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The director suggests that Netflix’s Oscar-winning police brutality film “Two Distant Strangers” copy her idea
Photo illustration by The Daily Beast / Tik TokWhile 2020 will be historically remembered as the year of a catastrophic and deadly global pandemic. It will also be a time when America faced an overdue reckoning of racial injustices sparked by the police killing of George Floyd. National protests broke out and resulted in national protests over the police killings of unarmed black men and women a conversation about police brutality, racist stereotypes and systematic racism come to the fore. So it was no surprise that the Mighty short film Two Distant Strangers won an Oscar at this year’s Oscars. The 30-minute film, which is now streamed on Netflix, tells the story of a young black man (rapper Joey Bada $$) who is forced to relive the day he was killed by a white cop, using other tactics Avoid the wrath of a man who is supposed to be protecting him. The film was a direct response to the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner and so many others, writer and co-director Travon Free REVOLT explained in March. He was tired of repetitively “seeing stories of black people being killed time and time again by the police, and reliving the outrage, sadness and grief and then the acceptance of these events over and over again. “One day that kind of crossed my mind … that sparked the idea.” [what does that] How to look on paper – on film? Filmmaker Cynthia Kao, who has since made a viral TikTok video about how media company NowThis News informed her about sharing her film on its social media pages, told a similar story. Only to find out months later that it was about making two distant strangers. Is rapper Blueface’s OnlyFans ‘cult’ that exploits young women? Kao, who previously wrote for TruTV’s Adam Ruins Everything, told The Daily Beast via Twitter DM that her jaw dropped “when she saw NowThis in the opening credits, adding that she” would like to know , what’s happened “. However, she declined to comment on whether she reached out to NowThis or if someone from the Company or Two Distant strangers reached out to her. Kao’s short film Groundhog Day for a Black Man was released on YouTube in December 2016 and won Outstanding Comedy and Critics’ Choice awards at the 2017 NBCUniversal Short Film Festival as t In the Oscar-winning film, a young black man tries to get home for her birthday his mother, but every day is fatally shot by a white cop. It offers a dry, comedic take on the gritty subject, no matter what the man does – including walking to his destination and putting on a silly costume to avoid conforming to a general description of a “black man” – he will be killed and forced The Twilight Zone played with a similar concept in 2019, albeit from the point of view of a black mother trying to use a portable VCR to prevent her son from being killed by a cop in Rewind Time, Kao stated on her TikTok that she I received an email from a NowThis News producer in late May 2020, shortly after Floyd’s murder. “We recently saw your short film, Groundhog Day for a Black Man, and found it very powerful,” was the email Kao posted online. “We want to expand it and share the message with our audience. Could we use the video in a video report? We would of course credit you on screen and give full credit to the production team listed in the YouTube description in the credits at the end of the video. We are also happy to link all social media pages. “Kao agreed, and her video was posted on NowThis’s Facebook and Twitter pages, garnering thousands of likes and shares. But then, a few months later, Kao saw NowThis’ involvement in Two Distant Strangers. “That hit me when I saw ‘In connection with NowThis’ in the opening credits,” she said. “I don’t know what happened, I’m not guessing.” Her video has now been viewed nearly three million times, and fans have visited NowThis social media pages to request further clarification and to earn Kao recognition if the organization used her short film as inspiration for the project. Now, in a statement to The Daily Beast, it said: “Two distant strangers were conceived independently and spent months in final production before NowThis got involved in the film, so any connection is out of the question. NowThis is committed to exposing injustices such as racism and police brutality. It is unfortunate that the repetitive nature of these experiences is a reality for black Americans. “Since the movie’s release, NowThis has advertised Two Distant Strangers on its platform several times, including an interview with one of its presenters in February, as well as an exclusive interview with Free in March, which was tuned for the Oscars and noted at the end of the video that NowThis is a co-producer on the film. Actor Burl Moseley, who starred in the short, told The Daily Beast that he had also found Two Distant Strangers “similar to” Kao’s short film. “If it’s a coincidence, it’s spectacular,” he said. “I don’t want to make any assumptions or anything like that. But they emailed our directors asking if they could share the short film, which they did. Then they made their own short film, which was incredibly similar. It leaves me with a few questions. “Moseley, who also appeared in Happiest Season and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, said he believed NowThis owes Kao an explanation. “It’s shocking when something like this happens,” he said. The Daily Beast also reached out to Free and its co-director Martin Desmond Roe for comment. Read more at The Daily Beast. Do you have a tip? Submit it to The Daily Beast here. Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now! Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside delves deeper into the stories that matter to you. Learn more.