Paulina Bugembe, who won both Best Film and Audience Favorite for her short, The Homecoming at our Voices Heard program in 2017 is working on her newest project, Sherman Park. In this zombie-horror short, three Black teens try to survive a grisly encounter with the Infected.
Alexis and Deon, high school sweethearts, enjoy their last days of summer together with their best friend Marcus. They play one last game of one-on-one on their childhood basketball court, when they are approached by the Infected. In an instant, a normal night of hanging out turns into a horrifying fight for survival.
#WhileBlack incidents, where Black people in America are threatened, detained, or worse for simply living daily life, are finally being brought to everyone’s attention through the proliferation of cell phones and social media despite being an on-going issue since this country’s inception.
Incidents like #PermitPatty calling the police on a young girl selling water bottles on a hot day or #PoolPatrolPaula physically assaulting a Black teenager whom she decided did not belong at her apartment complex's pool are all too common.
Despite being psychologically traumatic, these "hashtag incidents" are seen as benign by many since no one was physically harmed, but let us not forget Trayvon Martin being shot to death by a neighborhood watch member while walking home from a convenience store; Tamir Rice shot to death by police for playing with a toy gun in a park; or Dontre Hamilton, a young man from Milwaukee, who was also shot by police called by nearby Starbucks employees because he was napping on a park bench.
For Black people in America, surviving White Supremacy is like surviving a horror film; and like all horror films, not everyone makes it.
As a genre filmmaker and die-hard horror film fan, the idea of White Supremacy as a virus spreading through violence a la zombie film lore, and wreaking havoc on society in a very literal way spoke to me. Inspired by the likes of George Romero’s Living Dead films and Jordan Peele’s Get Out, I wrote Sherman Park, a zombie-horror film set in the Sherman Park neighborhood of Milwaukee, WI.
BE A PART OF CHANGE
The statistics for women in film behind the camera have consistently been dismal; for women of color, even worse. According to a USC Annenberg study, across 800 films and 886 directors between 2007-2016, only 49 were Black or African American, and of those 49, only 3 were Black women.
Can you name five directors that are women of color? How about five directors that are women of color who direct genre films (i.e. horror, science fiction, action, fantasy, etc)? While gains are being made for African American and Black men to make challenging genre films that break out of the box like Get Out and BlacKKKlansman, Black women are being left behind.
Another study done by the Annenberg Institute looking for ways to make a change shows that 58% of women reported financing to be one major obstacle in getting their stories told.
THIS IS WHERE YOU CAN HELP MAKE A CHANGE!
Support their film and others like it to help get more genre stories told by women of color out into the world. Help us build the experience necessary to compete by helping us finance our projects!
There is always the chance that a successful short film will yield the opportunity for a feature film. In order to reach that next step, we need to secure a budget that will allow us to hire a professional crew and gather all the resources we need to make a truly terrifying and high quality zombie movie!
We here at the Milwaukee Independent Film Society fully back this project. We have for the last four years with our Voices Heard project supported local filmmakers of color when there has been limited recognition for them here in the city. Paulina Bugembe is an accomplished filmmaker who can deliver a film that those who financially back can be proud of.
Here's where you can help this cool project.
Go to the Indiegogo link HERE
Support through FACEBOOK and TWITTER
Make this project happen!