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Awards Night - 2019 Tribeca Film Festival

Source: Slaven Vlasic / Getty

Phillip Youmans Becomes Youngest & First Black Filmmaker To Win Top Prize At Tribeca Film Festival

Black youth are continuing their reign this week with win after win.

According to Shadow and Act, 19-year-old Phillip Youmans became the youngest director ever to win the Tribeca Film Festival’s Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature. His movie, Burning Cane, took home the award, which was shot when he was only a 17-year-old in high school!

Not only is he the youngest filmmaker to win the Founders Award, but he’s also made history by becoming the first Black director to win the award.

His movie, which he wrote, directed and shot, also took home an award for Best Cinematography and Best Actor for Wendell Pierce, who stars in the film.

The movie takes place in rural Louisiana and it tells the story of a deeply religious mother who struggles to reconcile her convictions of faith with the love she has for her troubled son.

In an interview with Shadow And Act, Youmans — a New Orleans native — said, “I feel fortunate to be in Tribeca. It’s crazy, thinking about that, I’m living it. I’m happy that Burning Cane is going to be seen.”

He continued:

“I’m happy that it resonated with people, and that it’s from my voice. I didn’t have to compromise anything. I’d say that’s the most validating aspect of it. This is a film that I wanted to make. People who believed in me were willing to work well below industry rates to help me do it, and my creative voice, my creative instincts were good enough.”

Filmmaker extraordinaire, Ava DuVernay, congratulated Youmans in a tweet, writing, “The brother is just 19 years old. He wrote, directed, shot and edited his film while in high school. And he just won big at Tribeca. Can’t wait to see BURNING CANE.”


Congrats on your history making wins Youmans!

Surely, this isn’t the last we’ll hear from the New York University freshman.


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