Private Project


Two childhood friends: Ahmad, a streetwise, college-bound scholar on the precipice of a new, bright future, and Sadik, a rehabilitated hooligan grappling with his identity, find themselves alone together before Ahmad’s graduation party in the woods. Soon, unresolved issues and old resentments ignite a forbidden blaze between them that must be doused if Ahmad is to have any chance of escaping the past.

  • Deondray Gossfield
    The DL Chronicles, The Chadwick Journals, Congo Cabaret
  • Quincy LeNear Gossfield
    The DL Chronicles, The Chadwick Journals, Congo Cabaret
  • Deondray Gossfield
    The DL Chronicles, The Chadwick Journals, Congo Cabaret
  • Krystal Marie
  • Bristie Caruthers
  • Lena Waithe
    Master of None, The Chi, Them, Twenties
  • Rishi Rajani
    The Chi, Them, Twenties
  • Constanza Castro
  • Doménica Castro
  • Natasha Wellesley
  • Deion Smith
    Key Cast
    Queen of the South
  • Dontavius Williams
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Dram, Romance
  • Runtime:
    13 minutes 8 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    June 1, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    100,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Tribeca Film Festival
    New York
    United States
    June 16, 2021
    North American Premiere
    Indeed Rising Voices Film Initiative Fellow
  • Out On Film
    United States
    September 26, 2021
    Georgia Premiere
    Official Selection, 1st Runner Up Audience Award for Best Local Short, Jury Prize for Excellence in Cinematography
Distribution Information
  • Indeed Rising Voices
    Country: United States
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - Deondray Gossfield, Quincy LeNear Gossfield

Dubbed the “Godfathers of LGBTQ+ TV”, Real-life married couple, Deondray & Quincy LeNear Gossfield are the creators, writers and
directors of the iconic GLAAD award-winning anthology series, The DL Chronicles.

Building on their brand and following their passion of telling Black, LGBTQ+ stories, they created and directed the Amazon Prime spinoff series, The Chadwick Journals. The third season, featuring Jamar Michael (Dear White People), won a 2021 Silver Telly Award and garnered a 2020 Daytime Emmy® Nomination for lead actor, Damian Toofeek Raven (“Chadwick”)

The Gossfields were also tapped to be part of the producing teams for hit shows like, Kocktails with Khloé (FYI), Legendary (HBOMax), and Sunday Best (BET).

Their short film , Flames Executive Produced by Lena Waithe and Rishi Rajani, starring Deion Smith (Outer Banks) and Dontavius Williams, premiered with critical acclaim at 2021’s Tribeca Film Festival and won two Telly Awards for “Best Directing” and "Best Drama”, several SFAAF awards including “Best Directing” and “Best LGBT Short”, 1st Runner Up for “Best Local Short” and the Jury Award for “Excellence in Cinematography” at Out On Film, Atlanta.

Their short film, Congo Cabaret, highlighting the LGBTQ+ contribution to the Harlem Renaissance, has won numerous awards, and features Parisa Fitz-Henley (Luke Cage), Kevin Daniels (Modern Family), and Darryl Stephens (B Positive).

Their film, Smoke, Lilies and Jade, narrated by Emmy® and Tony Winner, Billy Porter (Pose) premiered at Outfest Film Festival in Los Angeles and went on to win “Best Short Film” at 2021’s Black Alphabet Film Festival in Chicago.

The pair made their TV directorial debut in 2022 on Lena Waithe’s and Showtime Network’s drama, The Chi.

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Director Statement

From Writer & Co-Director, Deondray Gossfield

Flames is a story about the insatiable need of and the insufferable indifference with male intimacy.

The ever evasive and evolving definition of masculinity was the seed of this piece. As I wrote and rewrote, the story grew into a complicated forest of emotions with branches that grew out in every conceivable direction.

I based the dynamics of Ahmad and Sadik on the complicated relationship I had with my best friend in high school. We had a relationship that was deep, emotional and unconditional, and though we’d done a lot to hurt each other, our bond was never broken. I wanted to explore the inexplicable devotion we
had for each other. I wanted to re-imagine our experiences through a creative lens and dissect the impetus of our complicated relationship that was equal parts love and toxic masculinity.
I set the scene in a forest as a metaphorical Garden of Eden to symbolize fertile ground for the creation of new thought without rules, doctrine and expectation. A place that is the antithesis of who they’ve become. Who would these men be without the weight of the concrete they come from? Would the wisdom of the trees and the freedom of the forest unchain them? What nutrients are growing underneath the soil, and if consumed, can they open Ahmad’s and Sadik’s eyes and minds? Can it enlighten them like Eve’s proverbial bitten fruit to see and untangle the knotted vines of “manhood” that keep them in boxes and rooted in ignorance?

From Co-Director, Quincy LeNear Gossfield

The direction of this piece was intentionally tempered and intimate. We really wanted to capture the spaces in between the lines. What’s not being said is more important than what is said.

We worked with our actors to really find those moments between breaths, pauses, glances and touch. Visually, our natural environment helps to emphasize the fish out of water tale; however, this is not a tale about being caught in a strange physical location but an emotional one. These two city boys walking
through the expansive woods with a giant Boom Box are in direct conflict with the sweeping beauty of their surroundings. Even still, they are defiant, and we wanted to capture that via wardrobe and art design. There was not an item of clothing, a color chosen, or any prop or set dressing that was not intentional. These smaller aspects to making a film are actually the cumulative parts that add to the overall experience.

We were fully supported through our process by our executives, producers, our talented crew and cast.It was a wonderful experience to have the finances, time, tools and support we had to be able to focus squarely on achieving our goals.