Private Project

Pretty Boy

After years of abuse, a homeless Black teenage boy navigates the dangerous world of survival sex on the streets of St. Louis.

  • Kevin Coleman-Cohen
    Snapshot, Osi
  • Kevin Coleman-Cohen
  • Renee McClellan
    Beyond The Pretty Door, The Rescue, Reesie's Pieces
  • Kevin Coleman-Cohen
    Osi, Lights Camera Action
  • Jonathan D. Boyce
    Shards, Automation, Blacked Out
  • Antonio St. James
    Key Cast
    Holiday Heist, All Gone Wrong, Gone Girl, Belleville
  • Ramone Boyd
    Key Cast
  • Joseph Jayden Daniels
    Key Cast
    "Young Elon"
    The Runaways
  • Dwele Reid
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    17 minutes 40 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    September 1, 2022
  • Production Budget:
    20,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9, 4:3
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Kansas City Filmfest International
    Kansas City
    United States
    March 27, 2023
    Best Heartland Narrative Short
  • Riverside Short Film Festival
    United States
    April 1, 2023
    Audience Choice
  • Martha's Vineyard African American Film Festival
    Martha's Vineyard
    United States
    August 6, 2023
    Official Selection
  • St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase
    St. Louis
    July 30, 2023
    Best Direction & Best Drama
  • Pan African Film Festival
    Los Angeles
    United States
    February 17, 2023
    Nominated Best Short Film
  • Louisville International Festival of Film
    United States
    October 5, 2023
    Official Selection
  • San Antonio Black International Film Festival
    San Antonio
    October 5, 2023
    Official Selection
Distribution Information
  • N/A
Director Biography - Kevin Coleman-Cohen

Kevin Coleman-Cohen was born and raised in St. Louis, MO. He is a director and producer. Kevin studied under directors Bill Duke (Sister Act 2, Hoodlum, Deep Cover) and Haile Gerima (Sankofa) while an undergraduate student at Howard University. Kevin worked with Mr. Duke on "Angel: One More Road To Cross" starring the late Hip Hop artist and actor, DMX and R&B artist, Mary J. Blige. Kevin also interned for Mr. Duke on the documentary, "Partners of the Heart" narrated by legendary actor, Morgan Freeman. After HU, Kevin graduated from the American Film Institute Conservatory earning an M.F.A. in Directing. Kevin strives to tell stories of the unheard and undervalued and bring their stories to a heightened consciousness.

Kevin received an Honorary Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) degree in Entertainment & Arts Management from Harvest Christian University for his work in independent filmmaking and his innovation and visionary creativity. In November 2023, Kevin received the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from President Joe Biden for his service in building a stronger community through service. In addition to being a filmmaker, Kevin teaches film and is a homeless youth advocate. Kevin spent many years working in street outreach serving at-risk youth who often engage in sex work to survive on the streets in his hometown of St. Louis, MO and in Los Angeles and Oakland, CA. In 2006, Kevin was the winner of the youth worker of the year by the National Network For Youth for his work with street youth. Next, Kevin is polishing a feature script "Pretty Boy" which is based on his short film of the same name.

Kevin is also in post-production as a co-producer on the documentary feature film, "Catching Bullets", which is about the Black on Black gun violence in St. Louis, MO.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Pretty Boy is a film that has taken me over 10 years to finally make. I began writing the script when my mom died from lung cancer. I just graduated from film school, and this loss was devastating. The family needed money. I had to help raise my fifteen-year-old baby brother, Demarko. I quickly found a regular paying job at Youth In Need, Inc., and they were a great employer.

One day while outreaching in a rough area of downtown St. Louis, I saw a young Black teen male engaging in a sex act with a grown man behind a dumpster. I wasn't alarmed because things like that tend to happen in that area but I was shocked to see this behavior during the daytime with a young person. I made a U-turn and the adult took off running while the young person idly pulled up his clothes. I approached him without judgment. I rolled down the window and asked if he needed condoms. He told me the guy paid him more money if he didn't use a condom.

My heart dropped. I got out of the van, shared my program with him, and told him how I could help. With street youth, you must build trust first since the system has repeatedly failed them. He didn't want to enter my program, so we made plans for us to meet the next day. He showed up, and we had a long talk. In that conversation, he shared his personal story about his mom's drug addiction, and how he never knew his dad. I learned how he lived his life and it altered my perception of the world around me regarding street youth particularly males. I gave him supplies and food, and we made plans to meet on a third day. This time I was convinced I would get him into our shelter program, however, he didn't show up and I never saw him again.

I looked around the area for months to no avail. I often wondered what happened to him. Then I decided to write a screenplay inspired by his story. I felt so connected to him and all the at-risk transitional-aged youth. I want to tell their stories. I could relate to this young person i.e. feeling you must do what you have to do in order to survive. I must share this story because many others just like him are out there on the streets. Before I knew the ins and outs of this hidden world, whenever I saw young men on the street corners late at night, I often thought they were potentially selling drugs. The concept of survival sex never came to mind. Generally, most people think young girls are the primary victims of survival sex, but there's a significant number of young men as well. This is especially true for African-Americans, who are invisible and undervalued by many in society. I want to bring their stories to a heightened consciousness.