RiverRun: “Dayveon”

by Russell Lawrence

Today I had the pleasure of watching a wonderful film, Dayveon. The film first premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and got great reviews. Now it is showing here at Winston-Salem downtown as a part of the RiverRun International Film Festival. I strongly urge all of you to go see it, especially if you were a fan of Moonlight this year.


source: http://riverrunfilm.com/#Tue-4-4

Dayveon is the fictional story of a 13 year old boy who gets enlisted to join the Bloods after his brother, a gang member before him, is shot dead. The film doesn’t focus on gang violence however, and instead takes its time developing the relationships between Dayveon and the friends he makes during the initiation process.

The result is a beautiful introspective piece on why people join gangs, the separation people feel from the system, and a view at the culture that suppresses them.

The director was also present in a talk after the film, and talked about what went into the script writing process. He also talked about the very interesting visuals. “I like to think of films as a portrait, and when there’s no dialogue a film becomes a painting. These moments really help you understand the characters and their story more. When there’s no talking, that’s when stories really shine.”


still from Dayveon, 2017.

Director Amman Abbasi, a Pakistani-American filmmaker from Little Rock Arkansas, got the idea for Dayveon while working on a documentary that was exploring gangs in Chicago and talking to kids who felt pressured to join those gangs. One thing that was particularly interesting was how he discussed casting for the film: they cast locals from Little Rock to play the gang members, and tried not to use actors as much as possible. The resulting feeling is one similar to Italian neo-realism and French New Wave, it doesn’t feel like a film and instead feels very real.

Here is the film on RiverRun’s website so that you can buy tickets for their next showing!

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to RiverRun: “Dayveon”

  1. mediaphiles says:

    I like that you did a review on a film showed at RiverRun! It’s important to recognize these films. I like the themes and real-life issues this film touches upon, including the reasons behind why those join gangs, which many people do not care to examine.

    -Meg Schmit

  2. mediaphiles says:

    I am really interest in films that take a long studied idea, such a gang violence, and focus on the actual humans behind the story. This is what I loved about Transamerica: it focused on the poeple rather than their outward identity.

  3. mediaphiles says:

    This film sounds extremely interesting. It sounds like the use of non actors really helped capture the idea of focusing on the humans behind the gangs rather than the gangs themselves. Definitely sounds like something I want to check out.

    -Walker Rise

  4. mediaphiles says:

    Dayveon is amazing, and the conversation with the director afterward was really cool to experience, and he was a really nice guy. Dayveon’s cinematography is incredible and the lighting alone was a great accomplishment. It was subtle, unique, and I am so glad I got the chance to see this film.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s