Movies and TV Shows

Dir. Stefon Bristol Chats on His HBO Film “See You Yesterday”

By Ricardo A. Hazell

Executive Produced by Spike Lee, the science fiction short is culturally specific to black life in urban America.

See You Yesterday, a short film directed by Stefon Bristol, and written by both he and co-writer Fredica Bailey, is a time travel film with cultural relevance to urban Americans. Unfortunately, that relevance has to do with the disenfranchisement of black life, in an instant, by any police officer. 

As is the historic norm, said officers are allowed to get away with murder, while families and friends are left to mourn the shameful loss of potential that results in such deaths. The potential to grow, the potential to learn, the potential to lead, all smothered in a nanosecond. 

Recently, I spoke with co-writer and director Stefon Bristol about this award-winning offering.

The Shadow League: Your short film is a science fiction offering that is culturally relevant. How did it come about?

Stefon Bristol: When I was in the third year of NYU graduate film school we all have to do a thesis to graduate as a director. This was during the summer of 2014. At the time, a family member of mine was an alcoholic drunk. I was going to do a sci-fi movie where the little kid jumps back in time to stop his drunk grandfather from committing a heinous act of drunk driving that kills his best friend. But the problem was that summer, when I was writing that script, Mike Brown got shot by police officers and Eric Garner was murdered as well.

It also wasn’t far from the George Zimmerman trial, where he was acquitted for murdering Trayvon Martin. With all that, it was a huge summer.  A very, very burning summer. And that led to my script. A professor of mine saw a scene of police brutality in that script that also dealt with time travel, and she said you can’t use that one moment as a device in the script and then ignore it. Focus on that or take it out.

As angry as I was during that time, and like most of America at that time, I kept it. I found it helpful in that discussion, using sci-fi in a very socially appropriate manner. I discuss that, run with that, and try to make it into a feature.  Summer of 2015, my professor was saying, ‘No, you’re not ready to do a feature.’ So, I did this short film instead.

Check out the full interview on The Shadow Act  >>>

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