Sometimes a film comes along that feels so timely that it's almost painful to watch, like it speaks to the issues of here and now in a way that hits a little too close to home. Our here and now is the United States in the wake of the riots in Baltimore, and that film is Clayfist, which is premiering for the first time right here on No Film School.
"The most important thing for me was that my perspective was an honest one. I felt a responsibility to tell a story that was relevant to what I was witnessing." -- Skyler Lawson
Directed by Skyler Lawson, Clayfist is an exploration of social issues that have been prevalent in the United States since the late 60s, but which have begun boiling to the surface in the past year. Every week, reports of unarmed black men being gunned down by police, of growing economic inequality, of a mental health system in decline, and a Veteran's Affairs department that can't provide adequate care after years of war. Clayfist encapsulates all of these issues and then some, but not in a way that preaches or proselytizes, but in a way that asks painful questions of the audience and doesn't offer any easy answers.
What makes this film successful in its social impact, however, is not its broad scope, but the depth of the characters and the inherent complexity of the father/son relationship at the heart of the story. It's a startling reminder that these are real issues that affect real people.
We'll be sharing more about the making of Clayfist in an upcoming post (it was made on a shoestring budget with an older camera that is widely regarded as obsolete), but for now, I'd love to hear your thoughts about this film.