Locally Shot Film Dear White People screens at the Walker.

A 490 crewed film “Dear White People” screened at the Walker Art Center Cinema on Friday May 2nd to a sold out crowd.  Prior to the screening, Producer Effie Brown recognized cast, and crew members, saying we were a great group to work with.

 Cast of "Dear White People" speak at the Minnesota Premiere. Photo by Melissa Pritchett.

Cast of "Dear White People" speak at the Minnesota Premiere. Photo by Melissa Pritchett.

The film was shot in and around Minneapolis in August and September of 2013 utilizing locations that included the University of Minnesota, and the Minneapolis Women’s Club.

The film has been successful. The first rung of success was acceptance to the Sundance Film Festival where it was awarded the U. S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Talent.  The next success was a distribution deal with Lionsgate.  There are interviews, a little behind the scenes footage,  and links to articles about the film (in the Washington Post, Huffington Post, Variety, and many more) at the films official site  http://www.dearwhitepeoplemovie.com

There is also coverage at http://filmguide.sundance.org/film/13914/dear_white_people

Upcoming festival screenings include Seattle and LA Film Festivals.

 The cast listening to questions, photo by Melissa Pritchett.

The cast listening to questions, photo by Melissa Pritchett.

I found the movie to be heartfelt and honest.  The struggle of Lionel played by Tyler James Williams was touching. Justin used humor to keep very difficult subjects from being overwhelming.  All departments work shined through in the final cut with great lighting and camera work capturing the work of the actors, the art department, and our fabulous locations.  The edit was tight and kept my interest throughout.

 The audience listening during the Q&A, photo by Melissa Pritchett. 

The audience listening during the Q&A, photo by Melissa Pritchett. 

After the screening Director Justin Simien and cast members provided thoughtful answers to questions about movie making, Hollywood vs. independent film, race issues, and more.   One highlight for me was something he had also touched on while the movie was being shot: This is really a film about identity, and finding your place in the world.  While it is written from his perspective as a Black, gay man, he hopes people can relate to it from times when they have felt the outsider. 

It is expected open in theaters in October of 2014.

Reporting by Iatse 490 member Cheri Anderson.