Documentary filmmakers Patrick Bresnan and Ivete Lucas have spent the last several years capturing stories in Pahokee – from prom night, to rabbit hunting, to senior skip day. The success of each short film (screened at Sheffield Doc/Fest, SXSW, Toronto International Film Festival and others) has had a direct benefit on the community, as the featured characters of each story have traveled to festivals along with the filmmakers to walk the red carpet and speak on panels, some even leaving Florida for the first time in their lives. Their biggest project yet, a feature-length documentary aptly titled Pahokee, has been accepted to premiere the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, the largest independent film festival in the U.S., from January 24 through February 3.
Still from Día de Muertos, and a still from Graduation Day.
Pahokee follows four teens navigating the sometimes exciting, sometimes heartbreaking rite-of-passage rituals of their senior year as they make profound decisions about their futures. “It’s all about capturing what happens in real life and letting the story tell itself. Beyond the strictly observational filmmaking, we’ve added a component of personal cell phone footage from each character, making it more of a collaborative “yearbook” that shows all the twists and turns of their lives,” said Lucas. The four stars of the film, Na’Kerria, Jocabed, Junior, and BJ, will travel to Park City to attend film premieres and receptions. “Our mission from the start has been to create a bridge between Pahokee and other parts of the U.S. Now, that bridge is extending to the world, both as festivalgoers see their story and the kids travel to other countries to attend each festival,” said Bresnan. For more, visit pahokeefilm.com.