After lying to his girlfriend about how their offensive couples costume makes him feel, Darius debates whether or not he should go to the Halloween party. Distracted by this decision, Darius is shocked to find his costume has come to life. Now faced with his inner demon, Darius must defeat the monster he has created before it consumes him.

  • Joseph Neal III
  • DeAndre Weaver
  • DeAndre Weaver
  • DeAndre Weaver
    Key Cast
    Another Us, Kamya
  • Cameron Waters
    Key Cast
  • Mike Kepka
    Director of Photography
  • Rose Kepka
    Key Grip
  • Roger Rorrer
    Another Us
  • Sydney E. Crutcher
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    4 minutes 40 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    September 30, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    475 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - College of Southern Maryland
  • Micromania Film Festival

    Official Selection
  • Microbudget film podcast x Micromania Film Fest Halloween Film Challenge

    Best Overall
  • NC Black Film Festival
    Willmington NC
    United States
    March 25, 2022
    Official Selection
  • OLA Film Festival
    Washington DC
    United States
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Joseph Neal III

Joseph Neal III is a director from Indian head Maryland. Growing up, movies were a recurring presence in Joseph’s life. A former child actor, Joseph split his time between Maryland and Florida for many years. The one constant was his weekly trip to the movies. Whether it be the latest block buster or Hong Kong cinema, this family time was an informal film school. This indoctrination into cinema along with discipline acquired from athletics and a love of the outdoors would become the foundation of his directorial style. Which he would later discover during his highschool years in a digital media class. What started off as an attempt to get an easy A, birthed a deep curiosity to learn more about the artform that had influence so much of his life. As he signed up for the elective year after year, his curiosity had morphed into one question that still drives him to this day, what could I do with a camera? Inspired by John Singleton and Jordan Peele, Joseph began to craft his own distinct voice and decided to further his studies at the College of Southern Maryland. During his time there he quickly excelled in his courses. Winning the grand prize for his anti-car theft PSA for the Maryland state police which was used on their platforms for over a year. This success caught the attention of Emmy award winner Olaniyi Areke who over saw the production of the PSA. Joseph is finishing out his senior year and is a work study under the mentorship of Mr. Areke. In his free time, you can find Joseph shooting hoops or grilling and chilling. Joseph Neal III is a fiercely independent filmmaker hoping to bring new stories to a screen near you.

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Director Statement

Masks is a meditative film about the split identity of black men in America. How the anxieties of being viewed through the white gaze often manifest in the destruction of self and others.

The initial inspiration for this project was We Wear the Mask By Paul Laurence Dunbar. As we developed the story, we looked at the implications of this poem in the modern era and how it ties into othellian tragedy. Are the conflicts in these stories due to individuals or the societal pressure? Is the mask worn for survival or to hide a dark evil? When choosing the costume, we went back and forth but decided on the perfect figure. Someone who before their fall from grace, was the perfect example of black respectability. Once their mask was removed and the truth revealed it forced everyone to face their own feelings about race, power, and the darkness that can exist in anyone of us.

Our story is not as black and white to paint our characters as hero or villain. The inner struggle of Darius is the cause for the escalation. His fear and anxiety manifests itself into a monster that ultimately reveals how capable he is of the darkness he condemns. This is the story of a man who has fought his entire life to avoid the prophetic destiny created by the white gaze only to have his actions lead him closer to it. Truth and the freedom to be oneself are the only path to heal the deep wound in this film and our world.

It was an absolute blast working on this film, I hope that anyone who watches it enjoys it much as we did creating it!