Paid content created in partnership with Target.
For the second year in a row, Will Packer will host Target's Scene in Color, which is a program that celebrates up-and-coming, young filmmakers. The series celebrates the stories of three BIPOC filmmakers on the rise. To learn more about Target's Scene in Color, head over to Rotten Tomatoes. This inspiring content will air on E!'s Daily Pop along with other NBCU platforms throughout the month to build up anticipation for Target's Scene in Color 2.0.
One film features the compelling story of Black singer on the rise in 1950s Las Vegas, on the verge of her big break. There's another film that follows the lives of Ethiopian boys hoping to get adopted before aging out of the system. The third story touches on the recent COVID-19 pandemic, with a lonely teenager trying to keep her parent's restaurant afloat during tough times while coping with other high school trials and tribulations.
Keep reading for more information on the filmmakers and their inspiring short films!
The Film: Magnolia Bloom. A great short film that's also a period piece is tough to come by. This film is beautifully shot, well-paced, and truly captivating. The story takes place in the 1950s, focusing on a Black singer named Anna in Las Vegas who is on the verge of catching her big break. The excitement of her impending success is spoiled when she learns that the audience will not be integrated. Anna is determined to sing the songs she loves with a diverse audience, but she has to face obstacles from the club owners and society at large. She is forced to make a decision based on her values and her love of performing. How will she handle this predicament?
Meet the Filmmaker: Tayo Amos explains, "I had never done a period film before, but I was curious as to how my style could work toward that type of genre." She has a bright energy and an undeniable passion for filmmaking and she's open to creating projects for many genres. She shared, "I'm really inspired by filmmakers who are able to give a groundedness to their work in a way that's very kinetic and very visceral. I'm a huge fan of moving the camera and giving the audience this kind of fluid movement because it just feels the most naturalistic." Amos emphasized, "The goal of any filmmaker is to make the audience feel like they're a part of the story," a goal that she accomplishes with Magnolia Bloom.
The Film: The Other Side. This short film is based on a true story about abandoned boys living at an orphanage in Ethiopia, facing the realization that they might not ever be adopted. At the start of the film, one of the older boys, Abel, "graduates" and receives happy birthday wishes for his last day at the orphanage. In reality, he has aged out of the system, without any support system in the real world, a sad yet common fate with many former orphans ultimately living on the streets. Abel struggles to make it outside of the orphanage, while the other boys hope to be adopted, which is far from a guarantee. The Other Side allows the audience to learn more about the lives of orphans in the midst of this urgent adoption crisis.
Meet the Filmmaker: Josh Leong made The Other Side to raise awareness about Ethiopian abandoned children crisis and this disenfranchised community. He even had his film crew volunteer at the orphanage for a day before shooting the film in order to increase the connection and understanding of this story. The filmmaker explains, "To tell good stories, we have to intimately know the subject and why we are telling it." Looking ahead, he shared, "I hope the kind of films that I continue to make will follow this type of road map." He got to connect with the real-life Abel throughout during a week he spent in Ethiopia and that's what inspired this project. Proceeds from the short film helped raise funds for coronavirus care in the orphanage.
The Film: Sorry for the Inconvenience: Just like many teens, Sammi is focused on her college applications. The lonely teen talks to the lobsters in the tank at her parents' seafood restaurant for feedback on her monologue for her Zoom theater debut in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. While Sammi juggles the standard high school problems, like studying for her driver's permit and rehearsing for the play, she does what she can to keep the family business afloat by helping out at the restaurant during times of economic hardship and increased struggles for the Asian community. This film depicts the gravity of the pandemic's effects on small business with some light-hearted, sweet moments seamlessly woven into the story.
Meet the Filmmaker: Jane Chow aims to incorporate bilingual aspects into all of her film scripts. The Chinese filmmaker hopes to create more work showcasing the people of Hong Kong and their stories. She explained, "I have always been interested in how storytelling can be both so specific and universal," which led to her realization that "filmmaking combines the best of every art form." Chow feels very "driven to tell the Hong Kong stories that might not be able to be told back home" because of the limited freedom of speech. She is "drawn to very human stories and very specific circumstances," which she beautifully illustrates through both seriousness and levity of Sorry for the Inconvenience.