In Garrett Bradley’s America, Black joy is integral to Black history. The acclaimed short film, now available to watch at Field of Vision, reimagines lost moments in African-American cinema in black and white — and offers original visions of a radical past.
Inspired by the earliest known feature-length film with an all-black cast, Bert Williams’s Lime Kiln Club Field Day, Bradley conjures a series of vignettes rooted in New Orleans that explore joy, domesticity, and triumph for her cinematic omnibus. America challenges the idea of Black cinema as a “wave” or “movement in time,” proposing instead a continuous thread of achievement. The film is scored by Trevor Mathison, a founding member of the Black Audio Film Collective.
America premiered at Sundance Film Festival in 2019, was nominated for an International Documentary Association Award for Best Short, and won the Sheffield/Doc Fest Short Award. The film was also the centerpiece of a celebrated weeklong screening series at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
America is both a standalone film and a multi-channel video installation. The installation has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New Orleans Museum of Art, and Contemporary Arts Museum Houston.
Field of Vision is a filmmaker-driven documentary unit that commissions, creates, and supports original short-form and feature-length nonfiction films and episodic series about developing and ongoing stories around the globe.