If you’re looking for a film that’s haunting, breathes life into familiar themes, and has a significant amount of Black folks in it, the spirit of Halloween is ready to grace you with the indie gem Wake (2010) written and directed by Bree Newsome.

Sheltered all her life, a young woman by the name of Charmaine (Sahr Ali) decides to indulge in what is deemed “root work” to gain her fantasy man. But her not-so-fruitful deeds catch up to her when she realizes all too late that patience truly is a virtue. Standing just over 21 minutes, Wake takes a stab at what’s commonly overlooked in narrative film: the southern gothic. It’s not shy about relaying sympathy for Charmaine while simultaneously filtering her stark weaknesses. It’s a great effort and worth the small amount of time it requires to get you in the right mood for the spookiest of seasons.

Wake has been recognized by the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures, the BET Urban World Film Festival, and most recently, snagging a Black Reel Award for Outstanding Independent Short Film.

Bree herself is a multi-talented force in the arts. A singer/songwriter as well as composer, Bree from a young age has been winning scholarships and awards for her musical efforts and film projects. She’s caught the eye of YM magazine and the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences well into her college days at New York University. Her list of accomplishments seem endless and are extremely impressive. Currently, Bree is working on her first EP and teaching at the Cinema School in Bronx, New York.

Not long ago, I wrote a piece as a clarion call of sorts to track our sisters that are directing film narratives a bit left from center, that left being a horror/thriller genre where the Black female story has yet to be affirmed as a mainstay. I thank the Black Girl Nerds crew for the opportunity to share these thoughts that I’ve been passionate about all of my life in the spirit of promoting art that is entertaining, thoughtful, and broaden our perceptions of an ever shifting Black identity in the American cultural landscape. Bree Newsome’s work is a testament to that.

     Ashlee is currently the Sponsorship Director for Women in Horror Month and a“horror academic nerd”. She also digs vegan desserts and would like to teach classes about horror movies. More of her musings can be found at www.quirksandsplatters.com 

Previous articleRes – The Artist You Should Know…That We Don’t
Next articleSkinny Pumpkin Pie Martini
Ashlee consumes media and popular culture through a critical lens and an academic background in Liberal Arts. Her particular love for horror films has translated into panels and presentations at conferences throughout the US, curating film screenings, work with the Viscera Film Festival, Women in Horror Month, and published work in Paracinema magazine. Saddened by the lack of visible representation and celebration of women of color in her beloved genre, she created Graveyard Shift Sisters, a community blog/website that highlights Black women horror fans, filmmakers, writers, artists, and the actresses in these macabre cinema staples that often go unsung.