By Arturo R. García
It takes no small amount of ambition to declare your film to be “in the tradition of Higher Learning, Rushmore, Animal House, Election & School Daze.” But Justin Simien’s Dear White People might have enough satirical bite to follow through on that promise.
Set at the fictional Manchester University, Simien’s story follows a group of black students as they navigate college life while standing up for themselves in a school that denies having “a race problem.” As Shadow & Act reports, Simien says, “with tongue planted firmly in cheek, the film will explore racial identity in ‘post-racial’ America while weaving a universal story of forging one’s unique path in the world.”
The film also has a Twitter account in the voice of Sam, who emerges as one of the group’s leading voice thanks to her campus radio show, on which she announces: “Dear White People, please stop touching my hair. Does this look like a petting zoo to you?” But along the way, they draw unwelcome attention from an all-white fraternity that proudly throws “African-American themed parties.”
Simien and his crew are looking to raise $25,000 to complete the project, and he makes this appeal:
Remember when Black movies didn’t neccesarily star a dude in a fat suit and a wig? Or have major plot twists timed to Gospel numbers for no apparent reason? No? Damn…
Well believe it or not there was a time when “Black Art-House” was a thing. When movies like Do The Right Thing, Hollywood Shuffle, and Boyz In Da Hood were breaking box office records as well as making us laugh, cry, and think in ways movies hadn’t before.
The humble producers of DEAR WHITE PEOPLE, a satire about being a black face in a white place, long to bring those days back. But we can’t do it without you!
Here’s the deal…we’re looking to raise seed money that will go a tremondously long way in securing the capital we’ll need to produce our million dollar indie feature. With our trailer, script and your help, we believe we can bring this exciting piece of cinema to life! Join us, won’t you?
That opening line is reflected early on in the trailer, which is absolutely worth your time.