A.V. ROCKWELL is an award-winning screenwriter and director from Queens, New York. Feathers is a film about a fictional school set up to heal disenfranchised young black men. It follows Elizier, an emotionally-dejected new enrollee at The Edward R. Mill School for Lost Boys, as he overcomes memories of a tragic past and the present hazing by his peers in order to tackle larger issues dominating his young life.
<< Philando Castile bled to death with an officer’s gun still pointed at him, his daughter watching, and girlfriend streaming this to millions in real time. I can only wonder what kind of thoughts washed over him during his last moments of life. Reflecting on his death now, I’m left with so many of my own thoughts and questions to make peace with. Among them, how must it feel to grow up in this world under the constant implication that your life doesn’t matter? How does it feel to know that the whole world could watch you die, yet nothing would be done about it?
These are hard questions to ignore during a time when modern media allows the entire globe to witness current events in unprecedented ways. At the heart what’s weighed on my mind, is the desire to know precisely how much hope is left for young black boys, such as my protagonist Eli, when even living an upright life is not enough?
This story is my allegorical love letter to black men like my father, brother and nephews, reflecting their complex predicament. Their unique connection to disenfranchisement reinvents itself with every new generation. I therefore see this school, affectionately nicknamed The Mill, as a fantasy place where young black men, no longer dependent on the compassion of society, can come together as brothers and figure it all out. What are the necessary survival skills a black boy needs to learn, but will never be taught in school? Perhaps Mr. Parish’s alternative program will provide what’s truly needed to live and prosper as a Black man in America. If it’s not just an experimental concept bound to fail, perhaps The Mill can bring self-empowering unity, healing and worthy solutions for an entire community to embrace. >>