DEATH
A film by Nadia Hallgren. Co-directed by Jamie-James Medina.
Role:
Agency:
Client:
LA Opera

In 2020, due the pandemic, the Los Angeles Opera were forced to cancel their entire 2020/21 season and, instead, commissioned composers and filmmakers to collaborate on a series of short-films. Death is one of those films - a collaboration with Nadia Hallgren, the director of Becoming, the Emmy nominated Michelle Obama documentary on Netflix, and Tyshawn Sorey, the composer and MacArthur "Genius Grant” Fellow - and brings to life a poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar, America's preeminent Black poet during the early 20th century.

Dunbar was born in Dayton, Ohio, on June 27, 1872, the son of two former slaves. His short and miraculous life ended at age 33, after a painful battle with tuberculosis. In that time, he wrote a dozen books of poetry, four collections of short stories, five novels, and a play, providing both a history and a celebration of Black life at the turn of the century. But it was “dialect” poems - employing the form and cadence of Black speech - that made him famous and when placed alongside his works of "literary” English, exposed the duality of the Black experience. Decades later, his work would inspire a new generation of Black writers, most notably Maya Angelou, who borrowed a line from Dunbar’s poem, Sympathy, for the title of her autobiography, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.

Our film evokes death - the end of life, through Dunbar's poem of the same name. Published in 1903, the original text details its speaker’s seeming dread of each new day. Even as night feels like a daunting wilderness of “tangled deeps,” the speaker is haunted again by each new daybreak - a heart-wrenching realization. Matched with and inspired by Sorey's beautiful and transcendent score, a setting for piano and mezzo-soprano, the film works to capture the poem’s spirit and propel it further: sorrow, in the ascendant.

As Dunbar lay dying in his study on Feb. 9, 1906, he read 23rd Psalm aloud to his mother. His final words were “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.”

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DEATH
A film by Nadia Hallgren. Co-directed by Jamie-James Medina.
Role:
Agency:
Client:
LA Opera

In 2020, due the pandemic, the Los Angeles Opera were forced to cancel their entire 2020/21 season and, instead, commissioned composers and filmmakers to collaborate on a series of short-films. Death is one of those films - a collaboration with Nadia Hallgren, the director of Becoming, the Emmy nominated Michelle Obama documentary on Netflix, and Tyshawn Sorey, the composer and MacArthur "Genius Grant” Fellow - and brings to life a poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar, America's preeminent Black poet during the early 20th century.

Dunbar was born in Dayton, Ohio, on June 27, 1872, the son of two former slaves. His short and miraculous life ended at age 33, after a painful battle with tuberculosis. In that time, he wrote a dozen books of poetry, four collections of short stories, five novels, and a play, providing both a history and a celebration of Black life at the turn of the century. But it was “dialect” poems - employing the form and cadence of Black speech - that made him famous and when placed alongside his works of "literary” English, exposed the duality of the Black experience. Decades later, his work would inspire a new generation of Black writers, most notably Maya Angelou, who borrowed a line from Dunbar’s poem, Sympathy, for the title of her autobiography, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.

Our film evokes death - the end of life, through Dunbar's poem of the same name. Published in 1903, the original text details its speaker’s seeming dread of each new day. Even as night feels like a daunting wilderness of “tangled deeps,” the speaker is haunted again by each new daybreak - a heart-wrenching realization. Matched with and inspired by Sorey's beautiful and transcendent score, a setting for piano and mezzo-soprano, the film works to capture the poem’s spirit and propel it further: sorrow, in the ascendant.

As Dunbar lay dying in his study on Feb. 9, 1906, he read 23rd Psalm aloud to his mother. His final words were “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.”

Buy in Store
DEATH
A film by Nadia Hallgren. Co-directed by Jamie-James Medina.
Role:
Agency:
Client:
LA Opera

In 2020, due the pandemic, the Los Angeles Opera were forced to cancel their entire 2020/21 season and, instead, commissioned composers and filmmakers to collaborate on a series of short-films. Death is one of those films - a collaboration with Nadia Hallgren, the director of Becoming, the Emmy nominated Michelle Obama documentary on Netflix, and Tyshawn Sorey, the composer and MacArthur "Genius Grant” Fellow - and brings to life a poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar, America's preeminent Black poet during the early 20th century.

Dunbar was born in Dayton, Ohio, on June 27, 1872, the son of two former slaves. His short and miraculous life ended at age 33, after a painful battle with tuberculosis. In that time, he wrote a dozen books of poetry, four collections of short stories, five novels, and a play, providing both a history and a celebration of Black life at the turn of the century. But it was “dialect” poems - employing the form and cadence of Black speech - that made him famous and when placed alongside his works of "literary” English, exposed the duality of the Black experience. Decades later, his work would inspire a new generation of Black writers, most notably Maya Angelou, who borrowed a line from Dunbar’s poem, Sympathy, for the title of her autobiography, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.

Our film evokes death - the end of life, through Dunbar's poem of the same name. Published in 1903, the original text details its speaker’s seeming dread of each new day. Even as night feels like a daunting wilderness of “tangled deeps,” the speaker is haunted again by each new daybreak - a heart-wrenching realization. Matched with and inspired by Sorey's beautiful and transcendent score, a setting for piano and mezzo-soprano, the film works to capture the poem’s spirit and propel it further: sorrow, in the ascendant.

As Dunbar lay dying in his study on Feb. 9, 1906, he read 23rd Psalm aloud to his mother. His final words were “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.”

Buy in Store