“BLACK FRATSMAN” tells the story of Trey who is interested in joining his school’s fraternity but receives backlash from friends.
The man behind “BLACK FRATSMAN” is Jahleel Hills. Jahleel is a director, producer, actor, writer, editor and show-style snare drummer. He has been in the entertainment industry since he was eleven. He has appeared on numerous stages including Madison Square Garden, Barclays Center, and MetLife Stadium.
He was also on the Netflix show, Spike Lee’s “She’s Gotta Have It,” a Best Buy commercial that appeared on the VFiles Fashion Show and with Demi Lovato on Good Morning America. He was also featured in Mans Crafted, a web series for the Food Network.
Hills is a 2021 graduate of SUNY Purchase Class and earned his BFA in Film. His graduation film “BLACK FRATSMAN” earned him the Jesse Feigelman Award and was # 3[von 126 Filmen]at the NY Lift Off Global Network Film Festival.[outof126films)intheNYLiftOffGlobalNetworkFilmFestival[outof126films)intheNYLiftOffGlobalNetworkFilmFestival
We spoke to Jalheel Hills about his film.
Jahleel, can you tell us where the idea for “BLACK FRATSMAN” came from?
“BLACK FRATSMAN” started as an idea for my documentary film class at Purchase College in the fall semester of 2018. The original premises were intended to follow the fraternity at Purchase, which was not recognized by the school and has since dissolved. In the end, I discarded this idea and made another documentary. Months later, in the editorial lab, my friend told me not to just give up BLACK FRATSMAN and do it as a junior project. Now me
I don’t know if they were serious or just kidding, but that thought stayed in my head all summer.
When did you decide to pursue the idea further?
When it was fall 2019, I knew I wanted to do BLACK FRATSMAN. However, I wanted to change the premise.
What changes did you want to make?
I wanted to use fraternities to discuss a bigger problem that happens to black people everywhere. With that, I wanted to talk about race, but also deliver it in a way we could all understand and understand.
How did you manage to shoot? Are you involved in the pandemic?
This project was shot on the first two weekends in February. After we finished, we had about a month to work the campus before the world changed due to the pandemic. During the early parts of the pandemic, I was still in communication with my team, working on various cuts and taking notes. I said to myself, “This film needs to be finished.”
How long did post-production take?
After months of taking notes and long nights of editing, BLACK FRATSMAN reached a final cut and was ready to be screened.
This film is a testament to the perseverance, work ethic and creativity of my team and myself to produce a story that needs to be told. I feel very blessed, benefited, and happy to work with a group of incredibly talented people.
Any final words on the film.
This film shows what can happen when a group of young, motivated and creative minds come together to create something bigger than themselves.
Hills is currently in post-production for his latest film, “OFF THE BEAT”, which serves as a thesis.
You can find more information about “Black Fratsman” here.
You can read our review of “Black Fratsman” HERE.
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