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Flipping the Script and Screen on Stories About Race — Arts & Culture on Bushwick Daily

Flipping the Script and Screen on Stories About Race

The web series screens at Bushwick Film Festival... but it’s really made for your phone.

Taylor Lhamon

tdlhamon@gmail.com

The 12th annual Bushwick Film Festival welcomed “Other Colors” — a new web series made for your mobile device. The eight-episode season follows Jon Harper through a day in New York City, and all the bizarre characters he meets along the way. This charming, coming-of-age comedy explores what it’s like to pursue dreams as a person of color, with the goal of realistic representation.

Actor Jon Butts, who portrays Harper, elaborates on the importance of balanced storytelling, and why thoughtful representation is vital to this series. 

“‘Other Colors’ does a great job with telling the story of a person of color that isn’t entrenched in trauma. I feel like we have a lot of those in the entertainment industry. Only recently have we begun to see the everyday stories of POC,” Butts says. “It’s important to showcase and normalize these stories of minority groups in addition to those. Our experiences are vast and diverse. Not monolithic.” 

Lead actor, Jon Butts, on location. Photo courtesy of Hannia S.

However, challenging stereotypes isn’t the only way “Other Colors” confronts mainstream storytelling perspectives. How the series was filmed breaks from conventional norms as well. 

The crew filmed the entire season with Vrt, a mobile app designed to both shoot and view scripted content. While iPhone filmmaking has become popular in recent years, Vrt takes this concept to the next level. Videos are recorded in vertical format. Mobile viewers are the target audiences, and content is approached with this perspective in mind.

In both style and content, Remoy Philip’s directorial debut is evidence that creative risks pay off. A wearer of many hats, Philip worked as the writer, director, and producer for the entire first season of the series. In many ways, his process of creating “Other Colors” aligns with the show’s central themes. 

Director Remoy Philip. Photo courtesy of Hannia S.

“It's pretty meta. I'm a person of color; come from a single-parent minority family. Because of a variety of variables, I, like a lot of minority folks, don't always feel empowered to trust myself or my own ideas,” Philips says. “I've had a very lucky life with an incredible amount of experiences and relationships. But still some projects, ideas, molehills can inspire the greatest levels of self-doubt. So making a show actually about representation and pursuing your dreams, well it was a challenge of doubt at first.”

“Other Colors” is available to view on the Vrt app


Cover image courtesy of Vrt Productions.

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