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Brooklyn director Poppy Gordon takes on ‘woke’ culture in new short film

A still from Poppy Gordon's new short film "For Your Consideration." (Courtesy of London Flair PR)

A Brooklyn-based director is challenging power structures in media as well as “woke” culture in her new short film.

Poppy Gordon has been in the commercial industry, creating work for brands such as NIKE, WAV, PayPal, Pond’s, TRESemmé, and many more. She founded her own company, Feral, and Gordon is dipping her toes into the world of narrative storytelling with her new short film, “For Your Consideration.”

“For Your Consideration,” which stars Samantha Robinson (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, The Love Witch), Juliette Goglia (The Magicians, The Michael J. Fox Show) & Skyler Maxon (Teen Wolf),  focuses on three young entitled women who are meeting to make an Oscar-winning short film. However, in their brainstorming session, the group creates a narrative from the high perch of their privilege and almost gives a voice to the voiceless. The characters ultimately land on a storyline regarding the struggles at the border in the ICE detention centers, but ultimately miss the mark.

The 15-minute short was co-written by Gordon and Aldo Arias, both of whom have immigrant backgrounds — Gordon grew up outside of the United States and Arias is Latinx, which helped inform their perspective on the subject.

“I think that Aldo naturally ended on that — the issue with immigration and ICE, the detention centers and children in cages — it’s something that happening now and something that he feels personally speaks to him,” said Gordon.

The women in the short film take a somewhat callous approach to their brainstorming session, rejecting ideas about prison reform or other issues that African Americans deal with because “it’s been done before,” ultimately showing that “woke” culture can be seen as a trend. and what they are doing is limiting due to the lack of diversity in their group.

The film isn’t an easy piece. I tend to describe it as a candy-coated trojan horse of sorts, or a time capsule of the motivations and moral dilemmas at play during our current seismic shift of consciousness,” said Gordon. “The film does talk about the nepotism of the film industry and other industries, as well as classism. If we want to diversify, we have to let other voices in, maybe those who have lived the stories.”

According to Gordon, “For Your Consideration” walks a delicate line because it points out problems within the film industry, which caused people close to her to try and convince her to not make the short film out of fear that she could be blacklisted. At the same time, Gordon doesn’t want to discourage people from social activism at all.

“The entire piece walks an extremely fine line — we don’t want to discourage social activism but we’re not going to settle for tokenistic gestures either,” said Gordon. “Part of my point was to look at the system — filmmaking is a form of generating and trafficking empathy, which can be used for good, but there is a big marketing machine and dollar incentive behind it. Not everybody’s motivations come from the purest places.”

Gordon hopes that “For Your Consideration” can open a dialogue between viewers, allowing them to navigate the gray areas and come to their own conclusions.

“It’s really meant to ignite conversation and keep a dialogue going,” said Gordon. “The film is a time capsule of how I was seeing the culture around me at the time. It has a lot of awkward gray zones that inspire people to have to navigate that territory for themselves. Part of what’s exciting is to do those mental somersaults in your head to figure this out.”

“For Your Consideration” will be screened at Odense International Film Festival on Aug. 24 at 10:15 a.m., Aug. 25 at 2 p.m., Aug. 26 at 2 p.m. and Aug. 27 at 6 p.m. It will also be screening at Cinequest Film & Creativity Festival in September. Follow Gordon’s work at poppygordon.com.

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