This January, producer and songwriter Darien Dorsey released an EP titled 19Seventy Free, an experimental R&B journey-through-time that earned accolades from musical legends Raphael Saadiq, Ali Shaheed-Muhamad and Adrian Younge. The ethereal sounds of this project soon inspired a short film by the same name, a visual story narrated by the music itself, about Black love, revolution, and the timelessness that artistic expression can evoke.
Now an official selection at the Tribeca Film Festival and a featured short in their “Art and Soul” program tomorrow, Saturday June 19th, “19Seventy Free” the film echoes the resistance of 2020 and tells a story of un-conforming love. As producer Taura Stinson explains, “I was raised in an era where misogyny was king, it was commonplace for women to be paraded in music videos because of their sexuality. This [film] is not that. There are two strong characters, they meet by chance and you see the cycle of their love, with music as the storyteller. You see the beautiful beginning, the unknowing, the sexy part, the fighting for it, together…the cycle of love, told through a Black lens.”
The brainchild of Dorsey and Stinson (who previously created award-winning music together featuring Mary J. Blige) along with collaborators Louis Bryant III and Amaya Harris (who also stars in the film), this short is actually the first installment in a two-part experience, with part II in talks for future release with a streaming brand. In keeping with the layers of meaning that the film unfolds, the title “19Seventy Free” is a play on the word “three” being a perfect number representing past, present and future. “There’s a freedom in making peace with the past, present and future,” says Stinson, “…that is something that we often overlook.”