Jahleel Hills Talks BLACK FRATSMAN

‘BLACK FRATSMAN’ tells the story of Trey who has interest in joining his school’s fraternity, but receives backlash from his friends.

The man behind ‘BLACK FRATSMAN’ is Jahleel Hills. Jahleel is a director, producer, actor, writer, editor, and a show-style snare drummer. He’s been in the entertainment industry since the age of 11. He has been featured on numerous stages such as Madison Square Garden, Barclays Center, and MetLife Stadium.

He’s also been featured in the Netflix show, Spike Lee’s “She’s Gotta Have It,” a Best Buy Commercial, performed at the VFiles Fashion Show, and with Demi Lovato on Good Morning America. He’s also been featured on “Mans Crafted” a web series for the Food Network.

Hills is a SUNY Purchase Class of 2021 Graduate, earning his BFA in Film. His junior thesis film, ‘BLACK FRATSMAN’, earned him the Jesse Feigelman Award and was #3 [out of 126 films) in the NY Lift Off Global Network Film Festival.

We spoke with Jalheel Hills about his film.

Jahleel, can you tell us where the idea came from for ‘BLACK FRATSMAN’?

‘BLACK FRATSMAN’ started as an idea for my documentary class at Purchase College in the fall semester in 2018. The original premises was going to follow the fraternity at Purchase, that wasn’t recognized by the school and has since disbanded. I ended up scrapping that idea, and made another documentary. Months later, in the editing lab, my friend told me that I shouldn’t just give up on ‘BLACK FRATSMAN’ and I should make it for as junior project. Now, I
don’t know if they were being serious or just joking, but that thought did stay in my head for the entire summer.

When did you decide to pursue the idea?

Once it was fall 2019, I knew I wanted to make ‘BLACK FRATSMAN’. However, I wanted to change the premise.

What changes did you want to make?

I wanted to use fraternities to discuss a bigger issue happening to black people all over. With this, I was about to talk about race, but also deliver it in a way that we could all understand and grasp.

How did you manage to shoot? Did you get caught up in the pandemic?

This project was shot the first two weekends of February. After we wrapped, we had about a month left on campus editing before the world was change due to the pandemic. During the early parts of the pandemic, I was still in communication with my team, working on different cuts and getting notes. I told myself, “this film HAS to be completed.”

How long was the post-production stage?

After months of notes and long nights of editing, BLACK FRATSMAN reached a final cut and was ready to be screened.

This film is a testament to my team’s and I perseverance, work ethic, and creativity to produce a story that needs to be told. I feel very blessed, favored, and fortunate to work with a group of incredibly talented people.

Any final words on the film.

This film shows what can happened when a group of young, driven, and creative mind come together to make something bigger than themselves.

Hills’ is currently in post production for his newest film , “OFF THE BEAT,” which serves as his senior thesis.

You can watch ‘Black Fratsman’ Here.

You can read our review of ‘Black Fratsman’ HERE.

For more interviews Click Here.

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