, especially at colleges. I want the upcoming crop of young professionals to be mindful about how they exploit privilege at work so they are stepping on the toes of others along the way.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message? Distributors for sure. I see this as a web series!
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have? I want it to make waves, similar to these conversations about sexual harassment. That would thrill me!
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
How does white privilege and sexism play a role in an employee’s trajectory in the workplace? How can we eliminate those barriers?
Would you like to add anything else?
I am excited to make more conversation-starting films!
What other projects are the key creatives developing or working on now?
I am making a film about how patriarchy impacts mother-daughter relationships through Nigerian Weddings. I am a first generation Nigerian—American, but I know women all over the world can relate to this project.
Interview: November 2017
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
Director: Lande Yoosuf
Producer: Lande Yoosuf, Reggie Williams, Martha Frances-Willams, Del-Ann Henry, Shurize
Richards, Crystal Hartman
Writer: Lande Yoosuf
Key cast: Natalie Jacobs, Alana Raquel Bowers, John Charles Nagy, Lauren Sowa, Marisa Vitali
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists): Distributors
Social media handles: @OneScribeMedia
Funders: IndieGoGo Campaign
Made in association with: One Scribe Media
Where will the film screen in the next month?
Nowhere at the moment