February 27th, 2017 – HipStory Films debuts the first of many major releases. Closing out Black History Month, directors Hakim Hill (The Art of Being Haunted) and Cliff Notez (Vitiligo) premiered their socially enlightening, psychological films. These films depict the relationship between racism, mental health, and social injustice. The screenings were followed by a Question and Answer, led by HipStory co-owner, Timothy Hall. Lead actors Anthony Goss and Richard Cyriac sat with Hill and Notez to answer questions from the audience.
The Art of Being Haunted follows Basqui (Goss), a first-year college student facing school financial issues, after a violent confrontation. We follow the protagonist’s journey as he confronts guilt, stress, and paranoia. Vitiligo tells the story of a doctoral student who is guest lecturing a series on the inequalities/disparities for African Americans in media representations. This film frames the story of the events that transpire after an unnamed traumatic event has happened to Richard. We walk through his psychotic break, trying to piece together clues that will point us to its original cause.
When asked about the films’ impacts, Hill responded, “These films bring up a lot of questions, which I think it will always be good to make you question things…I think there may not be a solution at the end, but I would hope it would raise enough questions that you will try to find the answer.” Regarding activism and mental health, Notez added, “I think it’s important to realize that we do have to make a change, and we do have to assert ourselves in certain ways, and we do have to go to protests, and we do have to speak up and go vote but at the same time, that gets tiring. You do have to take care of yourself.”
To learn more about the reason why these directors decided to create Horror/Thriller flicks, check out Cliff’s recently published piece on Blavity, Black Guy Dies First.
Be sure to check out the Vitiligo page and the Art of Being Haunted page for updates. The next screenings will be from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM on March 27th, 2017 at Salem State University and will also be followed by a Q&A by the directors.
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