black-ish and grown-ish actress Yara Shahidi has set her directorial debut.
She's directing a short film through Refinery29’s Shatterbox Anthology, which is a series of shorts direct by women in order to provide a platform to tell these stories.
If you follow Shahidi on social media, she's been teasing the project for a while now.
Day 2 ???? pic.twitter.com/2BQQbyjOBR— Yara shahidi (@YaraShahidi) December 16, 2017
So immensely grateful for the people in this picture, the people who made directing/conceptualizing my first short film feasible. Not only did I get to work with genuinely nice humans, but really talented ones who allowed my vision to flourish in ways I didn't know to be possible ✨ thank you @r29shatterbox for being the first in supporting my entrance into a new creative space ✨ #Director /Day4-Picture Wrap/
The series began in 2016, and included Gabourey Sidibe's directorial debut, The Tale of Four (starring Aisha Hinds, Jussie Smollett and Ledisi), which screened last year at the BlackStar Film Festival. Kristen Stewart and Chloe Sevigny were also in the inaugural class, and had short films that screened at Sundance and Cannes.
For this year, the short films will screen across TNT social, digital and television channels for release.
Shahidi (who was given full creative control for the film) wrote the script with grown-ish writer Jordan Reddout, which along with her own experiences, is inspired by the 1956 French film The Red Balloon, the podcast "99% Invisible." Her mother, Keri Shahidi is executive producer and her father Afshin Shahidi was director of photography in a crew includes many black-ish and grown-ish folks.
“The story centers around one character who we have aptly titled ‘X,’ and it’s X’s journey through L.A. — a day in the life — but also a larger commentary on what it’s like to maneuver through a space that you don’t own or have ownership of,” Shahidi told The Los Angeles Times.
She continued, "Being somebody who’d been in California for most of her life, I’ve benefited from how diverse it is, how open it is, how liberal it is,” she continued. “This really stemmed from us wanting to dive further into that ... and still discuss the universality of what it’s like to be an unprotected class of any kind, whether you’re a person of color, whether you’re an immigrant, whether you’re a woman, whether you’re differently abled — whatever it is. Directing really makes you stick to your voice and have the ability to back it up, saying, ‘This is how I want to do it.’ Of course you have to make compromises here and there, but it really did remind me to not be so willing to (make compromises), and to feel empowered to execute my vision.”
The short film is expected to be released later this year.