Shorts & Snacks: The Black Belt (2016)

One more day. We just need to get through tomorrow. Then figure out the rest and how to move forward from there.

In honor of Election week, I’m highlighting one of my favorite shorts from the 2016 festival circuit: The Black Belt directed by Margaret Brown. In this short film, Brown travels to Alabama (her homeland) where the state closed 31 DMVs across the area for budget reasons. Many of these DMV closures were through the Black Belt, a predominantly African-American and poor region, impacting voter enfranchisement as the state requires photo ID to vote.

This short was commissioned through Field of Vision, a cool project of original short-form content from Laura Poitras, AJ Schnack and Charlotte Cook. I highly recommend checking out their site to watch other great shorts if you have some time to spare.

Brown is an incredibly smart filmmaker – one to keep your eye on for the future. The Black Belt sneaks up on you. It showcases keen insight of a social issue, created with great care and fortitude. Brown sets the mood, capturing beautiful and rare moments of rural Alabama life. The Mobile ID unit scene is proof. That scene has been burned in my brain for months. It is an example of humor in frustration; the absurdity of systems that should be efficient. The Black Belt empowers us to continue, to move forward when it’s hard to fight. And in what has been an ugly and fairly absurd election year, The Black Belt reminds us why your vote tomorrow, and in every election, matters.

Grab a snack (I’m in the mood for fried pickles, a yummy Southern treat. See below for a recipe), check out this short and let’s all take a deep breath. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. And please go vote!

The Black Belt
Directed by Margaret Brown
2016 / 11 minutes / USA
Watch The Black Belt here.

theblackbelt
The Black Belt (2016)


Panko Fried Pickles

Recipe from Spoon Fork Bacon

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients:
2 cups ridge cut pickle chips, pressed between paper towels
1 cup all purpose flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups seasoned panko breadcrumbs
salt and pepper to taste
2 quarts vegetable oil for frying

Directions:
1. Preheat oil to 350°F.
2. Place flour, eggs and panko in three separate shallow dishes.
3. Dredge pickle chips in flour, shaking off any excess, followed by the egg and finally in the panko until fully coated. Set coated pickle chips onto a baking sheet lined with parchment and place in the freezer for about 20 minutes.
4. Remove pickle chips from freezer and fry in batches, for about 5 to 6 minutes.
5. Drain onto paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Repeat until all the pickle chips have been fried.

Sunday Mornings

I love autumn. I’m spending a few days in the beautiful Appalachians of North Carolina. Colored leaves. NorthFace layers. Cozy time sitting in a rocking chair by a fireplace. Cathead-sized biscuits. I’m in heaven.

Hope you are enjoying this beautiful autumn Sunday.
Here’s a slice of the internet for coffee time.

    • Margaret Brown (whose short The Black Belt I’ll be posting about next week) released a new short with the New York Times and it’s fantastic. Glenn Beck humanized. Well done, Margaret. Watch “Never Trump. But Then What?”
    • The man behind Twitter’s @ArthouseTrump reveals himself.
      This sounds familiar: “I noticed early on in high school that there is definitely a very ugly and petty part of the film community, especially online. It seemed like a lot of people use their knowledge of movies as a starting point to belittle others and brag about how much smarter they are than everyone else. It became a kind of boring contest to see who had seen the most obscure films, who could word the most persuasive argument, who could nitpick every word of someone with a different opinion who might not be as articulate.”
    • I’ve always loved Pete Souza’s behind-the-scene photos of the Obama administration on Instagram. With less than 100 days in office for the Obamas, Souza has been posting some of his favorite throwback photos.
    • I have a soft spot for ceramic mugs. Love the texture and shape of this one.
    • I would not be surprised if Chris Kelly’s past year on the festival circuit influenced the creation of this piece on SNL, but this skit nails it. Been there, both as moderator AND audience member. So good.
    • A beautiful tea towel with an important message.