“It’s important not to have outsiders speak for someone else”: Alexis Neophytides on Fire Through Dry Grass at London Film Festival 2023
New York filmmaker Alexis Neophytides centres her new feature Fire Through Dry Grass around a facility that houses a group of disabled black and brown artists off a tiny Island in NYC. Wearing Nike Air Jordans and snapback caps, these creative residents filmed their living conditions on Go-Pros strapped to their wheelchairs, bringing to light their fight through the COVID-19 pandemic, and their experiences of neglect and suffering within the walls of their institution.
The subjects, known as The Reality Poets, allow their rhyming narrative to sweep over harrowing footage of COVID-19-positive patients moved into healthy residents’ rooms, nurses struggling to piece together suitable PPE gear and death infiltrating the building. It’s a stark documentary that gives these neglected individuals a voice and a chance to speak out and help other nursing home residents, with Neophytides working closely with them and even co-directing with one of them, Andres “Jay” Molina, too.
The Upcoming had the pleasure of speaking to Neophytides about her film, what it meant to work alongside the residents and how they use their art for activism. She also spoke about her own style of filmmaking and the common threads in her work.
Fire Through Dry Grass does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews and interviews from our London Film Festival 2023 coverage here.
For further information about the festival visit the official BFI website here.
Watch the trailer for Fire Through Dry Grass here: