Directed by Aristotle Torres from a script co-written with Bonsu Thompson, Story Ave had the World Premiere at the SXSW Film & Television Festival this past March. Story Ave received the SXSW 2023 Special Jury Award for Cinematography by Eric Branco (Clemency). The film stars Asante Blackk (“When They See Us”), Luis Guzmán (“Wednesday,” Boogie Nights, Traffic), Alex Hibbert (Moonlight), Melvin Gregg (The Blackening), Coral Peña (“For All Mankind”), Cassandra Freeman and Hassan Johnson, among others.
Torres and Thompson made a short together in 2018, which is the basis for this feature. Some of the film’s best scenes that drew me into this coming-of-age story in the Bronx are when Kadir and Luis initially meet and get to know each other, subsequently earning each other’s trust. Black is also excellent in the dramatic role, maintaining his defense mechanisms in place from the experiences he has gone through. Guzmán is a very experienced actor, and the two provide such depth to the story of trying to help the young man from taking the wrong path. Luis has a good heart but has issues with alcohol, leading to chronic medical conditions. They each have non-medical needs that each can relate to, even if they don’t talk about it as much initially.
Synopsis: South Bronx teen Kadir (Asante Blackk) is a gifted visual artist who loses his way following the death of his younger brother. Overcome with grief and struggling with the pressures of school and family, he escapes into the thrilling yet dangerous world of graffiti gangs. To prove himself and join his neighborhood’s ruling gang, Kadir tries to rob no-nonsense MTA conductor Luis (Luis Guzmán) but is caught off guard when Luis agrees to give Kadir cash if he sits down to have a meal with him. Following their conversation and the delicate, transformative friendship that grows out of it, Kadir sees for the first time how his artistic talent could lead to a better life.
Producers: Lizzie Shapiro, Datari Turner, Jamie Foxx, Aristotle Torres
Kino Lorber will release Story Ave in select theaters on September 29, 2023
Language: English, Spanish; Running Time: 94 minutes
Source: Kino Lorber