By now you’ve probably heard some of the hype behind the independent short turned feature film “Pariah.”(You might have even heard about it here.) Well, I, along with another Madame Noire editor, had a chance to see an advanced screening of this movie back in September. Even though we saw the film months ago, it’s a story that sticks with you. Shortly after the screening we had the opportunity to tape into one of the masterminds behind the film, director Dee Rees.
After seeing a group of what Rees describes as “out and proud” teenagers in Brooklyn, she started thinking about her own story and how she lacked confidence and self awareness when she first came out as a lesbian. This thought eventually turned into the subject for Rees’ senior thesis for NYU’s film school.
“Pariah” is a coming of age story for a black, lesbian teenager growing up in Brooklyn, New York. The lead character Alike, played by actress Adepero Oduye, deals with expressing her sexual identity, fighting to maintain a relationship with her mother Audrey, played by Kim Wayans, and finding herself as a woman.
Rees who has stated that the movie is largely autobiographical spoke with Madame Noire about what inspired the film, her own story and what she wants audiences to learn.