by Andre Rangiah
Saturday Nia Room 4pm
When Aurelian blocks her on Facebook after taking her virginity, 13 year-old Peezoo senses life in Franklin, Louisiana, where the water is still, is coming to a halt. As her father’s grip tightens and his glare ensnares, Peezoo feels an even greater force drawing nearer. To reclaim control over her body, Peezoo enters an arm wrestling match with small-town patriarchy. From the sidelines, her father’s world splits in two.
Director – Andre Rangiah
In October 2017, the same month #MeToo went viral, Andre Verdun Jones – co-founder of the black LGBTQ publication The Tenth Magazine and Executive Producer of award winning short film Mr. Okra – invited me to his hometown of Franklin, Louisiana after seeing my experimental short film Dixieland (filmed in New Orleans). Jones encouraged me to expand on its themes in a short film.
Upon arriving in Franklin, intersectional feminism was quickly becoming a talking point online and I was curious about its reach in Louisiana. As a queer filmmaker of color, I naturally gravitate towards spotlighting stories of minority groups.
Making a short film that investigated gender inequality and sexual assault in this region, and that centered on the black, female body, posed a number of challenges. Historically, film has revealed a white-centered perspective even while depicting the black body. I employed impressionistic principles to reflect the full interior life of the all-black cast and to implode tropes of black communities in the rural South.
Of equal importance was representing Franklin, Louisiana with sublime images of black life; to reclaim its sweeping landscapes as a home of black America; to paint the Deep South with light, shadow and darkness as a place for black celebration and struggle.