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2023 SXSW Film Festival Portrait Studio

Source: Robby Klein / Getty

A new movie set in the Bronx, featuring rising young star Asante Blackk, turned heads at the SXSW festival this past week.

This year’s edition of the South By Southwest Festival (SXSW) held in Austin, Texas was a stage for a slew of new films to make their debut. One film, Story Ave, became a favorite of those who got to see the drama set in the Bronx. The film stars Asante Blackk, who recently captivated audiences with his role in Ava DuVernay’s When They See Us dramatic series for Netflix on the exonerated Central Park Five.

Story Ave is the debut film from writer-director Aristotle Torres based on an award-winning short film of his and counts Jamie Foxx as one of its producers. The movie shows Kadir (Blackk), a young high-school student with a striking talent for art who’s part of a crew of taggers known as Outside The Lines along with his friend Moe (Alex Hibbert from Showtime’s The CHI). The crew is run by Skemes (Melvin Gregg from FX’s Snowfall) who puts Kadir in a position to rob an MTA conductor named Luis (Luís Guzmán). But Luis and Kadir wind up befriending each other, setting off a chain of events that pushes Kadir to fight to see if there is a life for him outside of the streets.

Blackk spoke about his experience in filming Story Ave in a recent interview. “I didn’t realize at the time that my life was changed after reading [the script for ‘Story Ave’],” Blackk said. “But once the [filming] process started and we really became a family, I understood exactly what those words on that page were making me feel. And it was connection, it was love, it was fear, guilt — it was all of these emotions that I wrestled with my whole life wrapped so beautifully into this portrayal of a young man.”

The film was co-written by Bonsu Thompson, a veteran journalist who has produced digital series for BET and the feature-length documentary Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A Bad Boy Story in addition to serving as the Editor-In-Chief of The Source magazine and as Music Editor for XXL magazine. [Ed. note: he penned a CASSIUS cover story on Bel-Air star Jabar Banks, too]. Chuck Inglish, one-half of The Cool Kids, serves as a composer on the film along with Pierre Charles.