AFI Movie Club: BLINDSPOTTING – American Film Institute

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AFI Movie Club: BLINDSPOTTING

Directed by Carlos López Estrada and co-written by Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal, BLINDSPOTTING is a powerful story that brings to light issues of gentrification, racism, cultural appropriation and police brutality, while also evoking the humanity that is too often overlooked when injustice makes its way into the headlines. The film’s loving depiction of Oakland, CA was impeccably realized by production designer – and AFI Conservatory alum – Thomas S. Hammock. 

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BLINDSPOTTING – Reelgood

Watch BLINDSPOTTING Production Designer & AFI Alum Tom Hammock’s filmmaking advice:

Movie Trivia About BLINDSPOTTING

DID YOU KNOW? Daveed Diggs had a number of film and TV credits before BLINDSPOTTING was released in 2018 – as well as a star-making turn as Thomas Jefferson and Marquis de Lafayette in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s cultural juggernaut, “Hamilton.”

DID YOU KNOW? BLINDSPOTTING marked star, producer and co-writer Rafael Casal’s feature film debut. 

DID YOU KNOW? Producer Jess Calder discovered co-star Rafael Casal’s poetry on YouTube and approached him to ask if he thought the language might translate to film. Though Casal has said that he’d never considered adapting his work to a traditional screenplay, he collaborated with lifelong friend Daveed Diggs to tell a story about their hometown – Oakland, CA – from their perspective. 

DID YOU KNOW? 

In 2010, co-stars Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal produced an album together titled THE BADBOY MIXTAPE, and at the same time co-founded – with poet Chinaka Hodge – a hip-hop collective called The Getback. 

DID YOU KNOW? Co-stars Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal cofounded the #BARS Workshop with the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. At their incubator for rappers, actors, poets, playwright and other performers, the duo had previously collaborated on projects with BLINDSPOTTING director Carlos López Estrada. 

DID YOU KNOW? Co-writers Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal wanted their film to capture the ever-evolving nature of the Oakland neighborhoods where they grew up– including the humor and humanity that they knew so well, as well as the institutional injustices that were impossible to ignore. BLINDSPOTTING was also inspired in part by the 2009 murder of Oscar Grant at Fruitvale Station in Oakland. 

DID YOU KNOW? According to director Carlos López Estrada, BLINDSPOTTING’s pivotal parking lot confrontation was rehearsed with the intent of shooting continuously, to capture the moment in a single take. 

The movie doesn’t end at the credits: Family-friendly Discussion Questions

Join the conversation on Twitter and Instagram now using #AFIMovieClub. Or post your responses in the comment section below.

-What does the title of BLINDSPOTTING mean? 

-Despite growing up as best friends together in the same Oakland neighborhood, how are Collin and Miles different? How do they perceive the world differently – and why? 

-How does BLINDSPOTTING reflect the world of today? Does the film give you a new or different perspective on stories that currently dominate the headlines? How so – or why not? 

-Why was Collin incarcerated for a crime, while Miles was not? 

-How familiar are you with areas like Miles and Collin’s hometown of Oakland? How did BLINDSPOTTING capture and illustrate its sense of culture and community? 

-How does BLINDSPOTTING address the notion of gentrification in areas like Oakland? Does the film offer a solution for those priced out of their own homes? 

-Why did Miles choose to rap when confronting Officer Molina? Was it an effective cinematic choice? How does rap – and music, in general – communicate what can sometimes be hard to articulate in dialogue alone? 

-How would you rate BLINDSPOTTING? 

New to AFI Movie Club? Want to learn more?

AFI has created a global, virtual gathering of those who love the movies. Each day’s film is accompanied by fun facts, family-friendly discussion points and material from the AFI Archive to enrich your viewing experience.

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