Watch Teaser For “I Am John Wayne” (Young Black Cowboy Struggles w/ Death Of Best Friend)

Watch Teaser For "I Am John Wayne" (Young Black Cowboy Struggles w/ Death Of Best Friend)

Here’s a very brief teaser for a short film titled I Am John Wayne, directed by Christina Choe. It doesn’t give you a lot of information about the film, but I’m drawn to it. Something about a melancholic young black man riding a horse in the middle of a desolate, gritty, grimy New York city street locale; throw in the unexpected background music. 

That’s enough for me to take notice and want to see the rest of it.

And it’s apparently worth seeing since it’s been picking up acclaim on the film festival circuit, where it’s been all year, and continues to travel. It started off the year winning the Grand jury prize for best short film at the Slamdance Film Festival in January, and has played at several film festivals all over the world since then.

The synopsis reads: A young black cowboy struggles with the death of his best friend.

Watch the short teaser and see if it draws you in as well (I like the poster too):

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Comments

lauren

And… the film looks good.

Donella

I subscribe to the Public Enemy view: "Elvis was a hero to most, but he never meant $hit to me. Straight up racist he was straight and plain. Man, muthaf^ck him and John Wayne!"

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Muse

The trailer reminds me of the scene in the Wire where Dookie is riding in a buggy with the drug addicted metal scrap dealer.

Dankwa Brooks

LOL. Well Elvis is not of my era, but growing up in a black family, in a black community, you learn things through osmosis. Some how I knew about Elvis, but not about John Wayne and I think everyone is indeed taking A TITLE of a grad student film too seriously. The same reason someone(s) thought Soul Plane was a good idea specifically because no one from our culture was in the boardroom when that was greenlit. I felt the same way about 'The Help'. I never expected a white writer/director to adapt a book from a white writer to have any real resonance of black culture/history thus I wasn't even offended. Some things just aren't that serious

CareyCarey

My vote goes to Leon and Darkan. Listen, I was hesitant to read this post because I didn't want anything to do with a black image under the words "I am John Wayne". I can only assume the filmmaker wasn't aware of John Wayne's racial views, but that does not excuse her misstep. And Charles's analogy was off base. Seriously, who associated X-Clan with the Klu-Klux Klan? That's really a stretch. In different cultures and situations, a clan may mean the same thing as other kin-based groups, such as tribes and bands. Often, the distinguishing factor is that a clan is a smaller part of a larger society such as a tribe, a chiefdom, or a state. The word is derived from 'clann' meaning 'family' in the Irish and Scottish Gaelic languages. And John Wayne's "PERSONA" may be manufactured, but he owed his racial remarks. He did not utter those words as lines from a movie. So I agree with Darkan, being an artist does not give one a free pass. The artist still has to respect the feelings of others and be fully aware of sensitive issues that may offend a specific culture. To that point, how and why did Aaron Copland's music fit this discussion?

Charles Judson

So what about a group like X-Clan? True, they aren't using the K version of the word, however they are playing with the iconography of the name. If she had reworked the title along those lines would that have made a difference? John Wayne is just as much a manufactured persona as it is a stage name. There are negative connotations to the John Wayne persona, there are also instant associations that put it in line with Marilyn Monroe, Betty Page, etc, which also come with their own baggage. It's that complexity that gives them weight and power to comment and juxtapose ideas. Why shouldn't a filmmaker be able to play on those icons to create and frame stories? Spike Lee used Aaron Copland's music because of it's status in He's Got Game. Should he have not used Copland's music because it's from a pre-Civil Rights era or because he should have hired a Black composer? How exactly are we supposed to continue expanding what's possible for Black filmmakers and films that feature Black characters if everything must first be run through a "Black Filter" for appropriateness?

LeonRaymond

and I support her as a filmmaker 100% I did not have a problem at all with the premise nor would I ever critique the film grad student or super star, I do not roll into that cause this is a palette to make art, I just wanted that person to know in regards to what John Wayne meant to people of Color, hey they have postage stamps of him but yet they ask our President of the United States to produce his birth certificate. But she should be able to make and endear any project she sees fit and feels she might want to do, and I would be there to fight with a baseball bat for her right to do so!!!

Yolanda

There is a more detailed description of the film on her old Kickstarter page…
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1217251582/i-am-john-wayne-a-short-film

Dankwa Brooks

First of all I saw this @ the 2012 Maryland Film Festival and HE IS NOT an "angry young man riding a horse". He is indeed a bereaved young man over the loss of his friend.  Second, the director is Asian and I think she picked the name for the iconography of John Wayne as a cowboy more than anything else. In the Q&A after the film she said that she wrote the story based around actual black men who rode horses in New York (can't remember the borough). She was a film grad student looking to make a film around an interesting subject. Nothing more nothing less. I don't think she knew or took into account any racial animus by John Wayne. The film itself was good, but not outstanding. It was what it was a grad student film and should be scrutinized as such. I reviewed all the films I saw at the 2012 Maryland Film Festival (& there were many) on my company Facebook page http://www.Facebook.com/NotherBrother

LeonRaymond

@Anita Swift, your not talking to some boy, go back and look at the tapes of John Wayne's statements that he would not do films and or star in films if a colored man was in a lead, he never felt we were at all equal to Whites. Just because he did films with WOODY STRODE don't mean jack. He had a hard time with us as a culture and always always sided with the Klu Klux Klan when asked about their own hatred of Black folk. You may have known him sat down with him and had a delightful meal and even went fishing but at the end of the day he just did not like us. To hell with that nonsense about re-claiming the name , oh so I should a film called I am the Klan, come on stop with the justifications for some one who was overtly against who we were as a people. The point is to be sensitive to cultures you may not understand Go and ask Native Americans how they felt about your beloved John Wayne, go ahead and ask them. Then ask Latino's how he felt!!! and the truth of the matter , they would not even let Spike do a Holocaust film, his script would not get past the front door and I understand that, that's a very sacred cow and I dig it, the thought of what went down with Hitler gives me goose bumps cause I know we would have been the next on his extermination list. But I just want to say NO it's not okay also to do a film that embody's the name of some one who looked at us as something below the human scale!!!!

LT

It's a reclaiming of the name.

LeonRaymond

The title, I am John Wayne, and anybody who knows their film or political history knows John Wayne Hated Black People, he never thought of us as human, so why would any American ride and a horse embodying John Wayne The premise sounds good, but this for the title and using a Black person, they had to have had a memory wipe or they never live in America !!!!

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