As a mixed media visual artist, Tramaine Townsend is based in the worlds of photography, design, film and animation. But to celebrate Dallas, where he has lived for years, he turned to film. The resulting short, “SALLAD,” was a highlight of New Filmmakers Los Angeles’ recent festival, In Focus: Black Cinema.
The film is comprised of several vignettes designed to several people captivatingly front and center to offer a closer look at the many subcultures of Black people in Dallas. Townsend’s works take a minimal approach with calculated production and intensive design in various mediums. “SALLAD” combines music and a wide range of Dallas residents — some of whom he knew beforehand and some of whom he didn’t — to reflects the many experiences of the city.
“This is an inclusion of ingredients that create a formidable recipe of excellence,” says the film’s logline.
“Originally, the film started off as a as a magazine idea I wanted to do. It was supposed to be like a print thing… just doing art and graphic design and everything,” Townsend says. He decided to switch to film when a watch company, JBW, agreed to put money into the film, which required him to incorporate the company’s watches into the project.
Watch the NFMLA interview with Tramaine Townsend, director and producer of “SALLAD”:
You can follow Townsend on Instagram at @misadventures.
“SALLAD,” was among the films celebrated in February at NFMLA’s annual InFocus: Black Cinema program, spotlighting Black stories and emerging Black talent in front of and behind the camera across two shorts programs and a spectrum of genres, along with the feature documentary “On The Line: The Richard Williams Story” directed by Stuart McClave.
The day began with InFocus: Black Cinema Shorts I, a program that weaved together nuanced stories of friendship, place, perspective taking, family, loss, and joy. It continued with On The Line and concluded with InFocus: Black Cinema Shorts II, an exploration of connection, community, identity, mental health, climate activism, and motherhood through a range of genres, including movement, comedy, coming of age, sci-fi, experimental, and drama.
NFMLA showcases films by filmmakers of all backgrounds throughout the year in addition to its special InFocus programming, which celebrates diversity, inclusion, and region. All filmmakers are welcome and encouraged to submit their projects which will be considered for all upcoming NFMLA Festivals, regardless of the InFocus programming.
Main image: A still from “SALLAD”