The Richmond siblings’ film, “Slave Cry”, will be screened at the Pan African Film & Arts Festival in Richmond Free Press


“Slave Cry,” a film by Richmond filmmaker Jai Jamison starring his sister Courtney Jamison, will be screened at the 29th annual Pan African Film & Arts Festival from February 28 to March 14.

The festival, which began in Los Angeles in 1992 and has become the largest international film festival with works by black artists from across the African diaspora, will show 207 films from 45 countries in 43 languages. All will be shown online or on request this year due to COVID-19.

“Slave Cry,” a 14-minute film shot in Richmond, explores the city’s glamorization of Confederate history and contrasts the stereotypical roles that African American actors have to play despite their talent.

Many early roles for black actors are characterized by slavery, filled with servants, morons, hustlers, or inferior whites. This type of casting has been an age-old problem since the dawn of mainstream American filmmaking.

In “Slave Cry” Ms. Jamison plays a young actress, whose side appearance works as a historical interpreter. The film begins with her in a slave costume standing in front of the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee on Monument Avenue.

“Slave Cry is a reflection of our experiences growing up in Richmond,” Ms. Jamison told the Free Press.

It deals with the current life of colored people in America while pulling back the layers of how African American history resonates in today’s culture, she said. It also exposes the growth limits for color actors.

Ms. Jamison, 28, graduated from James Madison University and earned a masters degree from the prestigious Yale School of Drama in New Haven, Conn. Mr. Jamison, a 35-year-old writer, producer, and director graduated from Hampton University and earned a Masters in Film from American University.

Ms. Jamison said a classmate at Yale who is of South Asian descent could relate to the message in “Slave Cry” and the stereotypes imposed on actors of color. “I wanted to scream when I had to be asked to act (with) an accent in another arranged wedding scene,” her friend said.

The Jamison siblings were pleased with the general response to the film, which was also shown at the 2019 Virginia Film Festival. They believe that their work contains many seeds. It is very personal for them to reach out to people across the African diaspora. Their goal: To ensure that people are portrayed as their original selves in the fullness of the character they play.

Mr. Jamison said it was easy to work with and manage his sister.

“Because we grew up together and saw all the same things, we have a similar aesthetic and an amazing shortcut between us on set,” he said. “It was like we had the same brain between us. When I gave her production notes, I didn’t have to finish my sentences. She knew what I wanted in her performance. “

Both are bicoastal. They live together in Los Angeles while traveling frequently to the East Coast and Richmond to see their mother, former Richmond District Court Judge Birdie H. Jamison.

The cast includes noted actor, director, producer, and writer Tim Reid, who has appeared on numerous television shows including “WKRP in Cincinnati,” “Sister Sister” and “Frank’s Place”.

In the early 2000s, Mr. Reid selected Ms. Jamison to play 16-year-old Barbara Johns in a film about the historic 1951 strike at the Moton School in Prince Edward County that laid the foundation for the seminal Brown v. Board of Education put The US Supreme Court ruling has ruled the “segregated but equal” doctrine of segregating schools as unconstitutional. Ms. Jamison was a student at the Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School at the time.

Details about the festival, the films and the screening of “Slave Cry” can be found at

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