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The Independent Critic

Teajuana Scott, Sam Krueger, Norm Johnson
Raeshelle Cooke
20 Mins.

 "Woke" Screens at Las Vegas Black Film Fest 
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Race relations go sci-fi in writer/director Raeshelle Cooke's intriguing 20-minute short film Woke, a year 3000 set film starring Teajuana Scott as a "woke" African-American woman who wakes up in an apocalyptic ghost town after a race war has claimed the lives of all Black women while the surviving African-American men have vacated planet Earth for the now habitable planet of Mars. 

Screening virtually today, August 8th, at the Las Vegas Black Film Fest, Woke is a thought-provoking short film in the tradition of early sci-fi flicks that concerned themselves with various aspects of the human condition. Cooke's directorial effort here is ambitious, especially for a low-budget indie, but she nicely weaves together the film's narrative and sci-fi elements. Teajuana Scott's transformation as Danai is fun to watch, though it becomes even more interesting when Sam Krueger's Sidney enters the scenario with a special delivery and a message that Danai may not yet be ready to receive. 

When Danai stumbles upon a pair of futuristic goggles that deliver the news, suddenly our "woke" heroine is forced to face the truth and finally really wake up. 

Ric Murray's lensing for Woke is up to the task of effectively imaging a sci-fi short, while Murray also contributes the film's relatively straightforward yet effective visual effects. The film, which is nominated for best sci-fi at today's Las Vegas Black Film Fest, is also set to screen later this month at Hip Hop Film Fest NYC and it seems likely that the film will continue to have success on the indie fest circuit. 

Scott and Krueger have a nice chemistry together, their early tension believable along with their twists and turns along the way as Cooke's story reveals itself and we begin to discover what's going on. 

For more information on the film and Raeshelle Cooke, be sure to visit her official Facebook page linked to in the credits. Watch for the film at a film fest near you, most likely in the virtual world until COVID-19 gives us a break. 

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic