Private Project

Little Men

Two boys make a startling discovery on the way to school.

Taking place in 1989, Little Men is a compelling winter tale of two endearing 10-year-old boys, Andre and Marcus. Their friendship is tested after they make a startling discovery on the way to school. An existential crisis occurs after an action by one of the boys..

From poverty stricken backgrounds, Andre and Marcus are at once one and the same and completely different. Andre, coming from a family with a single mom, is being raised with dignity and aspirations. In the womb of her crack addiction, Marcus’ mother is downwardly mobile; using Marcus as a verbal punching bag. Andre aspires to a higher class than his family would indicate, while Marcus aspires to the underclass. What happens after their discovery, challenges them to think about their outlook on themselves and about the world they live in.

  • Atlas O. Phoenix
    Director
  • Atlas O. Phoenix
    Writer
  • Atlas O. Phoenix
    Producer
  • Senay Matewos
    Producer
  • Sovereign Hues Productions
    Producer
  • Black Feather Creative
    Producer
  • Brenden Lucas
    Key Cast
    "Andre"
  • TJ Ward
    Key Cast
    "Marcus"
  • Kevin Lokey
    Key Cast
    "Passenger"
    General Hospital, Days of Our Lives, The Young and the Restless
  • Lerea Carter
    Key Cast
    "Lisa"
  • Heidi Berg
    Key Cast
    "Patty"
  • Cortez Owens
    Key Cast
    "Dez"
  • Zealot Hamm
    Key Cast
    "Woman Next Door"
  • Brent Stariha
    Key Cast
    "Driver"
  • Zion Yancy
    Key Cast
    "Marcus' Baby Brother"
  • Ajani Rha Brudenell
    Key Cast
    "Middle Schooler 2"
  • Tayla Brewer
    Key Cast
    "Middle Schooler 3"
  • David Ellis
    Key Cast
    "Middle Schooler 1"
  • Kellen Witschen
    Director of Photography
  • Amanda Yates
    Script Supervisor
  • Amanda Schwarzrock
    Costume Design
  • Jew DreamFirstBorn
    Costume Design
  • Erin F. Erskine
    Set Dressing
  • Project Type:
    Short
  • Runtime:
    23 minutes 57 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    October 26, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    24,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    RED, ARRI, 4K
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Seattle Black Film Festival
    Seattle, WA
    United States
    April 23, 2020
    Official Selection
  • IndieFEST Awards
    La Jolla, CA
    United States
    February 6, 2020
    Award of Recognition
  • Monkey Bread Tree Film Awards
    United Kingdom
    United Kingdom
    December 16, 2019
    Nominated for Best Short Film over $10,000
  • Deep Focus Film Festival
    Brooklyn, NY
    United States
    September 18, 2021
    Honorable Mention
Director Biography - Atlas O. Phoenix

“Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.” - Cesar A Cruz

Atlas O Phoenix, they/them/theirs, is an award-winning director, writer, producer, and editor who creates powerful and dynamic films that examine the dark and light spaces of their humanity whether through narrative or documentary films.

Additionally, they were an actor and performer for the legendary Dykes Do Drag (2017-2020) and The Naked I series (2018/2020).

Atlas is the creator and founder of, Trans-LATE!, a wellness event that centers trans, intersex, agender, and nonbinary folx and their allies. Part cabaret, part dance party, Atlas created a unique space for their communities to feel joy, have fun, and expect the unexpected. Their event is sponsored by the Minnesota Transgender Health Coalition, RARE Productions, Twin Cities Gay Scene, and Transcendence Cabaret. The cabaret features members of Transcendence Cabaret, Newbie Draggons, and over 50% BIPOC performers, a rarity in the Twin Cities.

Currently, in production with their new feature-length documentary film and spin-off web series, Beautiful Boi, the film and mini-series capture their journey as they transition. It examines and tracks their mental health journey of nearly 40 years. The inspiration came from the first person they ever fell in love with and the devastating loss of that beautiful friendship. Throughout this loss, they found themselves and have been thriving in the name of love for three years.

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Director Statement

Little Men is meant to be a conversation piece. You can make up your own ending. I trust my audiences to think for themselves. They are often smarter than the creator of the film which is something that keeps a good writer and director on their toes. In our spoon-fed entertainment culture, everything is thought-out for you and presented in a formula. That’s not how real life works. In real life, you have to make decisions. I couldn’t make a film about making tough decisions and take away your ability to do the same. Doing so would have been counterproductive.

The animation was created by 12-year-old Chaz Hughes. This was his first internship. This was the first film for both Brenden Lucas(11 at the time) and TJ Ward(10 at the time.) They all did a fine job!

The creation of Little Men was a huge community endeavor. I am proud to have been so lucky to be supported by my crew, actors, grant organizations, and donors. It was truly a life-changing experience!