- Country: United States
- Initial release: May 1, 2020 (United States)
- Film Director: Aisha Ford
- Running Time: 11 Minutes
- IMDB Grade: 7.1
In recent years, the film industry has been undergoing a much-needed shift towards inclusivity and representation. Filmmakers like Aisha Ford are at the forefront of this movement, using their creative talents to tell stories that center around underrepresented populations. Ford’s short film, “Cherry Lemonade,” is a poignant coming-of-age tale that explores the challenges faced by a young girl in a low-income neighborhood. Through her unique vision and powerful storytelling, Ford has created a film that not only entertains but also sparks important conversations about poverty, childhood, and the need for self-protection.
“Cherry Lemonade” takes place in Los Angeles and follows the journey of Phoenix, a young Black girl brilliantly portrayed by Eris Baker from the award-winning show “This is Us.” Set on a hot summer day, Phoenix sets her sights on a simple goal – buying a cherry lemonade from the local corner store. However, the film delves deeper into the realities she faces as a young girl in a tough neighborhood. Her older brother, Kurt, played by Skylan Brooks, tries to teach her how to defend herself, highlighting the potential dangers she may encounter. Despite the risks, Phoenix yearns to experience the joys of childhood and navigate the world on her own terms.
Behind the Scenes
Aisha Ford, an up-and-coming filmmaker and fourth-year student at the prestigious NYU Tisch School of the Arts, wrote and directed “Cherry Lemonade.” With this film, Ford demonstrates her commitment to promoting representation both in front of and behind the camera. The production crew consisted of 90% female and female-identifying members, with 50% identifying as Black, Indigenous, or People of Color. Ford’s dedication to inclusivity and diversity is evident throughout the film, creating a powerful narrative that resonates with audiences from all walks of life.
Recognition and Awards
“Cherry Lemonade” has garnered critical acclaim and recognition within the film industry. The film won the 15 Minutes Short Best Narrative Award and received nominations for the IndyShorts Festival Audience Choice Awards, Best Narrative Short at the Oceanside International Film Festival, Best Lead Actor at the Oceanside International Film Festival, and Best Lead Actress at the Lonely Wolf International Film Festival. These accolades highlight the film’s impact and Ford’s talent as a storyteller.
Aisha Ford: Filmmaker with a Vision
Aisha Ford is a filmmaker who is poised to make a significant impact in the industry. Her ability to infuse simple stories with depth and layers sets her apart from her peers. In “Cherry Lemonade,” Ford tackles important social issues while also providing thought-provoking commentary on the sanctity of childhood and the challenges faced by marginalized communities. Ford’s unique vision and undeniable talent have positioned her as a rising star in the film world.
Like any production, “Cherry Lemonade” faced its share of challenges. One significant obstacle was finding suitable locations that captured the essence of the story. Ford originally envisioned the film taking place in her hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio, but circumstances led to shooting in Los Angeles instead. Despite the initial struggle to find locations that mirrored her vision, Ford collaborated with renowned production designer Hannah Beachler (“Black Panther,” “Creed”) to bring authenticity to the setting. The juxtaposition of the iconic palm trees against the backdrop of a low-income neighborhood added texture and nuance to the film.
The Message of “Cherry Lemonade”
At its core, “Cherry Lemonade” is a film about the complexities of growing up in a challenging environment. Phoenix’s desire to be a carefree child clashes with the harsh realities of her surroundings. Through her journey, the film highlights the importance of self-protection and the need to navigate the world with caution. The relationship between Phoenix and Kurt serves as a poignant metaphor for the struggles faced by marginalized communities. Phoenix’s initial reluctance to fight represents her longing for a normal childhood, but as she confronts the dangers of the world, she realizes the necessity of taking control of her own life.
Impact and Call to Action
“Cherry Lemonade” serves as a catalyst for conversations about poverty, childhood, and the intersectionality of identity. It urges viewers to reflect on the challenges faced by marginalized communities and prompts discussions on the need for change and representation within the film industry. By supporting films like “Cherry Lemonade,” audiences can contribute to the ongoing efforts to create a more inclusive and diverse cinematic landscape.
Aisha Ford’s talent and unique perspective are sure to propel her towards a promising future in filmmaking. She is currently working on a short film titled “Brownies” and developing her first feature film based on her initial short “Wren.” These projects will undoubtedly continue Ford’s tradition of thought-provoking storytelling and commitment to amplifying underrepresented voices.