Filmmaker Eric Branco, best known for his work as a cinematographer on films like Clemency and The 40-Year-Old Version, has signed on to make his feature directorial debut with the drama Silent Partner for Black Man Films
Based on a short film of the same name, Silent Partner is written by actor and Black Man Films co-founder Roderick Lawrence, James J. Johnson, and Branco. The pic follows a Black attorney in New York who is thrust into a stand-your-ground case by a senior partner. He is asked to defend a white woman who has murdered a Black teen. The story focuses on the attorney’s moral struggle, his relationship with his wife, and the black professional experience of microaggressions in the workplace and systemic racism in the justice system. The film began production last week in New York City. Cast features Roderick Lawrence, Susan Heyward, Eric Nelsen, and Jeff Perry.
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Rounding out the cast are Stephen Hill (Magnum P.I.), Haskiri Velazquez (Saved by the Bell), Welker White (The Irishman), Karen Aldridge (Fargo), Isabella Pisacane (This is the Night) and Shoshana Bean (Wicked). Casting is by Bess Fifer and Aaron Schoonover of Fifer and Associates.
Director Branco’s previous film and television credits as director of photography include Let the Right One In, Bupkis, Clemency, and The 40-Year-Old-Version. His work on Kino Lorber’s Story Ave recently nabbed him an ASC Spotlight Award nomination and the Special Jury Award for Cinematography at the 2023 SXSW Film Festival.
The original Silent Partner short film, created by and starring Lawrence and lensed by Branco, screened at 21 festivals. It was additionally a finalist in the HBO Max Latino Short Film Competition before qualifying for the Oscars.
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