Big news from up-and-coming filmmaker Erica A. Watson, who we’ve
been covering on S&A since 2013.
The director and writer will be premiering her short film
“Roubado” at the 2015 Pan African Film Festival,
which runs from February 5-16 in Los Angeles. Watson, a recent MFA graduate from the University of Southern
California’s School of Cinematic Arts, is also a directing fellow at Film Independent’s Project Involve and recently received a
Sundance Knight Fellowship, placing her in-residence at this year’s Sundance
“Roubado,” which served as her 2014 senior
thesis project at USC, tells the story of Alain Castelo, a shy Afro-Portuguese
teen growing up in the south of France. Agonized by his parents’ recent
breakup, Alain finds solace through his photography. But when his mother’s new
live-in boyfriend crosses the line, Alain’s eyes are opened to the world and he
can no longer hide behind the viewfinder of his vintage camera.
Beautifully shot on location in Cannes, France,
in which Watson has attended the world-famous Cannes Film Festival for five consecutive
years, with films in the Court Métrage (Short Film Corner)
each of those years, it was during her 2011 Festival
visit that she had a chance meeting with the young photographer who inspired
But it’s more than the setting that makes
“Roubado” (Portuguese for “stolen”) work.
Darrell Lake (“Hawaii
5-0,” “Southland”) as Alain gives a potent performance. The mostly silent character’s intense
gaze instantly betrays his inner most feelings when they’re not hidden behind
the 35mm still camera he prefers to use as his true means of seeing the
world. You will feel him and feel
for him, especially in confrontations with his mother’s boyfriend, menacingly
played by Jean-Pierre Vertus (“La Fleur d’Haïti”). Those scenes are not for the faint of
heart. Tiffany Tenille (“Golden Smiles”) also shines as Alain’s love
interest, as does Mickaëlle
Bizet (“Beautiful Destroyer”) as Alain’s mostly naïve mother.
cinematographer Tommy Maddox Upshaw (“The Inheritance,”
“Futurestates: Ant”) also delivers with luscious visuals, buoyed by being able
to shoot on 35mm film equipment provided by Watson receiving the Panavision New Filmmaker Grant in
2014. She also received funding support from Panavision Marseille,
Kodak, The Sundance Institute Film Music Program, and the city of Cannes, with
additional financing through a Kickstarter campaign, which was 111% funded.
Those attending the 2015 Pan African
Film Festival will have four opportunities to see the film: Sunday, Feb 8 at 5:15pm, Friday, Feb 13 at 10:30pm,
Sunday, Feb 15 at 11:30am, and Monday, Feb 16 at 7:00pm. For screening
updates, go to their Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/RoubadoFilm and on Twitter @RoubadoFilm.
If you cannot make it to Pan African, I’m confident you’ll get to see “Roubado” at a film festival
near you sometime soon.
Check out the trailer…
…And watch this cool behind the scenes video from the film: