Portfolio > Films

16mm B&W and Color
5 minutes

Softer examines the demands of "softening" that are requested of Black women's bodies in society---from job prospects to romantic ones---be that in their voice, their manners, and, critically, their hair. The experimental short plays upon the grooming rituals of softening that are terrifyingly rough through a recreation of a permanent wave machine produced perm (popular in the 1930s-1950s). The short mediates on the historical ways in which Black women have tried to answer this demand on softness through respectable appearance and behavior.

Cast: Alexis Francis, Karissa Francis, & James Bennett II

Set Design: David Armacost, Jordan Bernier, Ayanna Dozier, and Elspeth Walker

Music: “Eleven’s Sake” © 2008 by Nicolas Weise, Lars Scherzberg, and John Hughes


Womxn in Windows NYC Times Square Series, curated by Zehra Ahmed, 2022

Ecstatic Static: The History of that Body, curated by This Long Century, 2022

BlackStar Film Festival, 2021

Onion City Experimental Film Festival, 2021

Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival, 2021

Open Air Screening Series, by MONO NO AWARE, 2020

Open City Documentary, 2020

Best Experimental at Aesthetica Film Festival, 2020

Femme Film Festival, 2020