Gotta Get Down to It, the feature-length film written and directed by Thomas S. Turgeon Professor of Drama John Tazewell ’84, was recently chosen to be screened at the 10th Annual Charlotte Black Film Festival. The Festival will be held in Charlotte, N.C. from April 23-26 and showcase the work of black independent filmmakers.
“They informed the filmmakers [who were chosen] over a Facebook Live event,” Tazewell said. “So I watched the event and heard our name called and was surprised but excited that they called our name to be in the film festival.”
The news came as a surprise for many of those involved in the film’s production, the majority of which was done on campus in conjunction with Kenyon’s Film Department last spring.
“I think there was an air of disbelief about how professional [the film] was and what the aims were,” Teddy Hannah-Drullard ’20, who played Trey, one of the main characters of the film, said. “When we finished I figured that was all we were going to hear about Gotta Get Down to It, and then, lo and behold, half a year later we get this update.”
Hannah-Drullard expressed how they saw the nomination as an important milestone for the presentation of identity in independent film.
“It feels like a big deal for [the Kenyon Film Department], for the state of art, and like a big step forward on a more personal level,” Hannah-Drullard said. “I feel like films in general don’t focus on the intersection between blackness and queerness—Pariah and Moonlight are the only two movies I’ve seen with queer brown characters, and none of them are genderqueer, so getting to portray all of my intersections on screen in front of strangers who can appreciate my identity [has been] really important.”
Tazewell explained how this acceptance was a significant event in the lengthy process of making the film and submitting it to film festivals.
“I went through FilmFreeway to find festivals that I knew I wanted to apply to and the Charlotte Black Film Festival was one that I was interested in,” Tazewell said. “[Those] that I’m applying to include lots of others that are in other cities [from San Francisco to New York].”
Updates about Gotta Get Down to It’s status from the other festivals are expected within the coming weeks as the film’s production is finalized.