At this year’s #Sundance Film Festival, filmmaker Tayarisha Poe ( @tayarishasaurusrex) premiered her debut feature “Selah and the Spades.” Inspired by her years spent at boarding school in New Jersey, the film’s story delves deep into the teenage politics of an elite (fictitious) school. “How often does a black girl get the chance, in fiction, to be whoever she wants to be?” asks Tayarisha, who’s based in Brooklyn, New York. “To not smile when she’s told? To manipulate the world to her advantage? I started to imagine a girl at 17 who spits on the idea of fitting into a box for the comfort of others.
She would be knobby-kneed, like I was,
she would be braggadocious,
she would charge ahead and bring others with her,
she would never feel guilty.
She would be free.
From that desire, Selah was born.” Through Instagram, Tayarisha connected with a number of people who eventually worked on the film, including a photographer and an illustrator. “This world of film, of making art, of telling stories, it’s so much more fun when you have a sense of community, and particularly when you’re building a community that believes in gratitude, in honesty and in kindness,” she says.
Photo of @loviesimone_ and @tayarishasaurusrex