Other

A film by Xavier Burgin

A black woman struggles with her feelings as she navigates the aftermath of the white nationalist rallies in Charlottesville.

As a black woman, mother, and wife, she must face unconcerned neighbors, unaware colleagues, and clueless strangers who make containing her hurt, rage, and sorrow almost unbearable. A chance meeting with a barista offers her only respite.

Other was not created to induce guilt or illicit sympathy. It is simply a window into the black psyche, a look at the two voices Black America retains. The day of or after traumatic experiences we collectively mourn. We wonder if there will ever be a day our humanity will be given, not awarded after war. We are filled with anxious terror at what this world holds for our children. Other is a hug to all of us. And a guide to our allies on how to, maybe, not say stupid sh*t. 


Directed by Xavier Burgin
Written/Starring Vanessa Baden Kelly
Executive Producers: Vanessa Baden Kelly, RJ Kelly
Producer: Christina Bachelor, James Bland
Director of Photography: Diego Madrigal
1st AD: Jacob Gray
2nd AD: Alecsa Agbayani
Key Grip: Jacob Gray
Sound: Phillip Ta

AP: Chad Johnson, Takara Joseph
Editor: Erial Tompkins
Sound Design: Erik Magnus
Original Music: Mansa Wakil
Cast: Vanessa Baden Kelly, RJ Kelly, Mansa Wakili, Ryder Kelly, Carissa Kosta, Kaylee Bardin, Chris Hyancinthe, Edward Voccola, Jed Rapp Goldstein, Melissa Ugas


Director's Statement

Other is a portrayal of the American cultural zeitgeist surrounding the psyche and morale of the black mind and body. Black Americans face assault from government sanctioned violence and white supremacist zealots daily. We read, hear, and view a never-ending cycle of tragedy, sorrow, and death upon our bodies. Oftentimes, this barrage of cataclysm manifests into a heavy, silent weight we carry. We articulate this burden with other individuals of the African Diaspora. 

But what of the white friend, love interest, colleague, or acquaintance who constantly pervades our personage? What of the situation where said individual wades into opinion on the dehumanization and slaughter of the black body? Too often, the black man and woman must settle into facade, where we smile, converse, or listen to our dehumanization. 

But what of the opposite? When the white individual understands the superficial outskirts of our struggle? Their limited knowledge apprehends some manner of distress tormenting the black psyche. They ask.

"Are you ok?" 
"This must be so hard for you." 
"I can't believe this is happening in America." 

Still, what of the individual oblivious to the suffering of those black and brown?

What of the individual who witnesses our ordeal, yet chooses to double down in their addiction to white supremacy as they engage us? No matter which individual we face, the black man and woman must hold our tongue while snarling the unpleasant truth in our mind. 

We are dying. Why aren't you doing more? How can you say that when this is happening? Do you even truly care? 

This is other. The honest, relentless, and unfiltered stream of consciousness we repeatedly employ in times of distress, aggravation, or disbelief at America's systemic racism. other is when we must smile as the world burns around us. other is the unbridled rage we check, when those who contribute to our collapse feign care. 

Other is who reminds us of inequality. other is who reminds us of injustice. other is who reminds us of disparity. 

And Other... is how we cope.


Mike Ambs

PO BOX 3464, Running Springs, CA 92382

I love to film things, tell stories, and read on the subway. I'm pretty sure blue whales are my power animal.