Up and coming writer and filmmaker, Brittany Clemons, is shooting her first short film, Blight, this weekend! Blight follows a grieving, young black girl with supernatural abilities who seeks vengeance after the racially charged officer-involved shooting of her teenage brother.
Storyboard Art by Felipe Souza
Brittany has mostly worked on documentary television with PBS, NBC, and AMC. Notably she’s worked on the award winning six-part series The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross, two seasons of the celebrity genealogy series Finding Your Roots, and the two-hour documentary special Hope & Fury: MLK, the Movement, and the Media.
She has taken her interest in social justice and passion for diversity and representation both in front of and behind the camera, and translated it into Blight. I was lucky enough to sit down with her to chat about the project, her love of sci-fi, and which superheros inspire her.
Interview With Brittany Clemons
Lorena: What inspired you to make this film?
Brittany: An early iteration of BLIGHT was initially conceived out of the frustration I experienced after working on a timely PBS documentary called The Talk: Race in America, which explored police violence and the difficult yet increasingly common conversation parents of color have with their children, known as “the talk”. This frustration, mixed with the inspiration I experienced while cosplaying at the Schomburg’s Black Comic Book Festival, put the premise for BLIGHT into perspective.
Lorena: What perspective did you get from the comic book festival?
Brittany: During a diversity in comics panel, I wondered what a young, black and “supernaturally gifted” teen would actually do with superpowers in this day and age, not in some parallel universe, but in the systematically racist dystopia that we live in today. Furthermore, I wondered what danger these powers would put a young black teen in, especially since their sole being is already considered a threat. I wondered how even with powers, how does one cope with being “powerless” in an unjust America due to the color of their skin.
Storyboard Art by Felipe Souza
Lorena: Did anything push you specifically the direction you went?
Brittany: The short could have went so many different ways, but I decided to focus on a grieving, young black girl with supernatural abilities who seeks vengeance after the racially charged officer-involved shooting of her teenage brother. As a vehicle for social commentary with magical realism, BLIGHT will explore the aftermath of police brutality and environmental racism through a sci-fi lens.
Lorena: So, we know you cosplay and go to comic book festivals, what comic books are you reading?
Brittany: BLIGHT has been keeping me pretty busy, but when I have time I love reading The Walking Dead. Although I haven’t been reading many comic books lately, I am a television fanatic. My favorite TV series of the year are The Handmaid’s Tale, Atlanta, Pose, Insecure, and, of course, Game of Thrones!
Lorena: Gotta love GoT! What about super heros, though? You didn’t mention any of super hero shows on TV now, but I know you are into super heros… any all time favorite or even a favorite franchise?
Brittany: All time favorite super hero? Meteor Man! He was my FIRST BLACK SUPERHERO! Thank you, Robert Townsend! Meteor Man is also one of my inspirations for BLIGHT. Even from a young age, I loved and respected how Meteor Man used his powers to take care and uplift his community. And that movie is a classic! As for favorite contemporary super hero movie: Black Panther, of course!
Lorena: Love it! Blight is led by a female character though, any female characters from sci-fi that you love?
Brittany: Buffy The Vampire Slayer!
Lorena: I seriously need to rewatch that. I know you’re still in production, but where can we find Blight once it’s done?
Brittany: Blight will be submitted to film festivals Summer 2019.
Help Fund Blight
Blight is still open for crowdfunding! Help get it made by going to check out the campaign here. Learn more about the project and its cast and crew, including some sneak peeks from Brittany on the filming. The campaign closes Friday at 11:59pm EST and it’s an all or nothing.