Yusuf, a 45-year-old immigrant gravedigger in Queens, New York, struggles to make ends meet while taking care of his eleven-year-old daughter, Renk. Unable to face the reality of the toll of an illness on his wife, and consumed with guilt, Yusuf withholds the truth from his daughter. Several days pass and the weight of the truth, no longer containable, forces an unavoidable reckoning.
Leylak, directed by Scott Aharoni and Dennis Latos was filmed during the height of the pandemic. This 17 minute short explores parenthood, truth and acceptance in its true raw form. The camerawork used avoids wide shots thus creating an intimate and personal experience throughout. The film’s use of muted colours really hones in on the guilt and sadness displayed, with the only sense of real colour being the bouquet of flowers in the ending shot.
Watch the Q&A below with Executive Producer Colam Domingo (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom) and Film Critic Elvis Mitchell, alongside the producer Mustafa Kaymak, the director Scott Aharoni and the Lead Actress Isabelle Hancock.
Leylak world premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival where it won the Special Jury Prize. Leylak also won the Best International Short Film award at Galway Film Fleadh, the Flickers’ Jury Award, Grand Prize at Rhode Island International Film Festival, the Best International Actor award at Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia, the Director’s Choice Award at the Woods Hole Film Festival and the Kathryn Tucker Windham Storyteller Award at Sidewalk Film Festival.