Archives / 2014 Sundance Film Festival

Dear White People

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Director: Justin Simien

Screenwriters: Justin Simien

Institute History

  • 2014 Sundance Film Festival

Description

U. S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Talent



At prestigious Winchester University, biracial student Samantha White begins her radio show, “Dear White People, the amount of black friends required not to seem racist has just been raised to two. Sorry, your weed man, Tyrone, doesn't count."

Sam becomes president of the all-black residential hall Parker/Armstrong, whose existence is facing extinction in the name of diversification. TV reality show Black Face/White Place smells gold in Sam’s story and decides to follow it, rejecting the proposal of fellow black student Coco Conners, who pitched her show Doing Time at an Ivy League. The clamor over Sam's rise also becomes a career-defining opportunity for black misfit Lionel Higgins when he is asked to join the school’s lily-white newspaper staff to cover the controversy, even though he secretly knows little about black culture.

With tongue planted firmly in cheek, writer/director Justin Simien makes an auspicious debut with Dear White People, a witty and whip-smart satire about black militancy, postracial fantasies, and the commodification of blackness. Nothing is black and white in this playful portrait of race in contemporary America.

— S.F.

Screening Details

Sundance Film Festival Awards

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