In a new short film/public service announcement, filmmakers Christopher Renz and Gerard Bush masterfully take a look at the police-brutality epidemic facing black people. Along with Harry Belafonte’s organization Sankofa.org, the PSA Against the Wall uses infamous police-radio accounts of unarmed black men and boys being shot and killed by police, juxtaposed with familiar faces.
“While the militarization of the police and egregious use of force continues, we know this is a modern form of brutality from our deep and dark past. The constant vilification of people of color is not new to the American psyche. Somehow cellphone video, dashcam video and news media flashing before our very eyes, hour after hour, the murder and victimization of black and brown bodies has desensitized us,” Belafonte said of the PSA.
With big names such as Michael B. Jordan, Danny Glover, Michael K. Williams, Van Jones and Marc Lamont Hill, the short film isn’t only poignant but riveting.
“By using the faces of those we recognize, familiar faces, we look to resensitize the community to really see the problem. The artistic community is responding to the plight of our disenfranchised. We are shining a light and calling out to all to take a look, listen and feel within your heart to take action,” Belafonte continued.
The film was a joint effort between Renz and Bush’s company, BushRenz, and Belafonte’s Sankofa.org and was executive-produced by Raoul Roach, Gina Belafonte and Marvin Bing.
“Gerard Bush and myself worked up the idea in our shop in Miami after speaking with Harry and Gina Belafonte about their organization. We presented the idea to them a few days later, and they immediately wanted to do it. We shot it about two weeks later. We knew we wanted to utilize celebrity as a way to inspire empathy and reach new audiences with the message” Renz tells The Root.
The message in the video is something that black and brown people deal with every day, but Bush says he wanted others to feel the impact, too.
“Oftentimes it is difficult for many in America to empathize with the plight of everyday black and brown folks who are suffering at the hands of police violence within their own communities, as there seems to be a suspicion or perceived guilt, a sort of weaponization of the color black,” Bush says. “We know that for some people, celebrity has the ability to transcend race, and we thought it would prove powerful to place these celebrated people in the same positions that too many within the black community face—being forced against the wall, hands up, on the ground and eventually shot dead by police.”
Take a look at the video below: