Travon Free, the writer and co-director of Two Distant Strangers, an Oscar-nominated short about police brutality which was directly inspired by the killing of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, shared this reaction with The Hollywood Reporter following the conviction of former police offer Derek Chauvin on all counts in connection with Floyd’s death:
“Almost a year ago, the world watched for nine minutes as the life in George Floyd’s eyes, and the light of his soul, was extinguished by the knee of Derek Chauvin. Today, the world has witnessed the justice system making a very firm declaration that what we witnessed wasn’t just inhumane, it was murder at the hands of a man who was sworn to serve and protect everyone in the community he patrolled. The fight to end police violence is not over, and one verdict won’t change the system that perpetuates it, but it is a sign that we have the ability to move in the direction of a society where these things no longer happen.”
Two Distant Strangers, which Free co-directed with Martin Desmond Roe, is a 29-minute drama that uses the same storytelling device as Groundhog Day to tell the story of a young Black man (actor/rapper Joey Bada$$) trying to get home to his dog after a one-night-stand, only to encounter a form of police brutality that results in his death, which sparks the cycle anew.
Each instance of police brutality in the film is modeled after a real instance of it in 21st century America, serving as a powerful reminder of just how many young Black men and women have lost their lives at the hands of police in recent years.
Academy members, whose voting continues through 5 p.m. PT on Tuesday evening, are being polled in the immediate aftermath of not only the Chauvin trial, but also the shooting of a young Black man, Daunte Wright, by a white cop who says she meant to tase him, just a few miles away in Brooklyn Center, Minn.; and as people are trying to get to the bottom of what led a white cop to shoot and kill a Latino 13-year-old, Adam Toledo, in Chicago.