This is installment #17 of Shadow And Act's #ShortFilmShoutout series.
Trigger warning: This short film features mentions of sexual abuse of a minor.
Writer-director Kelly Fyffe-Marshall's powerful short film Haven is one that won't leave your mind for hours after viewing it.
The film, which Shadow And Act is exclusively debuting, hails from Toronto and features the story of a young girl who shares a secret with her mother that will change their lives.
According to the official description:
"The first beauty salon a young girl is introduced to is between her mother’s legs. It’s a place where innocence is treasured, bonds are strengthened and confidence is boosted. For Jada, Janice, as her mother, is routinely doing her hair. Jada finds solace in-between her mother’s legs to confess earth-shattering news."
The film stars seven-year-old actress D'evina Chatrie in her premiere role. Playing the role of her mother is Toronto-based musician Tika Simone. Along with Fyffe-Marshall as writer and director, the production team includes Bird's Eye View Productions' Tamar Bird and Jordan Oram ("God's Plan" by Drake) as cinematographer.
As a Best Narrative Short nominee of the SXSW Film Festival, as well as placing at the One-Reeler Short Film Competition, Haven is a film that has captivated audiences. The original idea came from Fyffe-Marshall realizing with Oram that an aspect of Black girlhood had seldom been captured on screen.
"...[H]e [Oram] sparked something in me," she said to Shadow And Act's Aramide A. Tinubu in 2018, relating how Oram showed her a film about two people in a room. "I thought, 'What's something that as Black women we don't see a lot of on TV?' For me, it was a Black daughter getting her hair done. That's something that nearly all Black women went through at least once a week as a child. So I started with that, and it just became Haven."
The idea progressed into its tragic final form with Fyffe-Marshall and Bird's focus on bringing light to child molestation, a topic that doesn't get widely discussed within the Black community.
"All my films have to be impactful," said Fyffe-Marshall. "They have to be films that are going to help the community...The film is the start of a conversation that ends abruptly and I want you to be the person who finishes it."
Photo credit: Jordan Oram
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