Steve Wilson as Officer Brandon Billips in Kings (Image: kingsshortfilm.com)
Media headlines are continuously saturated with news of unarmed Black men across the country killed by the hands of law enforcement. The scales of justice are shamefully one-sided as the inconceivable pain of victims’ families, damaged communities, and silent truths of the perished are eclipsed by blaring cowardly justifications under the guise of police protocol. Kings, written and directed by Jamaal Scott, is a short film that not only highlights the senseless epidemic, but also raises the “what if” perspective of how simple moral decisions made by police officers and members of the community can perhaps change the entire course of an encounter, or better yet, prevent one.
When the lives of three young Black men unexpectedly intersect with rookie police officer Brandon Billips (who is also black), and his veteran white partner during a ride along, Billips is conflicted between his alliance to the police force and his ethical responsibility to his community. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect about the film is the realization that Officer Billips finds himself glaring at two sides of the same coin as it all unfolds on a witness’ hand-held camera.
Kings is a short film of many layers that extend beyond just the surface level of black vs white as it pertains to police injustice. It delves into deeper nuances of self-awareness, self-respect, responsibility, and the power of conscious decisions.
Kings was originally shot in 2017, and made its premier at the Toronto Black Film Festival in February 2018. See the trailer below:
Kings official site
Jamaal Scott Writer/Director
Producer: Connie Jo Sechrist
Executive Producers: Arthur Burton, Diana McCray, Patricia Rivera
Kings premier at the Toronto Black Film Festival