Following its win in the prestigious HBO short film competition at the 2019 American Black Film Festival, Cap is now available on HBO On Demand. Written and directed by Marshall Tyler, Cap tells the story of a hardworking teenager named Manny Benett, who learns the harsh price of being cool when he dons a coveted status symbol at his L.A. high school. Inspired by true events, the film features Medina Senghore, Tunde Adebimpe, Dusan Brown, Ellie Grace Siler and Aaron Joseph.
Produced by LA-based studio Eastern Blocc, Cap embodies the emerging production studio’s goal to tell stories with a social impact. In the film, a heart-rending sequence of events depicts one of the most profound issues of our time – illustrating the devastating consequences of gun violence through the bleak tones of one family’s tragedy.
Marshall molds a deft narrative intersecting issues such as materialism, violence, financial literacy and the residue of shattered American families. It’s a film that at its core presents a tapestry of issues that are beautifully interwoven into the seams of the story. Yet, it’s Marshall’s ability to frame heavy issues within a loving, sensitive gaze that is getting the film noticed and recognized, especially for its organic, artistic style.
Gorgeously shot in black and white by acclaimed cinematographer Eric Branco (Clemency, 40-Year-Old Version), Cap features real members of the organization Project Cease Fire. This organization is comprised of activists who have lost family and loved ones to gun violence. Imbuing the film with even more emotional heft is the original score composed by Timo Chen and performed by the celebrated Inner-City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (ICYOLA), the largest African American and Latinx youth orchestra in North America. Having the greater LA community involved in the telling of this story was important to the filmmakers, as it served as a way to bring together local musicians and the real people affected through the powerful medium of film.
By telling the story through the point of view of an American teen, Marshall says the film, “is an examination of an out of whack value system that has corrupted our youth. I wanted to show the toll that these collective issues take on our families, and wanted to show the love that is at the center of black family life that we don’t always see onscreen. It’s so important to show our humanity, and illustrate the destruction that gun violence leaves behind. How it destroys families. And is a pain that never goes away.”
Marshall took great care when filming the scene featuring real members of Project Cease Fire. “It was a closed set for the recreation of the Cease Fire meeting,” he explains. “We wanted to be sensitive to the men and women who participated, while also capturing the true intensity of the moment. We only did one take of the final monologue because the emotions were running so high towards the end.”
An award-winning filmmaker based in Los Angeles, Marshall Tyler’s critically acclaimed short, Night Shift, was executive Produced by Viola Davis and Julius Tennon and premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. The Vimeo Staff Pick-selected film won numerous honors, including the Gold Hugo Grand Jury Award at the Chicago International Film Festival. A member of the 2018-2020 class of Disney/ABC’s Television directing program and an alumni of the Ryan Murphy Half Initiative, Marshall recently helmed an episode of 9-1-1 for FOX.