Sources: LAAPF | Sent By – Griot’s Lament | All Things Michael



Every line of dialogue in Griot’s Lament is a Michael Jackson song lyric. A series of precipitous events force the ensemble cast into a fateful intersection with justice and violence. Griot and the community struggle against the errors of terror so many make when it seems all is lost.

Filmmaker Bio

While attending his last semester at the USC School of Cinema and Television Munoz directed his first film ” RIOT” for Showtime ( Winner of the Audience Award at Geneva Film Festival) , which investigated the civil unrest following the Rodney King verdict. The film premiered at the FIRST AME Church in South Central and the screening was dramatically disrupted by a group of young black community activist who demanded that the entertainment industry do more to engage, train, and employ young people from disadvantaged communities. Munoz responded by forming FYI FILMS ( Films by Youth Inside) which empowers incarcerated youth via personal story telling and digital filmmaking. His work with this population clearly informs his work. He is committed to revalorizing margnialized perspective. Munoz went on to direct the award winning “DILEMMA” which was funded by BHERC and Sandra Evers Manly. The film focusses on an unlikely friendship between a Latino and Black youth while serving time at a youth correctional facility. “Lil Scrappy Boy” a short doc focussing on one of his FYI FILMS student and his decision to quit his gang in South Long Beach won Best Short Doc at the Urban World Film Festival. Another web series based on two Latino youth he encountered during a FYI FILMS workshop “AYE FOO”, is a cross between “Cheech and Chong” and “Beevis and Butthead”, and focusses on two sixteen year old Latino youth from Easlos. It won Best Comedy Webisode Series at UMFF in 2013. Munoz’s is also shooting a doc titled “A DREAM DEFERRED”, which is organized around Derrick Rose and his Brother / Manager Reg. He created a 15 minute short doc based on the first three days of filming and won BEST SPORTS DOC at Urban Media Makers Film Festival. His current series, “Griot’s Lament” investigates social and racial injustice and uses Michael Jackson song lyrics as dialogue. The series is co-funded by and produced by Nicholas Thomas and Sandra Evers-Manly. Griot’s Lament won the Audience Award for Best Web Series at UMFF in October 2014 , and is nominated in the category of BEST DIRECTION at the upcoming TIVO Creative TV Awards. The web series has over 6 million views across multiple platforms. Munoz is currently doing a final polish on his next feature length film “Make the Moon”, which was developed at the Sundance Writer’s Lab. The narrative is semi auto biographical and centers around a pair of multi racial identical twins and their complex relationship with their mother who struggles to overcome the harsh socio economic pressures seemingly closing in on her and her twin sons.

Director’s Statement

“GRIOT’S LAMENT” applies Michael Jackson’s lyrics to the artist’s ongoing exploration of metamorphosis as a threshold of change, and as medium for identifying political and social injustices. “An innocent eighteen year old black man was killed, and we are that injustice,” sang Michael alongside his sister Janet in the song SCREAM. I use “recontexualization” of these lyrics to revisit the killings of Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, Mike Brown, and the countless number of innocent youths that have fallen prey to violence in Southwest Chicago. “They don’t care about us” was shouted as a veiled response to the Rodney King beating, but could it have also been a foretelling or foreshadowing of the tragic humanitarian failures incurred during Hurricane Katrina? One violent scene in the film will be staged to replicate the horrific Rodney King beating. The film asks the question, as Michael did repeatedly via his music: How culpable are WE… when society cannot fully function in the realm of justice? The character “Griot” is the conduit for Michael’s often overlooked and under recognized political orientation, a perspective that is often over shadowed by the glow and power of his popular music and larger than life persona. “Griot”, pictured here and played by actor Brandon Hirsch, is a one man Greek chorus; “A broken ear witness to unspeakable crimes.” Griot is based on a homeless man who resides in Inglewood, Calfornia.


Sunday, April 26 8:00 PM CGV Cinemas 2
Plays with:  The Heart of Darkness (and Light)ROOM 731

Cast & Crew

Director Alex Munoz


Read more \ buy your tickets here


  1. I was in tears by the end of the footage. This would mean the world to him to know how the lyrics he toiled and bled over are being used for the purpose he intended before so many turned away from him. I salute Munoz and these artists. I hope I can see it one day but it also reminds me for the millionth time how much we lost when he died and many didn’t even know it.

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