Hands to the Sky

HANDS TO THE SKY is an urban journey about the bond of two brothers. Days after their mother dies, THOMAS ABERNATHY is separated from his autistic older brother, EUGENE ABERNATHY. With no immediate family other than a delinquent cousin, Thomas is left in the care of the local pastor and his wife. Eugene uses his passion for 3-D modeling to overcome challenges those with autism face and prove he can support himself and his younger brother. ” HANDS TO THE SKY, CATCH THEM & THEY’RE YOURS celebrates the power of individuals living “on the spectrum.

  • Kimberly Townes
  • Theodore Perkins
  • Pierre Coleman
  • George Peters
  • Theodore Perkins
  • Safiya Grimsley
  • Theodore Perkins
    Key Cast
    "NCIS" "Raising the Bar" "Lie to Me"
  • Marie Thomas
    Key Cast
    "Cosby Mysteries"
  • Jaden Jordan
    Key Cast
    "Kinky Boots"
  • Ohene Cornelis
    Key Cast
    "Person of Interest"
  • Rosalyn Coleman
    Key Cast
  • Ira Hawkins
    Key Cast
  • Nelsan Ellis
    Executive Producer
    "True Blood" "Get on Up" "The Help"
  • Cornet Lewers
    Executive Producer
  • Jon Goff
    Director of Photography
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    16 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    January 10, 2014
  • Production Budget:
    25,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Martha's Vineyard African American Film Festival- 2014
    Martha's Vineyard
    US Premiere
  • 2014 Golden Door International Film Festival
    Jersey City, NJ
    September 21, 2014
    Best Short Nominee
  • 2014 Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival
    Brooklyn, NY
    October 26, 2014
    Best Screenplay, Best Director
  • IndieNight Showcase
    Hollywood, CA
    November 1, 2014
  • Mind Rights International Film Festival
    Libson, Portugal
    November 7, 2014
    International Premiere
  • Pan African Film Festival
    Los Angeles, CA
    February 7, 2015
    Best Short Film Nominee
  • S.E. Manly Short Film Showcase
    Los Angeles, CA
    January 17, 2015
  • Urban Media Makers Film Festival
    Atlanta, GA
    October 25, 2014
  • Oklahoma Urban Cinema Festival
    April 11, 2015
  • Black Women in Film Network
    March 7, 2015
    Audience Buzz Winner
  • Las Vegas BlackFilm Festival 2015
    Las Vegas, NV
    April 25, 2015
    Best Short, Best Actor Nominee
  • 2015 Hang onto your Shorts Festival
    New Jersey
    April 19, 2015
    Best NJ Short Nominee
Director Biography - Kimberly Townes

Kimberly Townes is a rising filmmaker and recent graduate from the University of California - Los Angeles Graduate School of Film, Television and Digital Media. Kimberly’s student work has been featured in various international film festivals, showcases and cable broadcasts.

In 2010, her short documentary, “Planting Hope”, received funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. It went on to win the IFC/ Sundance/Youtube short film competition and was showcased at the 2011 Congressional Black Caucus’ Annual Legislative Conference.

Her UCLA Graduate thesis film, “ZERO”, received the 2009 Alfred P. Sloan Foundation filmmakers grant and was a finalist in the 2012 American Black Film Festival/ HBO Short Film Competition. "ZERO"premiered on HBO in 2013. She also obtained her MFA from UCLA during this time.

Kimberly recently directed the short film, "Hands to the Sky" -- a coming of age tale about an aspiring 3d animator with autism.

Kimberly also worked for CBS News, Scripps Networks and Black Entertainment Television. She studied Production Design at the American Film Institute, holds a B.A. in Mass Media Arts from Hampton University and is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. In her spare time she enjoys running, yoga and capoeira.

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Director Statement

One of my favorite African proverbs is, “Until the lion learns to speak, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter”. That phrase became my mantra during my matriculation in the UCLA Graduate Film, TV and Digital Media Directing program where I fought hard to learn how to clearly illustrate my voice. The result was my thesis film, ZERO, the story of an introverted African-American teen who gets bullied. To my advantage, ZERO was nominated for the HBO/ABFF filmmaker competition in 2012. I was honored to be recognized and thrilled to see that HBO, a brand that I have always admired, was welcoming fresh African-American talent.

The advantage of this recognition has subsequently led me to connect and collaborate with a larger talent pool. It’s also opened me up to new stories and given me compassion to see diversity beyond myself. We all have stories to tell that defy cliche’ and challenge popular thought. As a filmmaker, it excites me to get to bring other viewpoints to the main stage.

This film is a coming of age story about an aspiring 3d animator in New Jersey with autism who is challenged to be the head of his household after the passing of his mother. I was drawn to this script because it is an urban African-American story with a frame of reference to which I was new. I knew that the sensitive nature of this project would help me evolve as a filmmaker and human.

I now embrace diversity as the most consistent part of human existence. I’m discovering rich stories that are ripe for the telling and a broader audience eagerly waiting to make a connection. I’m excited to be building a career that will visually translate the lion’s roar.

Kimberly Townes
Hands to the Sky