Writer-director Kyle Laursen explores the dark side of Hollywood in Josiah, where the City of Angels is not so kind to people of colour. Hollywood is an empire preaching diversity but is covertly influenced by racial influences. Josiah explains the environment through a tense and uncomfortable acting audition where minutes better resemble hours; trapping some viewers in a newfound encounter and others in an all too familiar experience.
As a graduate from the esteemed UC Boulder and the UCLA School of Theatre Film and Television, Kyle Laursen received several certifications in film studies, production, and directing. During his time in school, Laursen wrote and directed numerous short films where he was awarded the Hollywood Foreign Press Award and the Stanley Kramer Directing Award qualifying him to execute any topic expertly.
By implementing common microaggressions some subtle and others overt; Laursen notes an abundance of issues occurring in the secrecy of casting rooms. From Brandon’s audition for the role of a slave to the scriptwriters growing frustrations expressed through a defensive spiel. Josiah revealed a disturbingly common practice considered normal and almost welcomed in present-day Hollywood; a lack of diversity in front of the camera lens as well as behind and Hollywoods reliance to only include the black community in roles regarding slavery or segregation.
Josiah discusses one of many situations where African Americans are placed in a powerless position and the loneliness associated with the sole minority. Due to the limited opportunities available for leading roles as a black individual in Hollywood; a visibly affected Brandon accepts the part while maintaining a calm composure. Similar to many others in his position, he was forced to distance himself from showing signs of aggression or frustration to avoid succumbing to stereotypes and placed his pride aside to achieve his dream career.
Josiah acts as a form of protest to end closeminded methods in the entertainment industry; assuming the form of a medium for nonblack audiences to observe and understand discrimination first hand; reinstating that power and a polite demeanour shouldn’t excuse subtle hints of racism.
An outstanding film shot in one take. This gem of a film should go all the way to the Oscars and if they gave a best actor Academy Award for shorts, Luke Forbes should certainly receive one for his outstanding performance as Josiah.
Arts Muse Magazine