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A struggling painter facing a major creative block must decide whether or not he will exploit his brother's suicidal episode in a desperate attempt to save his career.

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The world surrounding Elijah and Malcolm is brutal, high-class, bright, and pristine. The gallery is bright white and painted by shadows in the space.

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The cabin is only a few hours north of NYC in Catskill, New York. It’s a bit run-down, but still a nice studio/house combination. Malcolm isn't broke, but he's far from dirty rich. The interior decor is masculine and clean, with an artist's flair. Glass windows surround the house, the camera plays with reflection, windows, and frame-within-frame, with this architectural feature. 

Malcolm’s at-home studio embodies chaos. It’s messy, but calculated, and represents Malcolm’s inner mind. It is the living and breathing heart of the house. A total mess, full of color, full of art, and bursting with emotion. 

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Blood on Canvas’ explores, on multiple levels, exploitation and what it means to be an artist. What is success as an artist, and how far will you go for the craft? What does it mean to be a black artist in a “high-art” world dominated by white artists and consumers who control the red rope? What is the obsession white audiences have with the transmutation of black suffering and disposability of black bodies? But, at the heart of ‘Blood on Canvas’ is a story of two brothers who not only desperately want the world to love them but also want to be seen. If only they could recognize that their experiences aren’t that far from each other.


The second I picked up Blood on Canvas, I knew it was the film I wanted to direct next. I knew I wanted to make a visually complex film that borrowed from modern European cinema but stayed true to my fascination and love of tableau photography. It became imperative to me that every choice was intentional and that I used this opportunity to challenge myself on a visual level. I also knew that I wanted to tell a story that I felt was fresh and lived within my ethos as a filmmaker coming from the world of social justice work. 


I've always been fascinated with stories about family and what we do for, and to, the ones we love. Moreover, stories that feature complex and imperfect characters. This script held a mirror up to me through Malcolm and opened a doorway to understanding my own frustrating relationship with my brother through Elijah. I've found myself relentless in my need to succeed and this script truly forced me to look inward and ask what I was willing to sacrifice to make that happen. Who was I willing to cast aside in my own blazing path to the top? It became an opportunity to explore my own understandings of myself in a way I never thought possible. Additionally, as a white director who is biracial, I have limited understanding of the black experience. My experiences with racism were always through my father or older siblings who are not white-passing. Thus, I was forced to tackle my own identity while learning to create a space that was focused on listening and education. It was my job to shepherd the incredible talent to tell this story with authenticity, while making an attempt to further understand their experience along the way. It was undoubtedly a privilege to get to direct this film that ultimately changed my life forever.


‘Blood on Canvas’ is about family, love, and legacy, and asks what part of ourselves we must kill to finally ascend to the next level as an artist.

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