THE FOURTH, 12min., USA, Drama
Directed by Johnny Kirk
Eager to celebrate the 4th of July, a group of young black and Latino friends experience a police encounter that shatters the meaning of the holiday.
Sometimes the best arguments wouldn't change a person's heart or mindset. The only thing that can do so is a good story and how you tell it.
THE FOURTH is based on the countless footage we see on the news of young men of color who experience police stops, for those who don't make it home after a police or traffic stop. I can see it even in some parts, and it's a story based on my own experiences of being a man of color. And what it can feel like when you don't feel free to express your voice. Writing it required truth and vulnerability that was, quite frankly, frightening to expose.
Though it's common to see another police shooting an armed black man, people, and when I mean people who aren't black or considered the other in the United States, don't know what's it like to experience being stopped. The anxiety of not knowing if this minor stop will escalate into something severe. We always if you only knew how it feels to be in a situation.
Here, I've imagined a situation. Wait. I didn't have to imagine. I literately read, watched, and interviewed situations they were seen and created a short film.
Here we have a young black man in an urban setting creating the United States of American most patriotic holiday that represents the start of freedom that people in America has. This story unites themes of freedom, double standards, how people are seen, and reminders of the country's hypocrisy on liberties while stimulating a visual intelligence of more prominent themes.
James Baldwin once stated, "To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time." Angry because it's a country that loves your culture, influences, and even your physical features but hates you.
Get to know filmmaker Johnny Kirk:
1. What motivated you to make this film?
I was deeply inspired create the film watching the George murder on television. I wanted to create story that folks can emphasize with understand what young men of color go through on regular basis.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you
to make this film?
It took about three years to complete the story from idea to finish. Because when I first started the story, I was hearing m colleagues saying that they have seen the project. Then once I picked up steam to create the project I stopped by finding finances to complete or to get people involved.
3. How would you describe your film in two words!?
Two words: emotionally captivating/ triggering
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
The biggest obstacle was my self-doubt. Honestly dealing with opposing opinions that influence me as a filmmaker. Am I thinking to different or am I thinking different enough to create a moving piece.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking
about your film in the feedback video?
From the feedback I am amazed and excited and that I was able to keep the audience engaged and shocked by the film making I created. Not because they think it's a bad film but questioning the meaning and subtext from actions and characters.
6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
Years ago when I started acting and I just got one dimensional stereotypical roles. It made realized that I have power to create what I want to see myself in or a representation of myself in.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
It's a toss up between Sixth Sense and the Lost Boys.
8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other
festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking
Lead me to a workshop to find representation and figure out to increase my exposure without being taken advantage of.
9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?
Great. Its two addicting. I think submitted to more festivals that I thought I was. It provided incite of a lot of film festivals I was unaware of or knew that I could submit to.
10. What is your favorite meal?
Anthology of various styles of horror short films
11. What is next for you? A new film?
First feature that I plan on producing that psychological horror/ thriller