Neighbor Joe Talbot is a filmmaker who has lived on Montcalm for his whole life. At the 2014 Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema festival, Neighbor Joe walked away with the “Best of Bernal” award for the trailer he directed for an in-progress film, “The Last Black Man in San Francisco.”
Neighbor Joe shared the award-winning trailer with us, and we’ll share it with you in a moment. But first, let’s let Joe introduce himself:
I grew up running around Bernal with a ragtag production team made up of local kids. I was usually at the helm, doing my best impersonation of what I thought a despotic director looked like. I’m just old enough that our early years pre-dated computer editing software, so we cut our chops doing in-camera edits and wreaking havoc on our side of the hill.
Bernal neighbors were an integral part of our informal film education, whether they knew it or not. Our mischievous and often wild antics were almost always met with nothing but kind support. Neighbor Buck Bagot turned on to his street once to find us running full-speed down the middle of it, pushing a rickety old wheelchair as a dolly. We noticed his approaching car and offered to move out of the way, to which Buck yelled, “No way man! I don’t fuck with the arts!” He abruptly busted a u-turn and drove the long way around the block, as not to disrupt our set.
Most of the kids I knew have since shipped off to college. Some of the unlucky ones lost their homes during various financial crises, and drifted inland to suburbia. My parents were fortunate enough to keep our house, and unfortunate enough to keep me along with it.
My last remaining collaborator today is Jimmie Fails, a kid I first crossed paths with almost ten years ago. Jimmie was living in the Army St. projects at the time, and we quickly formed a closeness. Over midnight walks through Bernal’s roller-coaster hills, Jimmie would weave tales of his strange family story.
These talks would become the basis for our film to-be, The Last Black Man in San Francisco. The film, which we’re currently trying to raise money to shoot, pulls heavily from Jimmie’s own story, and examines what it’s like to feel out of place in your own hometown.
The video is a trailer we shot, on a dime, to help raise funds to shoot the feature-length film. You’ll notice that Bernal plays a major role in the trailer. How could it not?
Indeed. How could it not? Here’s a still from the trailer:
It’s a nice image, and we all recognize the location. Nice location! But the trailer for Neighbor Joe’s film is even better. In fact, Joe’s film is amazing. In fact, it’s officially the “Best of Bernal.”
Big congrats to Neighbor Joe Talbot, Jimmie Fails, and their entire team!
PS: Joe can be reached at joe *AT* longshotfeatures.com.