Play Date

Confronted by unexpected danger in her own home, a young mom realizes she can't protect her daughter forever.

This short scene explores parenting in an increasingly diverse yet "post-racial" society, and how one black family is ambushed by the dark history of the USA.

  • Jumai Yusuf
  • Jumai Yusuf
  • Yinka Yusuf
  • DeLinda Sales
    Key Cast
    Pearl Rain
  • NyLynn Reavis
    Key Cast
  • Serenitie~Love Truehart
    Key Cast
  • Chandra Jennings
    Key Cast
  • Denez McAdoo
    Director of Photography
    Pearl Rain
  • Jeffrey Ekong
    Original Music
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Drama, Family
  • Runtime:
    3 minutes 20 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    May 2, 2017
  • Production Budget:
    500 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • M.P.A.C.T Short Film Showcase
    Los Angeles, California
    United States
    September 30, 2018
Director Biography - Jumai Yusuf

Jumai Yusuf is a film director coming from a background in Neurobiology and Theater. Her debut short film "lili[s]", a four-minute neuroscience fiction film, screened in five film festivals nationwide including the Chain NYC Film Festival (2015), Rockport Film Festival (2015), and the Humphrey Bogart Film Festival (2015), along with winning 2nd place in the MyProjectorLamps short film contest. She also executive produced and directed the four episode science fiction webseries "Absent" while a student at Harvard College. She is drawn to genre filmmaking (sci-fi, fantasy, horror), and since she is a Muslim, Nigerian immigrant, she always strives to bring the stories and characters of underrepresented minorities to the screen. Check out her portfolio at

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Director Statement

“Play Date” was inspired by the recent remake of “Roots”, in particular the scene in which the young slave girl Kizzy is playing with the plantation owner’s daughter Missy and her white friend Abigail. Although Abigail is only 7 years old she exhibits a nasty racist mindset, even calling Kizzy the ‘N-word’. This scene made me think about how parents can pass on their prejudice to their children at quite a young age. For “Play Date” I wanted to explore how a similar interaction could happen in today’s modern society, where many people choose to believe that racism does not exist. Inspired by the “Roots” scene, I created a soft, idyllic look with my cinematographer and colorist to lure the audience into a false sense of security.

Writing young child actors into my scene was a risky, but ultimately rewarding decision. Surprisingly, one of the biggest challenges was finding a black child actress between 4 -6 years old in the state of Massachusetts. But eventually with the help of local casting and modeling agencies, I was able to find these two talented girls. Luckily they connected right away with each other and with the actress playing Abiola’s mother. In the end, the shoot basically turned into a real play date. Creating a welcoming, fun environment was essential for getting natural performances out of them. Their ability to memorize lines at the age of 5 and 6 amazed me!

Finally, I could not have created this scene without my wonderful group of cast and crew members from the New England independent film community. I worked with many of these people on my short film “Pearl Rain”, including the cinematographer and lead actress. I also hired the same post-production studio to handle color correction and sound mixing. From the simple premise of a child visiting her friend’s home, I have aimed to create a film that sparks discussions on parenting in a racially diverse yet divided country.