Short films matter. Vimeo wants you to know it. So do we. That’s why every week we’ll take a look at some of the short film world’s best and brightest. This week, we bring you Reinaldo Marcus Green’s timely drama Stop.
The Plot: A young man is profiled and stopped by the NYPD on his way home from baseball practice.
The Film: There’s a fine line between engrossing urban drama and pandering inner-city melodrama. Stop knows which side it’s on.
Why Press Play?
To be clear, Stop is not a pandering inner-city melodrama. Unfolding with an intense, real-time ambience, Stop follows a young, black male as he makes his way home from his high school’s baseball field. He talks shit with his buddy. He buys snacks at a convenient store. And in the final few steps through his neighborhood, he’s stopped and searched by police officers. For absolutely no reason.
We’ve all seen in recent years how quickly these situations can turn ugly. Even violent. And we’ve heard the term ‘stop and frisk’ enough to feel genuine outrage that such a dangerous policy even exists. But Writer/Director Reinaldo Marcus Green isn’t out to amplify that outrage. Nor is he out to provide any answers. Stop was written in the wake of the Trayvon Martin tragedy, but Green’s film is more concerned with sparking a debate about ‘stop and frisk’ policing than sensationalizing its flaws or its victims.
By that note, Stop is a beautifully restrained slice of urban cinema. The film was shot with a single handheld camera utilizing only available light. There’s no score to speak of, save for the city’s turbulent soundscape. And Green casts non professional actors in key roles (Keishawn Butler is a muted revelation in the lead). The combination of elements leaves Stop feeling more like documentary than fiction. It’s a gripping bit of fiction either way. One that – even two years after the film’s release – feels as real and as relevant as ever.
Meet The Crew:
Written & Directed by: Reinaldo Marcus Green Starring: Keishawn Butler & Joshua Rivera Director of Photography by: Frederico Cesca Sound Design by: Arjun G. Smith Edited by: Justin Chan & Luiza Parvu
I hope you enjoy Stop! Reinaldo Marcus Green’s understated gem spent the bulk of 2015 racking up accolades on the festival circuit. That run included screenings at Sundance and Tribeca. Somehow, Reinaldo and his Producer brother Rashad haven’t yet turned all of that goodwill into a feature project. With any luck, that will change in the near future. If you can’t wait until then, head over to their Vimeo page and check out some of their previous work. While you’re kicking around and check out a few of the thousands of other short films – animated, live action and documentary – the Vimeo team have made available for your viewing pleasure (via desktop or mobile device – SWEET!). You’re sure to find something interesting. And you may just stumble across the next great filmmaker.