Foxes, by Tristan Taylor, is a short film which shines ‘the spotlight on a topic that most feature films have barely scratched the surface on: Black mental health and the culture of toxic masculinity in Black men,’ says Kennedy Ward.
Since its premiere, which Kennedy wrote about on The Greens site, Foxes has bagged top prize as Best Narrative Short at the St Louis Filmmakers Showcase 2018. But more importantly, Foxes has managed to make a positive addition to the debate about mental health.
We caught up with Tristan and found out about the inspiration and the impact of the film.
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D&CFilm: What inspired you to make Foxes?
Tristan Tailor: Foxes is a story that was sitting with me for a while, that I didn’t really feel like I wanted to share with people. Then giving the way the climate has been changing, and a need for black men to discuss mental health issues. I felt like right now was the perfect time to make the film.
D&CFilm: It says on your ‘about’ page that you decided to make films after finding you were dealing with depression. How biographical are your films?
Tristan Tailor: Foxes is nearly 100% biographical, as are most of my short films.
What I shared with Foxes, was based on a real-life conversation with an older friend of mine. I was sitting with this feeling of loneliness, and just hopeless, and needed to find a way to speak to somebody. That’s the pool scene in Foxes.
All my films come from portions of my life that I want to share with black men like me, who don’t necessarily fit the mold of who society thinks we should become.
D&CFilm: How important is film to highlight on issues like depression?
Tristan Tailor: Film is extremely important for highlighting issues of depression.
I think what the benefit of showing depression in a film does, is it allows the audience to deal with/realize their problems without actually having to outright address them. It allows you to see somebody else go through, and attempt to salvage their lives and gives you the motivation to do so.
What’s been really awesome, is the way people have approached me after the screenings. You usually expect to hear “I loved your film” “Good job” “Nice work”, and those don’t really mean too much.
But people have been approaching me and giving testimonies from both sides of depression. Saying “I made them feel seen” “This made me feel like I’m not alone.” and from the other side I’ve gotten “This made me realize the conversations when people were reaching out to me.” “This made me see my friend that needs help, and doesn’t know how to ask.”
D&CFilm: Tristan, thanks for your time!