December 15, 2017 – For Ahkeem, Co-directors Landon Van Soest (Jeremy S. Levine)

“People been labeling me a bad kid all my life. You don’t have to really do nothing, people just expect it. So you start to expect it of yourself.” – Daje Shelton

Beginning one year before the fatal police shooting of a Black teenager in nearby Ferguson, Missouri, For Ahkeem is the coming-of-age story of Daje (Boonie) Shelton, a Black 17-year-old girl in North St. Louis. She fights for her future as she is placed in an alternative high school and navigates the marginalized neighborhoods, biased criminal justice policies and economic devastation that have set up many Black youth like her to fail.  After she is expelled from her public high school, a juvenile court judge sends Daje to the court-supervised Innovative Concept Academy, which offers her one last chance to earn a diploma. Over two years we watch as Daje struggles to maintain focus in school, attends the funerals of friends killed around her, falls in love with a classmate named Antonio, and navigates a loving-but-tumultuous relationship with her mother. As Antonio is drawn into the criminal justice system and events in Ferguson just four miles from her home seize the national spotlight, Daje learns she is pregnant and must contend with the reality of raising a young Black boy.  Through Daje’s intimate story, For Ahkeem illuminates challenges that many Black teenagers face in America today, and witnesses the strength, resilience, and determination it takes to survive. Co-director Landon Van Soest joins us to talk about his collaboration with co-direct Jeremy S. Levine and their incredibly intimate, troubling and surprisingly hopeful tale.

For news and updates go to: forahkeemfilm.com

 

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“A special achievement…As close as documentaries come to putting us inside the mind of someone who society easily overlooks.” – RogerEbert.com

“Masterful…shows us the undeniable power of cinema.” – Huffington Post

“One of the most powerful documentaries ever crafted about the current nature of race relations in America.” – Toronto Film Scene

“A bracing story of grit in a world of social injustice.”  – Los Angeles Times

“For Ahkeem is THE millennial documentary on Black girlhood.” – Jet

“Hands-down one of the best documentaries of 2017…essential viewing.” – Under The Radar Mag

“Compelling…a vivid example of the incontrovertible fact that Black lives matter.” – IndieWire

“Incredibly moving.” – Paste Magazine

“A remarkable experience.” – The Knockturnal

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