Documentary Competition (Features)African American SpotlightDocumentary
Pier Kids is a verité documentary that’s inspired by Marlon Riggs’s Black is Black Ain’t and the Maysles brothers Gray Gardens, and Field Niggas by Khalik Allah. The film was made in the moment run and gun guerilla style. The interviews are often on the go to reflect the transience experienced by the characters. Like the work of Marlon Riggs, Elegance the film’s director is character on and off screen. The viewer is offered a type of access that’s rare in documentary films. It’s goal is to shrink the distance between the concepts of racial/gender marginalization by making the experience personal and specific. The film asserts that the individual experience of black queer life is not complete without engaging the community at large. The film is also an act of resistance to traditional storytelling forms. The director wanted to make a film in a visual language that mimics the way the people on screen speak and share knowledge with each other. People appear in this film, form a meaningful connection, and disappear without any explanation. It means so much that the audience experience the sense of loss in a way as similar as possible to what the Pier Kids experience. This is the only way to make their plight palpable so that viewers can no longer play innocent. The film is also about the value of public space for brown and black queer bodies to become their most realized versions of themselves. The film is mostly shot outdoors on purpose. It sees the presence of these bodies in this space as natural and necessary. Pier Kids is directed by the truth of the experience of coming of age outside.