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How ‘Residue’ Filmmakers Greenlit Themselves (and Then Ava DuVernay and Netflix Followed)

October 09, 2020
October 09, 2020

A director and DP meet at a café. Three days later, they were shooting a feature.

No joke here. Just the story of how passion and urgency, despite lack of resources, can make a great film.

As part of a homecoming to his DC neighborhood from Los Angeles, filmmaker Merawi Gerima wanted to make an authentic, somewhat autobiographical film set on his street. Residue is about a prodigal filmmaker returned home, trying to find his childhood best friend in a rapidly gentrifying area of DC that he doesn’t recognize. Using heightened aesthetics and a dreamy, surrealist doco style, the film speaks to race, personal demons, friendship, and loss.

Residue Film Still

The film, which premiered at Slamdance, went on to catch the attention of none other than Ava Duvernay, and after being picked up by her film company Array this summer, can now be found streaming on Netflix.

The filmmakers first sat down with NFS on the eve of their festival premiere. Check out the film and read this excerpt from that intriguing, honest interview about making films with whatever means you have, finding DP Mark Jeevaratnam in a coffee shop, and making a film where where the community is your budget.

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