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Xavier VanceXavier Vance’s short film, Day One, will be screened at Detroit’s Trinity International Film Festival. The film is the Master’s thesis she successfully defended in January.

Detroit festival to premiere work of film graduate

Her name is Dasia.

She is young, she is Black, and she is in love.

Dasia is the lead character in a short film by UWindsor’s Xavier Vance (MFA 2020). The film, Vance’s Master’s thesis she successfully defended in January, has been selected for screening at Detroit’s Trinity International Film Festival later this month.

“This is a big thing I never thought would ever happen to me,” said Vance from her home across the river where she now works as a media arts specialist. “I’m very grateful for this opportunity.”

The film, titled Day One, opens with a scene of Dasia crying at the sink in her apartment. Her boyfriend, Jeremy, is sitting alone in his car. He is equally distraught.

The young couple has just learned Dasia is pregnant. Jeremy worries for his baby’s future.

“I wanted to talk about how it must feel for a young Black male to be a parent,” said Vance.

“I wanted to show a Black, two-parent family household which isn’t the type of Black family we see portrayed very often… I wanted to show a young couple, their commitment, and their love.”

UWindsor professor Kim Nelson, who was Vance’s thesis supervisor, said the film is timely given the prominence of the Black Lives Matter movement.

“Her story wraps together a moving personal narrative that eloquently addresses media stereotypes about the Black family unit and the fears faced by Black parents for their children,” said Prof. Nelson.

Vance, 25, adapted the script from a short story she wrote years ago. She plays the female lead, and she directed, produced, and edited the 11-minute film.

“Xavier worked so hard on the film and her dedication shows,” Nelson said.

Vance enlisted Aristotle Taylor, a family friend from Detroit, to play the male lead and the crew were fellow students from the School of Creative Arts and the department of Communication, Media and Film.

Vance said she came up with the title as a reflection of “the Black experience.”

Day One means it’s the first day of the rest of their lives, and of the life that’s coming.”

Detroit’s Trinity International Film Festival, in its 14th year, showcases the work of selected independent filmmakers. It runs Aug. 20 to 23 with screenings online this year due to the pandemic. The festival will mark Day One’s premiere.

Tickets are $7 US for showings Aug. 21 at 7:30 p.m., Aug. 22 at 9 p.m. and Aug. 23 at 9:30 and 11 p.m.

—Sarah Sacheli