Among the highlights of the short film categories at this week’s Urbanworld Film Festival in NYC is a short making the festival rounds worldwide, White Space.
Written and directed by poet & writer Maya Washington, the film follows the inner life of a deaf man as he makes his debut at a popular open-mic night and hopes that the language of his heart can emancipate the inner voice and transcend the white space between a hearing audience and a deaf man’s soul. Produced by Freddy F. Hakimi, White Space stars actor Ryan T. Lane, actor/comedian, CJ Jones (an oft-consulted advocate for the deaf whom most may remember from the ‘A Word in Edgewise’ episode of A Different World ), DEAFestival LA 2010 Award winner Zendrea Mitchell and NAACP Award winner Tanya Alexander.
The film itself is has a nice flow to it as we follow the hesitancy of The Poet to share himself with the world and the performance segment is both shot and directed tenderly and expertly. White Space won ‘Best SHORT’ at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival and was also awarded the Indie Soul Special Recognition Award at the 2012 Boston International Film Festival in April. The filmmakers have used the film as a tool to connect communities through film and poetry and have taken it into schools, creative communities and film festivals throughout the world.
A Minneapolis native holding a MFA in Writing from Hamline University and BA in Theatre from the University of Southern California, Washington is also a Fellow and member of Cave Canem, a home for the many voices of African American poetry and is committed to cultivating the artistic and professional growth of African American poets. Her poems and monologues have appeared in The Playwrights’ Center Monologues for Women (Heinemann Drama, 2005), Gulf Coast, Talking Stick, Angel Face, Rock Paper Scissors. She has also written the full-length play South of Adams, West of Figueroa, which was part of the 2008 August Wilson Playwriting Initiative in Chicago. See more about her on her website and more about the film on White Space Poetry’s blog.
White Space will make its NYC premiere at the Urbanworld Film Festival in Shorts Program III Friday, September 21, 3:15pm and Saturday, September 22, 12pm at AMC 34th Street Theater 9, along with other fantastic shorts like Ralph Scott’s Barbasol and Carey Williams’ Cherry Waves.