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‘See you yesterday’ - Guyanese director, brilliant

Cast, crew and film presenters, pose after the only Brooklyn screening of “See You Yesterday” at BAM Rose Cinema. From left, John Curtis, Lauren L. Owen, Ron Bobb-Semple, Director, Stefon Bristol, Dante Crichlow, Marsha Stephanie Blake,Vara de Rey, and Romola Lucas.
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There was loud applause, from the packed Rose Cinema in Brooklyn Academy of Music, (BAM), as the credits roll. A clear sign, that no one left the theatre during the only screening of the movie “See You Yesterday,” a thought-provoking, Si-Fi, action adventure, that traces two science geniuses, who set out to work their chemistry magic to reverse a tragedy.

This movie, will make you cry, laugh, and scratch your head. It is brilliant! It was reviewed as Imaginative, exciting, and suspenseful.

At the center of the movie, is a mother who grieves the loss of a son, due to police brutality, but is unaware of her daughter’s passion to bring back her brother using her science and time travel magic. In actuality, the movie brings into focus the black lives matter narrative. The intellectual direction, throws audience into a head-spin, as the characters go back and forth, recreating scenarios to save lives.

The June 4 screening, presented by the Caribbean Film Series and co-presented by the Caribbean Film Forum, Romola Lucas, John Curtis, and Alysia S. Christiani, is streaming on movie Channel, Netflix.

The award-winning flick, since its recent début, continues to receive rave reviews for its mind-blowing, gripping elements, skillfully told by co-writer and director, Stefon Bristol.

Bristol, a recent NYU Film School graduate, refused to rate his work, giving actors the glory instead for the movie’s success, during a Q&A with cast and crew, after the Brooklyn screening.

Bristol said the process started as a short film for his NYU film school thesis. He chose this genre to go back to his roots, Si-fi action adventure.

He wanted to shoot a full-length feature, but his professors encouraged him to focus more on writing. He went on to complete the short film with the help of his Guyana-born mother, who refinanced her house to pay for the project.

The short film was a total success. It racked up rave reviews from film festivals around the world and won many competitions before it landed on HBO.

This is when Spike Lee approached Bristol to produce the full-length feature, and pitched the idea to movie moguls, because of its Hollywood-studio caliber. It was ultimately picked up by Netflix, becoming a box-office hit.

Bristol said he wanted to shoot the film entirely in Brooklyn because of his Guyanese heritage. He grew up in Coney Island and remembers his mother taking him to popular stores in the neighborhood, and recalls eating roti and curry, and black pudding, at Sybil’s Restaurant on Church and Flatbush Avenues in Brooklyn. These are cherished parts of his heritage he wanted to showcase on-screen, portraying not only the Afro-American urban life, but Afro-Caribbean, elements not normally seen in movies.

Noted Guyana-born actor, Ron Bobb-Semple, who played the role of Sebastian’s grandfather, is celebrating fifty-years as an actor, since breakout roles at Theatre Guild Playhouse in Guyana.

He said, he was thrilled, to work with Bristol, a talented brother, and lauded the cast and crew as a phenomenal collective. Adding, he was proud to see the Golden Arrowhead Guyana flag, featured prominently in the film.

The all-Caribbean heritage cast, includes: Dante Crichlow, a young actor of Haitian and Barbados heritage, born in East Flatbush. He showed natural acting talent as a high school science prodigy, Sebastian J. Thomas, friend to C.J. played by Eden Duncan-Smith in the lead role.

Crichlow saw parts of himself in his character and hopes people who watch the film, see parts of themself as well.

“As Caribbean people growing up in Brooklyn we do not see this representation at all, so I was fortunate to be a part of this movie,” said Crichlow.

Jamaican-born, Marsha Stephanie Blake, an actress who attended Brooklyn Tech, spent most of her life growing up in Brooklyn. She describes the script as brilliant and felt the current topic was important, and applauded the roles the young actors portrayed as science nerds.

“I am so proud, this movie was made,” she said.

Associate-produced, Lauren L. Owen of Boston and cinematographer, Felipe Vara de Rey of Spain, both thanked Bristol for the opportunity to work on “See You Yesterday,” lauding him for bringing the Caribbean-American culture to the big screen.

Owens said she enjoyed working in Brooklyn and being welcomed by the community, during the summer, taking in the vibes of the Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood and eating local fare between scenes.

She thanked Bristol for harnessing the talents of the young actors, in a time travel flick that is not ever seen on the movie screen.

Vara de Rey, who also worked on the short version of “See You Yesterday,” thanked Bristol for the opportunity to bring his voice, as a white ‘guy’ from the Mediterranean, to the conversation to tell an important story.

Updated 5:07 pm, June 12, 2019
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