The poetry read by Diandra Forrest, was it penned by her or someone else?
The poetry was written by a mixture of people. I wrote some of the lines that are about discrimination. The rest of the speeches that are about the Black experience were written by two African American female writers. I thought it would be more authentic and respectful if a speech about the Black experience was written by black individuals who go through such experiences. The speech also includes a couple of lines from Diandra’s Ted Talk, I believe that was written by her but I could be mistaken.
The cinematography was monochrome did you and Christopher Brendan Kistan discuss this as the style of the film?
During preproduction yes. We had a specific meeting regarding the look and color palette of the film. We wanted to give a cold and dramatic look as I thought that would serve better for the story and the emotions we are trying to show.
The film is based on true events how close to the theme is the film and how much is your input?
A mixture of both. The whole idea came through my personal experiences that either happened to me or I witnessed happening to other people. I have had vitiligo since the age of fifteen. A skin condition where your pigments die and that part of the skin turns white (vitiligo is a different skin condition than albinism). Therefore I am very familiar with living with a skin condition and people being ignorant about it. Strangers staring or asking questions about it, sometimes getting offensive comments about my condition and etc. One of the results of my having vitiligo is by having a white eyelash and a white moustache. I would dye them black so I could look like the majority of people and avoid endless questions about my white spots from strangers in daily life. Also, I witnessed a black person being told that they were not “real Black” because of their lighter skin tone. This was told to them by both a non-Black person and a Black person with a darker skin tone, on separate times and occasions. When it comes to Albinism, I did a lot of research and read tons of different stories, I listened to Diandra’s own stories and struggles. The film is written based on a mixture of all these elements and there are a lot of lines and dialogue that are based on real life. So even my own inputs, are based on real incidents. Almost nothing extra or fiction is added to make the story more dramatic for film purposes.
Making short films about varying discrimination is commendable, is this theme something that is close to you, if so, how?
I just realized I answered this question too in the previous answer. Therefore yes, discrimination is something I experienced in my own life too. Being an overweight kid when I was little and going through body shaming at those years of my life, having vitiligo, and being an immigrant in America I definitely had incidents where some people were extremely offensive and cruel at times.
How excited are you that the film has been considered for the OSCARS?
Very excited. Mainly because of the possibility it could give the film to be seen and the topic being heard. Albinism is a topic that the majority of society is very uneducated about and the voice of the community being heard can change lives in a positive way.
Are you working on any film that covers similar discrimination that affects all races?
Not at the moment. But I would like to explore different themes and topics about this in future works as there are many types of discrimination that all of us go through other than just our background or ethnicity. In my opinion, the majority of discrimination happens about the things that make us, things out of our control, things we are born with; background, mental health, disabilities, sexual preference and etc. Films have the power to educate and affect the audience in a positive way so I would want to work on these if the opportunity presents itself in the future.