Short: See Me, Trailer
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Short: See Me, Trailer

Daily routines intersect with the turmoil of the world outside as three Black Portlanders go about their day during the COVID shutdown in Oregon. Directed by Dawn Jones Redstone. Director's Statement In the summer of 2020, downtown Portland raged as people took to the streets after the release of bystander footage showing the murder of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis. National depictions seemed to suggest the city was in ruins. Most of us, watching from our homes, focused on the looming threat of the coronavirus. For months, we stayed isolated after the shutdown declared by the Governor. It was around this time that a group of seven writers at Artists Repertory Theatre got together to try to write a slice of life depiction of their own day-to-day experience as Black Portlanders during the shut down. Soon after, I was invited by Executive Producer, Kisha Jarrett, to direct what would become the short film, See Me. After several questions about what the project was--it has its own amazing genesis involving the use of Payroll Protection funds--I accepted the role and took it as an honor to be trusted to tell this story. In the virtual writer’s room with some of the original seven who had conceived of the short, I heard, more than anything else, that they wanted to be seen—not as victims of trauma or subjects of politicized plot lines - but as individuals going about their lives, just like everybody else. They brush their teeth. They take their Zoom calls. They wonder about the future of our country. And these particular images of Black people are uncommon in a storytelling landscape that often focuses on BIPOC trauma. As a queer, Latinx filmmaker myself, I know how critical it is to tell stories of struggle to create understanding and justice in our society. But I also understand the need to be represented as a whole person that is so much more than how we’ve been oppressed or how we have to be resilient--again and again and again. What I love about the stories we came up with is that these characters are all striving for better versions of themselves in deeply uncertain times. A grandfather who must learn to seek help when he needs it. An agoraphobic who dreams of releasing the anxiety that traps them inside. And a woman who endures the microaggressions of the white people she’s surrounded by to find empowering creative expression for the inner rage she’s perhaps not allowed to otherwise show. The stories, made richer by the actors who poured themselves into them, reveal humor, anger, joy, hope AND power. See Me is an effort to tell a story about three people as they go about their day. They also check their phones. They burn their toast. They listen to the news. And in the context of all that is happening right now, they try to get by--just like the rest of us. I hope that when you watch it, you can also see yourself; as a person struggling for a purpose within the mundane, as a human allowing small moments of levity to help release the pressure valve of the world. Maybe even above all else, you could see yourself in them as they let people in beyond the Zoom screens, lay down their body armor and allow themselves to be seen. Voted Best Pacific Northwest Film at Tacoma Film Festival. Visit Artists Repertory's website to learn more. https://artistsrep.org/performance/see-me-2/