This short film will screen with other short films in Block 3 | Celebrating Black Voices
Friday, December 9th at 4pm
Palm Springs Art Museum. Palm Springs, California.
Buy Tickets Here 

Logline: A young boy wrestles with his imagination as he attempts to reconnect with his estranged father and his new family.

A half-day of middle school is meant to be a day where kids have a few hours of innocent freedom in the moments before their parents get home, but this occasion is met with a different type of anticipation.

Set in the early 2000s, Dom hasn’t seen his father since his parents’ divorce six years ago. Yet, his Dad remarried, recently moved back to town, and has arranged for his son to start spending the weekends with him – but Dom’s first reintroduction is actually with his stepbrother, Kyle, after they get out of school.

On their way home together, Kyle and Dom discover their shared admiration for collectible cards, sports, and video games – despite coming from different worlds. However, their bond in boyhood slowly becomes overshadowed by Dom’s resentment
towards the prospect of his new family, namely because he’s learning about his Dad through Kyle, an experience that he has missed out on.

Director Biography – Morgan Mathews

Morgan Mathews is a writer-director born in Atlanta, GA and based in Oakland, CA. His current works span narrative and non-fiction filmmaking. Not constrained by genre or tone, Morgan’s artistic approach aims to find a range of authenticity and interiority through Black life, with the intent of investigating a sense of agency for his characters as they voyage through the worlds around them.

While working at a tech company in 2019, Morgan co-wrote and directed a half-hour dramedy series concept “Bit.” – which is currently in a packaging agreement and was nominated for “Best Short Runner-Up” at the 2020 BronzeLens Film Festival. In 2020, Morgan was the first grant recipient of the Season’s NY Creative Artist Fund and was accepted as an artist-in-residence at SFFILM’s FilmHouse residency for his hybrid documentary about the subculture of durags and an exploration of self-care practices for Black men entitled “Black Butterflies.”

Director Statement

Half-Day has been an obsession with a residue that surrounds my memory of growing up with divorced parents and eventually blended families of “step – (enter family member here)”. My parents split from each other when I was three years old. Even though I was always surrounded by love, the concept of wholeness was a fragmented reality as I navigated through my adolescent years – visiting friends who lived with both their mother and father, watching families eat dinner together on TV, and constantly wondering, “Why didn’t I ever get a chance to see my mom and dad share a kiss?”

Some of these feelings arise faintly even as an adult. How I process these foggy emotions, that I know many others like myself still experience, is what led me to Half-Day. Dom and Kyle aren’t a mirrored reflection of my life, but I am intimately familiar with the exploration of their identities within the context of having a family. How do young kids and teenagers process the nuances of oscillating between multiple families that have unshared histories and an unshared love? How do young people engage with each other on an emotional level when words just aren’t enough?

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