On the heels of the 8 Oscar nominations for his much-loved sophomore feature film “Moonlight,” also hailed by critics as the best film of 2016 and lavishly praised with over 140 awards, including the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Drama, it’s certainly fair to say that writer/director Barry Jenkins is having a *moment* – a much deserved spotlight a decade or so in the making (counting his short films prior to his debut feature, “Medicine for Melancholy”); although an argument could be made that it’s a lifetime in the making, as our life experiences inform how we each grow and evolve through time.
On January 26, Mr. Jenkins graced the International Film Festival Rotterdam: IFFR with his film and his presence, where he participated in a program titled “Masterclass: Barry Jenkins” – an hour-long conversation and Q&A during which the filmmaker spoke in depth about his work (shorts and 2 features), his vision as a writer and director, the trials and triumphs of filmmaking (especially the kind of art he aims to create), his skyrocketing success, and much more.
It’s an enlightening, entertaining “Masterclass” that you will find engaging and educational, even learning some behind-the-scenes facts that may not have been widely known previously; for example, he shares that his first feature, “Medicine Melancholy,” was made for an astoundingly low $13,000! He also discusses how he raised the funds, and breaks down how the money was allocated.
A groundbreaking film on many levels, “Moonlight” is based on Tarell Alvin McCraney’s play “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue.” Jenkins studied Film at Florida State University and directed several shorts, of which the majority are included in the Black Rebels program at the IFFR this year. The emotional reception to “Moonlight” by many viewers resonates with Jenkins’ own experience: “That means the world to me, because I know what it’s like to feel voiceless and unseen. When we don’t see images outside of ourselves, we feel invisible,” he states.
Watch “Masterclass: Barry Jenkins” in full below: