STOP: Steven DeGennaro’s New Short Film Explores the Horrors of Driving While Black
I’ve been a huge fan of Steven DeGennaro since I saw his feature film, Found Footage 3D, at Screamfest in 2016. In his new short film, Stop, the filmmaker leaves the supernatural in the rearview for an exploration of real-life horrors. Give it a spin embedded at the top of the article.
Stop tells the story of a routine traffic stop that takes a sinister turn when two black men encounter a small-town cop on a power trip.
The 12-minute short premiered at Dam Short Film Festival in February, where it was awarded “Best Horror.” After 20 more festival screenings–including SXSW–and four more awards–including “Best Narrative Short: Suspense” at the Baltimore International Black Film Festival–the movie debuted online last week on the prestigious YouTube channel Omeleto.
Stop stars Camron Jones (upcoming Amazon Original Series Panic), Chris Boykin, Jessica Perrin, and Paul Hickert, and was written by DeGennaro and Scott Weinberg, produced by DeGennaro, Weinberg, and Charles Mulford, and executive produced by Jeffrey Reddick, creator of Final Destination.
“I’ve cared about the issues of police violence and systemic racism for a long time,” says DeGennaro, “but always felt powerless to do anything. So I decided that the best way for me to contribute to positive change was to use my art to speak truth to power.”
Executive Producer Jeffrey Reddick adds, “In a time where division and hatred are on the rise, I strongly believe everyone needs to be a part of the conversation, and Steven’s voice is one that needs to be heard.”
DeGennaro insists that despite its lack of ghosts or gore, Stop is definitely a horror film. “All too often, a traffic stop can become a horror story in the blink of an eye for people of color in this country. We wanted to tackle this horror head-on, without the metaphorical buffer typically used by genre films that tackle social issues. But it’s definitely a monster movie; it’s just that instead of fangs and claws, the monster in this story has a badge and a gun.”
The next festival screening of Stop will happen in Austin on November 17th at the AFS Cinema.