The film My Own Mecca opens with a collage of shots: dirt bikes, street ballers, Victorian houses, the Port of Oakland and shoes tossed over a telephone wire next to a liquor store as BART runs in the background.
The ten-minute movie was shot on actual film by cinematographer Jon Warfield Harrison and directed by Alba Roland Mejia, who were both featured on the Rightnowish podcast in March as part of our “Reel Talk” series with Bay Area filmmakers. This month the film was added to Vimeo's Black Artistry in Film page, a curated channel that features artistic short films made by folks such as Barry Jenkins.
My Own Mecca is a beautifully shot portrait of an African American young man from Oakland who is at a fork in the road with an old childhood buddy, Walt (Errick Thompson). In addition to that, the main character, Dre, is dealing with run-ins with the cops, community members’ irrational paranoia and understanding the significance of a loving relationship with his girlfriend. You know, everyday life—but intensely dramatized.
Dre is played by Marsalis Burton, an actor and MC who goes by Cello Miles. Born in Hayward and raised in Antioch, he’s a Sacramento State grad who currently lives in the state capital with his real-life childhood best friend, Rio Westside.