I Too, Am American

An American family comes together to mourn the passing of their eldest patriarch, Tony "Brah Brah" Tillman. He is survived by his wife Doreen, and three older children- Trey, Malcolm, and Kelly. At the wake, everyone is surprised to see Trey walk in-He's been in prison for the past 3 years, and since getting out, he's kept his distance- He had no idea TODAY was his dad's funeral, because his younger brother Malcolm didn't invite him. Tensions boil, and a fight breaks out between Malcolm and Trey, causing Mama Doreen to finally put her foot down! She forces Trey and Malcolm to talk their issues out, and while the result isn't ideal, we're left feeling like this family is going to be okay.

  • Wayne T. Williams
    Let's stay together, RED, In HONOR of Things not yet Reached
  • Wayne T. Williams
  • Francesca Zappitelli
  • Wayne T. Williams
    Key Cast
  • Sheryl Williamson
    Key Cast
    "Mama Dorene"
  • Paul Williams
    Key Cast
  • Jemima Lauriston
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Drama, dramadey, family
  • Runtime:
    10 minutes 54 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    August 23, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    5,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Nikon z5
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
    Black & White and Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Wayne T. Williams

I am based in Los Angeles- The West side to be exact. I am a writer/director of short film content. After graduating film school in 2011, I worked several entry-level industry jobs (Paramount pictures, YouTube, Allied Integrated Marketing) while I started to find my artistic voice. In 2016, I screened at the Harlem International Film Festival for my short comedy "Let's Stay Together". It also won BEST SHORT FILM (Youth). Since then, My films have screened at multiple festivals around the country. Earlier this year, I was the Director's assistant for Tony "Mitch" Mitchell, for the upcoming MGM/Will Packer Produced television series "The Baxters". I am also a segment producer for DICK CLARK PRODUCTIONS, and the video director for Lost Spirits Distillery LLC.

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Director Statement

The idea to even write "I Too, Am American" let alone direct it came at night on one of the worst days of my life- The funeral and Wake/Repass for my uncle Rob. He brought the light to my family, He always had a way of making me smile, and he was always super supportive of my journey. When I sat back and watched my family interact throughout the evening (i.e. One cousin is cursin another one out in the living room while the grandma is crying hysterically in the arms of her other children while in the other room all the little cousins are playing hide and go seek and laughing until their stomachs hurt) I realized the black experience is different, yet the same. Completely unique, yet relatable. I was able to finally step back and see the flawlessly imperfect glow of the black household. The highlights and the shadows. I wanted to artistically bottle the energy of that house into a film. The title comes from the well know poem by the brilliant Langston Hughes titled, "I, too". I wanted the camera to feel like it was on a train, and the audience would be zig zagging and zooming through this American home; this Black AMERICAN home. It shouldn't be clean, so we used handheld techniques through out the film. It shouldn't be still too long, so we had a lot of tracking shots. I wanted the lighting to be very reminiscent of classic stage lighting. I wanted it to feel LIVE!, like a play, one lit in a traditional way. And then, last but certainly not least, the BLACK AND WHITE choice. We decided that most of the film should be displayed in black and white. It speaks to so many points in the script. For one, you're introduced to our characters as color-less. Then, you get quick spurts of color that remind you, oh wait, this is a Black family, but they're really an American family. Also, I wanted the overall vibe of the film to feel strangely familiar. Like something from the past that's still very present and current. The black and white color grading we did accomplished that goal. Overall, I wanted the film to celebrate black culture, while being honest to it, because in the honesty comes the relate-ability.