Award winning ‘A Leg Up’: Why it’s a must-watch short film
A Leg Up written and directed by Joe Jennings Jr. is an award winning short film which has won Best Acting for both of its actors at the Toronto Short Film Festival, and Best Script at the same festival. A Leg Up is extremely timely in its subject matter.
The film is about an aging dope dealer who has a realistic sit-down with his son; sharing the harsh realities of growing up black in America. The film is a social, political and cultural film about racial, moral, and family issues in a capitalistic society.
Joe Jennings Jr. is a screenwriter and filmmaker from Atlanta, GA. He has written and produced several independent efforts, including the indie feature film, Trapped, which was featured in the 2011 San Francisco Black Film Festival. He is a graduate of Morehouse College and his films have premiered and been given awards in various festivals.
Jennings Jr. describes the film this way, “Halfway through watching this film, you will forget that you’re watching a “hood flick.” Instead, you will realize the inculcation of values by an African-American father to his son, who’s about to enter the free world on his own for the first time.”
He continues to say the dialogue in A Leg Up, “is a highlight not only on social issues and injustices that black men face, but on how every black man across the board: thugs, educators, blue-collar workers, etc. has to address their children (at some point). No matter the background, for every person of color, the conversation is the same.”
Further explaining the film and his choices Jennings Jr. says, “I wrote Stan’s (Rodney Vincent Washington) diatribe to be purposely harsh and brutal on the kid (Christopher Smith) because there are members of its audience that have never heard that same bout of discussion; one that dispels “All-American Myths” supposedly sold to Black Men, specifically. I wrote it for those that don’t believe that this film applies to them because they’re a part of a certain social class or status. This includes ALL Black Men.”
When Joe Jennings Jr. talked about the ending of the film he said, “As for the kid at the end, taking a bag of money and living happily ever after – this is the other half of the discussion that most parents don’t have. While that’s a ‘dopeboy fantasy’ to save 200k and hand it off in a duffel bag – long-term investing and saving is REAL. And I hope that translates to those looking to [build] wealth and becoming successful in the ‘Greatest Country In The World.’”
His mission statement for this film is as follows, “Times are turbulent. And there are many conversations sparking amongst many racial and social groups. I hope that my film provokes one as well.”