On Cultural Appropriation, Gentrification And Horror With The Director Of Brooklyn Beauty Shop-Set ‘Hair Wolf’

April 26, 2018

Antonio J. Bell On The Dazzling Tribeca Selection, ‘Nigerian Prince,’ Navigating Lagos And Unraveling His Roots

April 26, 2018

How The Searing Short Film ‘Haven’ Hones In On The Beauty And Horrors of Black Girlhood

April 26, 2018
Screen Shot 2018-06-03 at 8.19.16 PM
Screen Shot 2018-06-03 at 8.24.33 PM
Screen Shot 2018-06-03 at 8.21.24 PM

Some films remain forever embedded in your psyche and stick with you long after the final credits roll. Writer/director Kelly Fyffe-Marshall’s searing short story Haven is exactly this type of film. In a few short minutes, Haven hones in on the beauty and horrors of black girlhood — tackling a subject that is often buried in the black community. After the film’s premiere at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival, I chatted with Fyffe-Marshall and Haven executive producer Tamar Bird about the film, its perfect casting and why it’s so important to tell painful stories.

The idea for Haven was sparked by a conversation that Fyffe-Marshall had one day with her director of photography. “My DP Jordan Oram (Drake’s “God’s Plan”) had shown me another film, and it was about two people in a room,” she remembered. “So he sparked something in me. I thought, ‘What’s something that as black women we don’t see a lot of on TV?’ For me, it was a black daughter getting her hair done. That’s something that nearly all black women went through at least once a week as a child. So, I started with that, and it just became Haven.”

Once the idea was formed, Fyffe-Marshall found the perfect collaborator in Bird, an actress and award-winning Canadian filmmaker. “Kelly and I have known each other for about six years,” Bird revealed. “When she presented this to me, I remember saying, ‘This is it. Don’t do anything to it, don’t change anything. This is perfect. This is what we need; this is what the world needs.’ From there we just wanted to make it as true to our childhoods as possible — that nostalgic feeling of listening to reggae music in the background and watching TV while you’re getting your hair done.”

Continue reading at Shadow and Act.