We Travel

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What if you came across a collection of notes from family members past—notes on how your family came to be; notes on some of the cultural traditions that they built over the years; notes that seem somehow dated, out of time, and to the future?

That is the idea that motivates “We Travel”.

In this afro-futurist treatment of the southern tradition of hog slaughtering, writer and Mississippi native Brian Foster and Atlanta filmmaker Ethan Payne tell a story of family and land, of racial violence and black life in the rural South.

The film is structured around four notes. Each note seems to be responding to a guiding, existential question. How did we get here? What about our bodies? When was the last time? How do you know what you know? The first three notes suggest that the temporality of the notes are, generally, from some time in the past and to some time in the future. The fourth note, written in the voice of Foster himself, suggests something else—that these are, in fact, notes from the past and present, directed to some unspecified person in the unspecified future. That distinction makes the point of the essay: black southerners are not struggling to imagine possible futures. They are them; and they became so through practice and work, and despite the ever-present possibility of violence, death, and erasure.

Directed by Ethan Payne and Brian Foster (USA)

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