Five Star (Keith Miller | 83 min.)
Deep in Fort Greene, Brooklyn’s Walt Whitman Houses, John, a gawky teenager, attempts to navigate life after his absent father is struck and killed by a stray bullet. Brought under the wing of his father’s confidant Primo, a five star general of the Bloods, John quickly learns the code of the street and what it means to be a man. As Primo grooms John for gang life, both men strive to figure out how to do what’s best for them and the people they love.
In Five Star, director Keith Miller (winner of a Rooftop Filmmaker’s Fund grant) follows up his 2012 debut feature Welcome to Pine Hill with a similar dedication to the minute details of lives not frequently immortalized on film. The Projects and the people that populate them are brought to vivid life on hot sticky summer days that never seem to end. Gang life is inextricable from these streets; it’s built into the landscape. Observing the lives of these two men with a quiet yet pointed distance, Miller carefully eschews worn clichés through his unflinching focus. Many of the characters –including James “Primo” Grant – are based off their real selves, and Miller makes exceptional use of his non-professional cast to create a powerful work that hinges on the accumulation of small, telling moments. Distinctions between fiction and real life remain intentionally ambiguous, allowing the story to resonate beyond the streets, as the characters face the question of what it means to be a man.
- Daniel Spada
Keith Miller is a filmmaker, painter, curator, and professor. A member of the Brooklyn Filmmakers Collective, he made his first short film in 2004. His first feature-length film, Welcome to Pine Hill, premiered in 2012 at the Slamdance Film Festival, where it won the Grand Jury Prize, winning a total of five Jury prizes. Five Star is his second feature film.