On Tuesday, March 19th, select New Yorkers were invited to screen Jeymes Samuel’s new historically-based western film They Die by Dawn at Tribeca Cinemas. After the film’s world premiere at SXSW, Bulleit Bourbon teamed up with Samuel to present the short film on the east coast.
Guests enjoyed bespoke Bulleit cocktails and hors d’oeuvres prior to viewing the film which stars Giancarlo Esposito, Isaiah Washington, Michael K. Williams, Rosario Dawson and Jessie Williams.
Set in Oklahoma during the frontier era, Samuel sought to capture the Wild West history from an African American perspective which has long been ignored in most contemporary westerns. During the Q&A after the film, Samuel and cast members in attendance including Boardwalk Empire’s Michael K. Williams, his sister Felicia Pearson, and Nate Parker discussed the inspiration for the film and its historical roots.
Overall, the short film was well-received by the audience and it certainly captured a unique cultural perspective of the cowboys (and cowgirls) in an era that most western films do not capture. Staying true to the historical facts to create his characters was definitely not an issue for Samuel, who researched all the historical figures, like Stagecoach Mary, portrayed in the film.
However, in his zeal to portray the west from an African American perspective, Samuels overlooked how most frontier towns were more racially diverse than portrayed in the film which was a bit detracting. Either way, the short film was entertaining and introduced a new point of view on the ordinary and overdone western film genre.
To get a taste for the film, view the official trailer here: